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The New Negroponte Switch
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The New Negroponte Switch

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Presentation originally given by Matt Jones at Frontiers Of Interaction V, Rome, Italy on 8th June 2009.

Presentation originally given by Matt Jones at Frontiers Of Interaction V, Rome, Italy on 8th June 2009.

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  • 1. The New Negroponte Switch Designing things that think they are services and services that think they are things. SCHULZE & WEBB
  • 2. Hello! SCHULZE & WEBB Hello there. I’m Matt Jones, and I’m a designer.
  • 3. DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Where next? Where next? Where next? SCHULZE & WEBB I’ve spent the last two and half years as a cofounder and lead designer on Dopplr, which is a social tool for optimising travel.
  • 4. DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Now I’m a principal at a design company called Schulze&Webb Where next? in London. This is a tiny version of me! The availabot is a small likeness of me that plugs into the USB port of a computer, and Where next? when I’m online or chatting to you, it would stand to attention. When I’m not it would fall slack to the table. This gives you some Where next? idea of the attention I’m giving our conversation, in the physical space you’re in.
  • 5. SCHULZE & WEBB At Schulze&Webb we do three things: first of all we’re a design and strategy consulting company, also we are a new product development company, and ultimately we make products we think should be in the world.
  • 6. SCHULZE & WEBB For instance recently we put this into the world - the Here&There map projection, the result of about 5-6years research by my partner Jack Schulze
  • 7. SCHULZE & WEBB Video of Here&There Manhattan http://vimeo.com/4525678
  • 8. SCHULZE & WEBB This is another diagram by Jack Schulze - of what we do, and it kind of sets me up nicely for what I want to talk about today. Being a designer for the internet of things.
  • 9. SCHULZE & WEBB That as designers (how many of you are designers, or help create products?) we are increasingly working in a new, nameless category of practice.
  • 10. Field of potential DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/cssm/research/lattice.html ...as it is nameless, it is a huge field of potential, which I can Where next? poke at only a little in the short time we have today. Where next? Where next?
  • 11. Negroponte SCHULZE & WEBB This is Nicholas Negroponte
  • 12. SCHULZE & WEBB In 1995, almost 15 years ago, when I graduated architecture school and side-stepped into work as a web designer, he wrote a book which became a best-seller and defined the early era of digital design practice
  • 13. Wired Telephone TV TV Telephone Wireless SCHULZE & WEBB In the book, he proposed a transformation: that things that were wired would become unwired - and vice versa...
  • 14. Gershenfeld SCHULZE & WEBB And this is Neil Gershenfeld... another MIT professor...
  • 15. SCHULZE & WEBB He wrote a book called FAB, which brought home to me and lot of other people that the era of rapid cheap fabrication of objects was within reach.
  • 16. SCHULZE & WEBB So, I guess I’m proposing a new switch: The Negroponte/ Gershenfeld switch... by which I mean that...
  • 17. Tangible Products Products Services Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB That the technologies of rapid fabrication and pervasive networks are allowing the tangible and the intangible to switch places and mingle.
  • 18. Tangible Products Products Products Products Services Services Services Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB This is the Spime World to take Bruce Sterling’s conception: ‘beginning and ending as data, and things only occasionally’. This is a very interesting world to be in design practice...
  • 19. SCHULZE & WEBB This is the post-digital world as my friend Russell Davies (and others) have called it.
  • 20. SCHULZE http://www.reallyinterestinggroup.com & WEBB He took the ‘beginning and ending as data, and things only occasionally’ thought, and with Ben Terrett at http:// www.reallyinterestinggroup.com created a newspaper generated from blog posts, flickr and twitter.
  • 21. Photo: Roo Reynolds SCHULZE & WEBB And at the moment, Paper is perhaps the cheap, quick easy way to imagine and prototype the spimeworld. In January, we created ‘papercamp’ which was an unconference style event to do just that, ...very inspired by Aaron Straup Cope’s work on what he called “The Papernet”...
  • 22. The Incidental SCHULZE & WEBB Which we took inspiration for in a project for the British Council’s presence at Salone di Mobile. Working with curator Daniel Charny and graphic designers Abake, we replaced an exhibition with a service: a daily map built from twitter reports, flickr pictures and blog posts...
  • 23. The Incidental SCHULZE & WEBB Called “The Incidental” - it was printed every night in Milano, and distributed to those attending Salone, who scribbled on it, twittered and flickred new contributions for the next day: building up both a social map of the best things, and a unique ‘souvenir’
  • 24. Walking Papers Help improve OpenStreetMap by drawing on this map, then visit http://walking-papers.org/print.php?id=6wfm7f9k Map data ©2009 CC-BY-SA SCHULZE walking-papers.org OpenStreetMap.org contributors & WEBB Mike Migurski and Stamen have created a service called “Walking Papers” where you print your map for the day’s expedition, but crucially they have made the ‘return-path’ for you scribbles, corrections and discoveries to improve the Open Street Map project.
  • 25. SCHULZE & WEBB While at Dopplr I designed this: the “Personal Annual Report” - an artifact built of service data, visualised and delivered as a PDF only - deliberately ‘non-digital’ to be put on a wall, or scribbled on as a social object... as a gift...
  • 26. Brendan Dawes SCHULZE & WEBB And designer Brendan Dawes of MagneticNorth took this further, creating a beautiful luggage tag from his Dopplr data using the fabricating service Ponoko.
  • 27. SCHULZE & WEBB This physicalisation of the intangible data of a service is something I’ve started to call an “Attention Anchor” - something that is in the world as a representation of a rhythm or habit of a service, and perhaps represents something of that service.
  • 28. SCHULZE & WEBB This is not such a new idea I realise... but new technology is recapitulating this...
  • 29. Poken SCHULZE & WEBB I’ve seen a few people wearing these today: Poken. These are RFID ‘icons’ for a service that shares your identity across social networks at a touch.
  • 30. DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR And we’ve seen Availabot already. Where next? Where next? Where next?
  • 31. Tangible Products Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB So there’s a lot of activity and more to come from making ‘attention anchors’ or services that sometimes become products, or expressed through products.
  • 32. Tangible Products Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB What about the other way?
  • 33. Rome Bikesharing SCHULZE & WEBB I guess the main expression of this so far is ‘dematerialisation’ through service design. For instance services such as StreetCar in UK, or ZipCar in the USA where the need to own a car is replaced by access to a car whenever I need one. Or the Bikesharing system I saw yesterday here in Rome.
  • 34. Howies DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR This is not ‘dematerialisation’ but an example of objects or Where next? systems that declare their lifespan, their projection into the future via a service aspect, like this simple design touch in Howies Where next? Hand-Me-Down jacket of a name tag that encompasses generations. Where next? It persuades you the object is precious and will survive to be handed over to a successor. If you have the needlework skills, the service is provided by yourself!
  • 35. BBC Olinda SCHULZE & WEBB Here’s a S&W project for the BBC: Olinda is a digital radio that brings the social web into the world.
  • 36. SCHULZE & WEBB A simple interface shows who from my small group of friends and family are listening to the radio at the moment. By touching them, I can see what they are listening too, and if I like, turn to that station also.
  • 37. SCHULZE & WEBB It also brings the extensible aspects of the web into hardware, by creating a physical API to be built on.
  • 38. SCHULZE & WEBB The industrial design of the object in many ways is a wireframe, a suggestion. But, it was particularly important to represent the physical API in the design in a discoverable and provocative way. More of this later...
  • 39. What does all this have to do with frontiers of interaction? SCHULZE & WEBB So far so good. Perhaps to some of you this product <--> service / tangible <--> intangible world is familar. Perhaps it doesn’t feel like the frontier of interaction design any more. Perhaps you’re yawning. Don’t. Isn’t it remarkable, that this is now commonplace territory within reach? That this *is* now material for design, not academic experiment or expensive corporate visions of the future. For wit and humour. For humanisation. For everyone.
  • 40. SCHULZE & WEBB But a warning at the frontier. This world is not reliable, and is not likely ever to be, so designers and engineers need to bear in mind something that has always preoccupied design. Not just venustas and commoditas, but firmitas. Here we see Vitruvius hard at work pitching this concept of his with an early version of Keynote.
  • 41. Tangible Products Products Services Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB I’m sure most of you when you travel have come across this version of my diagram...
  • 42. Tangible Products Products Services Services Intangible SCHULZE & WEBB I’m sure most of you when you travel have come across this version of my diagram...
  • 43. SCHULZE & WEBB And been left carrying around this version of your not-so-smart- any-more-phone...
  • 44. SCHULZE & WEBB What I think we need to investigate are designs of media, service and product that are resilient, and self-sustaining as far as possible. I like to call this “Thingfrastructure”.
  • 45. “Thingfrastructure” SCHULZE & WEBB What I think we need to investigate are designs of media, service and product that are resilient, and self-sustaining as far as possible. I like to call this “Thingfrastructure”.
  • 46. Every thing that participates radiates infrastructure & service SCHULZE & WEBB Designing from the start so that as far as possible, ever thing in the system radiates infrastructure and service to every other thing.
  • 47. Thingfrastructure is resilient SCHULZE & WEBB This is a pattern common to the technology of the internet and the internet of things.
  • 48. Thingfrastructure is SCHULZE legible and discoverable & WEBB But it needs to repeat up the stack... to the experience of services and products, and to the aesthetic - so that what surrounds us in this future is legible and discoverable. And this is the business of design now.
  • 49. SCHULZE & WEBB Thanks for your time and attention, and thank you very much to Frontiers of Interaction for the invitation.
  • 50. Thanks Roma! matt@moleitau.com http://www.schulzeandwebb.com http://www.dopplr.com http://www.magicalnihilism.com SCHULZE & WEBB Thanks for your time and attention, and thank you very much to Frontiers of Interaction for the invitation.