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How to Build a Better Starship

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This presentation is not about engineering an interstellar vessel. Rather, the starship is shown as an example that embodies a certain kind of future system. Beginning with the deep relationships that exist among present day technologies, the story develops into a point of view around how humans might begin to think about design process, character and outcomes.

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How to Build a Better Starship

  1. 1. Building a Better Starship: Scale, Humanity & Interaction Design IXD12 Presentation, February 3, 2012 Dublin, Ireland PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS ©2004 SCOTT NAZARIAN / STARSHIP ILLUSTRATIONS ©1970-2000 JOHN HARRIS & JOHN BERKEYwhat is the starship? that miraculous vehicle that goes long and fast and deep, a sliverin the great dark...and what of our “readiness” as a civilization- and perhaps evenspecies - to plumb those (inimitable) depths?
  2. 2. Building a BetterStarship:Scale, Humanity & Interaction DesignIXD12 Presentation, February 3, 2012Dublin, IrelandNOTE ON THE SHARED EDITION: THE “SCRIPTED” FLOW OF THIS PRESENTATION HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT PRESERVED IN THE BODY OF THE SPEAKER’SNOTES DUE TO THE IMPRESSIONISTIC NATURE OF THE VISUAL MATERIAL CONTAINED HEREIN. INSTANCES OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ARE DENOTEDTHROUGHOUT; CONTENT NOT OTHERWISE NOTED IS ASSUMED TO BE THE PROPERTY OF THE PRESENTER.PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS ©2004 SCOTT NAZARIAN / STARSHIP ILLUSTRATIONS ©1970-2000 JOHN HARRIS & JOHN BERKEY
  3. 3. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANAt last year’s session in Boulder, what began as a rather whimsical chat about the needfor more science fictional dialogue within the professional community, between JasonMesut, David Sherwin and myself, soon turned into a hue and cry for serious discourse onthe galactic fate of humanity.I just couldn’t turn it down - the topic deserved some kind of treatment in this forum,having already received such grand attention in the modern cinema and certainly elsewherein the science fiction canon..also, thanks to John Berkey and John Harris for adorning this presentation with theirspacefaring images; few artists have captured the scale and wonder of science fictionimaginging as they have...
  4. 4. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANSo, at the risk of exposing my decidedly “extropian” proclivities: why talk about this?Ideally, humanity at large gets to a place where we can perhaps master all of the powerfulcultural or personal feelings about this amazing notion and maybe even think practicallyabout it. There are lots of reasons we might want to think about a starship in practicalterms, of course, in the longer term equation.But I think it also presents itself as a kind of organizing principle for the designjourney as well... you know, can we think of the starship in terms of its generativepotential for experience design and the design of interaction with complex systems?
  5. 5. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANThis is something I’ve been attempting to piece together and I’ll share with you somenotes on that journey...and then maybe we can keep going forward, together. In 45 minutesI’m going to get to a suggestion about what sorts of things we might want to think aboutand how we might frame those things in a useful way.
  6. 6. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANEveryone thinks about the future in some fashion; but there’s a threshold that varies fromindividual to individual across which they discern ‘fantasy’ beyond the pragmatism ofpossibility or use. So, while the (F)uture can be a kind of awkward forcing function inconversations about design or engineering, It can also be tremendously enabling.
  7. 7. EPILITHIC ‘epic’ + ‘megalithic’ ;) ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANBut if you can ground that conversation in some structure of the collective imagining -anobject so huge and impossibly “epilithic” ...(NOTE TO REVIEWERS OF THE “SHARED” EDITION: I realize that this is, technically, anincorrect usage of the word “epilithic”, but this was deliberate and done in “poetic”good faith, so to speak, as I was merely attempting to mash up “epic” and “monlithic” ascharacteristics of the starship itself; there is, perhaps, some small irony in that anyobject or system extant for multiple millenia might actually achieve epilithic characterin the true sense of the word)...you begin to open up some interesting perspectives. I happen to believe that theStarship is such an object, like the Pyramids or the Great Wall, an endeavor so vast thatit seems to encompass all of human ingenuity.
  8. 8. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANof course, weve been dreaming of the stars for time immemorial...
  9. 9. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...and I’m not going to focus here on any one component of the undoubtedly marvelousarmature of said “starship”…
  10. 10. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANand by the way thats thats "starship" not "spaceship"...one orbits the earth and then shoots the moon, which is like swimming in the shallow endof the pool (all respect to our astronautical brothers and sisters...you know, soft-landing a multi-billion dollar robot on another planet several million kilometersout...really easy stuff 0_o)
  11. 11. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANyeah...and to that point, lets not forget that weve already mastered a fair amount ofthe actual technical complexity on our way so far:so, from a tactical perspective, its only partly a "technical" problem...
  12. 12. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANas an aside ...(there’s actually a great conference, ‘the DARPA sponsored ‘100 Year Starship’ Symposium,covering the more technical aspects of actual starship strategy and design, of whichanother speaker here with us today is a keynote there, one Ariel Waldman (‘Hacking SpaceExploration and Science’, up next today I think…)yes, its the mini space-track this morning...
  13. 13. SYSTEMIC ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANok, so, rather, what I would like to try and do are three things:
  14. 14. RELATIONSHIPS‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN o establish that there is a profound interrelationship among the current systems of our great world AND THAT THIS CAN HELP US THINK INTO THE FUTURE OF SUCH RELATIONSHIPS AND HOW THEY MAY EVOLVE.
  15. 15. CHARACTER‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN o describe the character of kinds of systems throughout human tenure on this planet, civilized or otherwise; understanding the “systems imprint” of humanity throughout history might be a useful tool for hypotheses about our future?
  16. 16. DISCOVERY‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN o suggest that the “starship” is a kind of technocultural red herring for several deeper and perhaps even counterintuitive questions around how we, as a species will solve some of our more intractable problems and, indeed, design our (and for our…) future. In other words, the starship may not be the THING we ultimately design but it’s presence as an imaginitive epic embodiment may drive discovery of other kinds. There’s vocabulary ahead that we’ll pause in one or two places to catch our breath and review.
  17. 17. data power ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANso let’s wax poetic about systems and their RELATIONSHIPS in the world.Its worth spending a few minutes of our allotted time with a completely personal -andterrestrial - anecdote which may offer some clarity around how I Come to Jesus about thescale of interaction among certain mega-systems in the world; perhaps not big news to allthe systems engineers in the room but for *this* designer, an awakening:it’s a story about data + power...
  18. 18. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANOver the last two years or so I have been involved in several projects with our clientsthat attempt to "reform" the somewhat rustic interaction and indeed overall ux practicesof previous eras. While this has been primarily a software design effort, a good deal ofthe infrastructure we’ve impacted has actually been physical.
  19. 19. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANThe first set of engagements had to do with the contemporary disposition of mainframesystems and their attendant (or even, in many cases, totally absent...) interfaces. Now, Iwont belabor description of the many interesting design pattern potentials our teamsfound here; designing a better GUI for the mainframe, while certainly non-trivial on adeep infrastructural level, presents somewhat low-hanging fruit at the front-endaffordance level...
  20. 20. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANNo, the real moment of epiphany came from our exposure to the scale of data that was beingstored, processed and provisioned. During an extensive research phase we visited dozens ofdata-centers across all the sectors of human enterprise you might imagine; and let me tellyou: there is ALOT of data out there. Think "healthcare" to the square root of "federaltaxes". x42.
  21. 21. DATA DATA DATA DATA ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANSo, Big Realization #1: Data Data Data All Day Long; and not just the meta kind I hadinteracted with at the "persona" level of user research and interaction modeling.And, of course, most of us know this phenomena as simply, ‘Big Data’…
  22. 22. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANNow, as if the staggering calculus of Big Data wasnt enough, theres more to this story.About a year later we were working in the industrial sector, looking at how to integratecutting-edge digital communications across globally distributed factory, joint-venture andother corporate operations. Two conversations of note occurred during yet anothersignificant global research stint.
  23. 23. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANThe first, with a lead exec in the field of Power Generation in the US. I was similarlyrelating my fascination with the extent of Big Data in the World when he brought to myattention that the very same data-centers I had indicated actually had their localizedand emergency power needs being met by his companys power-gen units. In the basement!
  24. 24. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANWell, my first thought on hearing this was, "Holy crap! it really *is* just turtles allthe way down..!" I could feel the chicken-and-egg dichotomy turning into a super-proteinomlette right then and there: "energy" and "data" had been having this relationship thatwas...that *is*...fundamental to our civilization.
  25. 25. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANBut the really galvanizing moment of truth came a month or so later while on the groundin western India. As we moved about the region doing our interviews and facility tours webegan to notice that these very same power-gen units were actually on something likeevery other street corner or visible in lots behind big buildings and so forth. And whenwe asked about the ubiquity of these units the reply was, "Well, have you noticed howfrequently the power goes out?"
  26. 26. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANWell, of course that was it: the primary energy grid wasnt up to par. And thats whenall of my pat assumptions about this digital age we live in - ubiquitous data,communications infrastructure, displays everywhere and so on - just about went right outthe window.
  27. 27. ATA DATAENERGYDATAENERGYDATAENERGYDATAENER ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANAt that moment, I perceived that "energy" was "data" and "data" was "energy".
  28. 28. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANNot metaphorical/ theoretical "information media" force-lines but tangibly intertwinedbits and bolts, making the world, supporting the contemporary veneer of all sophisticatedhuman enterprise.
  29. 29. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...so, at this point that chicken/egg omlette i mentioned a few minutes ago becomes aslightly larger soufflé... Again, maybe not hugely profound for some, but the connectionhas inspired me to think a bit more deeply about the interconnection of systems, atlarge...If “data” and “energy” are expressing synergy in this sort of loop, what other kinds ofrelationships might emerge as “fundamental” to the overall human enterprise?
  30. 30. stable relationships ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANThe point, of course, is this: without the maintained stability of this particularrelationship, theres a potential problem...
  31. 31. look further ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...Not with our survival, per se, but rather with our ability to look further into theempirical patterns of the world.
  32. 32. grokking unaided ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANLets face it, whatever Luddite fantasies may exist about abolishing computers and othercorruptable modern conveniences, there are an almost infinite number of crucial patternsin this universe that we just arent capable of grokking - let alone seeing - unaided.
  33. 33. data discovery ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANfrom this era forward: No data technology, no discovery.
  34. 34. biotic potential ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANLook: increasing our overall "biotic potential" in the universe… the identification,classification and deployment of greater and greater resource pools is the grindinglysimple point of (most) human technological endeavor.
  35. 35. “fire” / “tachyons” ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANIt was true for "fire", it will remain true for "tachyons".As beloved or abused as our own "starship earth" may be, we SEEM TO BE after alot moreterritory than this, on an evolutionary scale...
  36. 36. to do: generate use-model of the known universe ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANin order for us - as a species - to individually and hopefully, collectively see furtherand deeper into the cosmos and our place within it, we need to be able to imagine and makeuse of a much more expansive experience / use-model of the universe.The starship, thought of as a general target for the embodiment of future systems, offersan entré to that universal use-model: to simplify, it’s success as a functioning system isa gestalt of both familiar systemic phenomena and future technologies:
  37. 37. sublime states ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN- the steady migration of explicit technological interaction towards a more implicit - oreven “sublime” - kind of ubiquity...- the persistent increase of systems ‘complexity’ that likely arises from this fidelitywith the human environment- the ever changing human perception of ‘scale’- the human expectation of (technological) ‘state’ within the frame of both complexityand scale (which could include a number of expressions, the most presently familiar ofwhich is probably “ visual display”...)or maybe I’m over-complexifying this...
  38. 38. "Science explains the world, but only art can reconcile us to it." - Stanislaw Lem ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANAnother way to articulate this is perhaps to say:“In the future, we can expect our technologies to increase in complexity as they increasein “fidelity”. This increase in technological parity could make us more open to a broaderscale of meaningful interactions. These interactions may be perceived along dimensional/physical, emotional/spiritual or logical/intellectual axes.”To summarize this line of thinking:
  39. 39. FIDELITY ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANfidelity:when technologies, embedded or otherwise, approach the threshold of apparent visibilityand become part of the intuitive landscape of human assumptions/expectations about how theworld “is”. (Kind of a “Kleenex” moment, i suppose...?)
  40. 40. COMPLEXITY ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANcomplexity:is the constant; as interaction designers one of the first things we awaken to is theinfinitely nested nature of the world about. as interactions become more implicit, this“weave” becomes tighter and tighter. Our challenge becomes manifold: retain the veneer ofsimplicity. period.complexity is a given: it’s more useful to ask what the character of that complexity willbe and how can we address it?
  41. 41. STATE + SCALE ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANstate + scale:...are kind of an irreducible pair...! ...state is always scaling, in some direction;! ...scale is how we perceive change;! ...scale touches every aspect of the interaction schema, from the natural to thesynthetic, from the emergent, chaotic wild to the ordered and mannered! ...state is the ultimate expression of the system - however sensual or logical - bothpre- and post-interaction
  42. 42. CONTROL + TAXONOMY ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANas interaction designers we:! - assign a set of controls to all human addressable access points around thisinterplay of implicit + explicit, critical or casual, static or dynamic, physical ordigital...! - and then give them a name......control + taxonomy
  43. 43. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN- there are many interrelated systems in play, of course, and some of this work alreadystands upon the shoulders of giants as it were... meaning there are already some familiarframeworks out there...
  44. 44. USER INTERFACE APPS CLOUD SERVICES OPERATING SYSTEM MIDDLEWARE COMPONENTS FORM ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN- in the technology landscape, many of us may be familiar with the technology “stack"that describes the various components of device-based user experience...the explicit touchpoints of interaction experience here are usually at “form” and “UI”,with the other elements in the stack expressing varying degrees of transparency dependingon the overall product or system strategy...but, overall, there are fairly proscribed or predictable ways in which these elementscooperate to produce certain kinds of experiences...
  45. 45. ART / FASHION COMMERCE GOVERNANCE INFRASTRUCTURE CULTURE NATURE ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN / DIAGRAM ©ARUPbut underneath such device and software ecologies there are of course other forces atwork...this “world” or “civilization” stack is borrowed from ARUP’s Total Design methodology andallows us to perceive at a glance the encompassing factors of our civilized surroundingswhat is more, as technologies "sublime" with the everyday (as they become more and moreembedded), the technology stack becomes less discernible, the digital and the physicalmay blur... the technology stack is actually interwoven with this one...and so too do we find that the elements in the civilization stack become intertwined: ican think of at least one rather successful business model in which art + fashion,commerce and infrastructure all share the same heartbeat. There’s ALOT of combinatorialpotential here to say the least...both categorically and at the intersections.
  46. 46. “CIVILIZED” RESOURCE ECOLOGIES POST-TECH + 1000 YRS INDUSTRIAL - ECONOMY - ENERGY SOURCE + OUTPUT - HEALTH STATUS - MATERIALITY TIME - INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES - INTERDEPENDENCY INDEX DEVELOPING - PROJECT PLANNING METHODOLOGY PRE-DATA - 1000 YRS ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANwhere this gets even more intriguing is when you start thinking about the expressions ofthese stack/matrices and the impacts of scaling complexity over time......add to this the exponent of “resources” (intellectual capital, financial stability, andso on) from pre-data to what i’ll simply call post-tech......and amidst the interchange of nation-state status......there emerges an interesting matrix for exploring past, present and futuredeterminisms...
  47. 47. STARSHIP POST-TECH FABRICATOR / PARTICLE ACCELLERATOR INDUSTRIAL ( ECONOMIC STABILITY + ACCESS TO NATURAL RESRCS ) STATUS UTILITIES / FILTRATION DEVELOPING SAILSHIP PRE-DATA ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANillustrating each resource categories’ likely ability to produce stuff and / or variousthings, we see where the chips might fall...i’m being somewhat deliberately blunt aboutthese examples: of course there is intersection here as well, more specifically withinthe present / historical conditions and shifting interrelationships of the industrial anddeveloping worlds...but perhaps these examples try to get at the height of each resource pool’s output...
  48. 48. "There ought not to be anything in the whole universe that man can’t poke his nose into - that’s the way we’re built and I assume that there’s some reason for it." - Robert A Heinlein ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANSo, with this somewhat better understanding of this “civil ecology stack”, let’s take astep back for a moment and briefly consider the character of systems past, present andfuture…
  49. 49. ELEMENTAL ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANso, PRE-DATA:- fire? War? structural engineering/building? chemical?- the pyramids...the cathedrals...the orchestration of material resources, sometimes overcenturies- call them, perhaps, systems of elemental mastery
  50. 50. DATA-CENTRIC ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANOUR DATA SATURATED PRESENT:- most of us are probly familiar, databases, delivery/provisioning, infrastructure...- centered on the crafting of DATA into SERVICES...
  51. 51. CAPACITANT ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANFuture: designing for CAPACITANCEAviv Bergman and Lynn Marguilis talks on evolutionary biology and software design severalyears ago while I was at the Sun Labs in Menlo Park...it’s a hunch that arises fromthinking about the transformations of time and distance at the epic scale...these are systems that will “remember” and maintain historical, cultural and mnemonic/learning and perhaps indeed even genetic continuity between millenial distances among thestars where humans may not.We begin to find the seeds of this kind of system sensibility even now as computation goesto ground in the built world around us...if we set our minds to thinking about not just“place” and memory in the immediate environment...and apply the notion of “duration”
  52. 52. * ASSUMES CURRENT 1 - 100 Magnitudes VALUE EXCHANGES TYPE LEAD TIME BUILD TIME ECONOMICS ( COST ) COMPLEXITY INDEX DEFINING TECHNOLOGIES STARSHIP 25 yrs 5 yrs 5-10 Trillion* 50 CAPACITANT [ PARADIGMATIC DESIGN + MATERIAL SCIENCE SHIFTS] - POST TECH UX LHC 10 yrs 6 yrs 6 Billion 12 QUANTUM FAB 12 10 yrs 4 yrs 4 Billion 11 CHEMICAL TITAN CPU 8 yrs 1 wk 100 Million 9 DATA INTERNET 60 yrs n/a Variable 10 DATA SKYSCRAPER 5 yrs 1 yrs 800 Million 4 STRUCTURAL TANKER 12 yrs 2 yrs 120 Million 3 DISPLACEMENT ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN 777 JET 12 yrs 2 yrs 240 Million 7 DISPLACEMENTit’s also helpful perhaps to look at a slice of our more recent “civilized ecology” togain perspective on how some of these types of systems have expressed through design...here i’ve just thrown together a few qualitatively imaginitive metrics to show where thelevel of effort might fall...the notion of defining technologies in this matrix is somewhat non-comprehensive but has theinteresting effect of causing us to wonder about just what a CAPACITANT system might look andfeel and behave like......because by and large we’re at least passing familiar with the others. Also, I may betaking licence with my categorizations here for the sake of illustration...
  53. 53. TITAN CPU 8 yrs 1 wk INTERNET 60 yrs n/a SKYSCRAPER 5 yrs 1 yrs TANKER 12 yrs 2 yrs 777 JET 12 yrs 2 yrs AUTOMOBILE 2 yrs 3 mo 12 TABLET PC 2 yrs 3 mo 30 ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANelemental (building, propulsion, etc) + service (data...) ecologies are highly evolved andevolving...the emergence of a holistic capacitant system is likely additive of these as well asexponential (since realistically we don’t know what we don’t know...
  54. 54. TYPE LEAD TIME BUILD TIME STARSHIP 25 yrs 5 yrs [ PARADIGMATIC DESIGN + MATERIAL SCIENCE SHIFTS] - POST TECH UX LHC 10 yrs 6 yrs FAB 12 10 yrs 4 yrs TITAN CPU 8 yrs 1 wk INTERNET 60 yrs n/a ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...about the evolution of certain components throughout this overall ecology, in materialscience, cognition and medicine... for instance;
  55. 55. * ASSUMES CURRENT 1 - 100 Magnitudes VALUE EXCHANGES TYPE LEAD TIME BUILD TIME ECONOMICS ( COST ) COMPLEXITY INDEX DEFINING TECHNOLOGIES STARSHIP 25 yrs 5 yrs 5-10 Trillion* 50 CAPACITANT LHC 10 yrs 6 yrs 6 Billion 12 QUANTUM FAB 12 10 yrs 4 yrs 4 Billion 11 CHEMICAL TITAN CPU 8 yrs 1 wk 100 Million 9 DATA INTERNET 60 yrs n/a Variable 10 DATA ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...those could all very well be game changing triggers for key directional/deterministicevents on the way to...what DEGREE of capacitance ultimately emerges...)So, again, “capacitance” in the sense I am using it here is the propensity for an organism orsystem to store and release NOT ENERGY... but memory, context, feeling......essentially systems that allow us to “reconstitute” experience
  56. 56. SPIRITUALITY ART / FASHION COMMERCE GOVERNANCE INFRASTRUCTURE CULTURE NATURE MEMORY ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANand the emergence of capacitant systems also likely adds some layers to the human stack welooked at before...increasing / boosting the overall combinatorial potential significantly...could we add, say, - and i’m just making a suggestion here - “spirituality” as a meta-component to the civilized ecology as technologies become more and more part of the fabric ofthe world? Would we need to design a new religeon, for instance, in order to enable orempower us to make the necessary technological leaps...does “memory” - again, a suggestion - in fact go deeper than “nature” - as a kind ofmetabolic, sub-component - in that we would need to include it as a critical parameter in thedesign of capacitant systems...?
  57. 57. "The ships hung in the sky in much the way bricks dont." - Douglas Adams ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANso, what makes it possible for such an eminently "civilized" system to emerge onto thehuman scene...
  58. 58. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANa CAPACITANT TECHNOLOGY, in fact, this starship...inventing new grammars to describe VERY abstract sets of data......what kinds of problems are these?
  59. 59. CAPACITANT UX ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...ARE THEY REALLY NEW new categories or are they evolutions of our current problem space?...And how do we get cultural, business, engineering and design intelligences aligned AROUNDTHEM?
  60. 60. CONTINUITY FITNESS EMPATHY IMPROVISATION ECONOMY PROCESS ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANSo, theres ...as I see it...theres some tenets to consider at the foundation ofdesigning for the capacitant experience as the following “psycho-graphic” relationaldiagrams may support:
  61. 61. CONTINUITY context self what are the interactions to be designed here? world time ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN predictioncontinuitywill we need to design through time? will predictive context support software becomenecessary on super long voyages…? mitigating disorientation?our interior sense of time? ship time? sidereal time...?
  62. 62. FITNESS consciousness environment language what are the interactions to be FITNESS designed here? LANDSCAPE senses competition cognition ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANfitnessit could also be that starships are not hulking metal containers at all but rathersymbiogenic (thank you, Lynn Marguilis) "slices" of our own biosphere - world shells, or"platforms" - that are essentially "home-in-a-box"? what do we design then? and what arethose so called extra-solar planets doing out there, eh? world-ship, anyone? ;)How can software be like the voyage we will undertake? both a companion and a compass…makingour journey more bearable, in and out of consciousness… environmental softwares...predictivematrices…and engage human cognition to the max…if independence from the biosphere is in fact the next step in human evolution, were goingto need more than simply expert systems to keep us alive "out there"…our frame of referencehas been "geological" forever - what happens when i can fit the solar system behind my thumb?or the local spiral arm?what are the psycho-spiritual implications of this?
  63. 63. EMPATHY philosophy science what are the interactions to be skills designed here? history world language faith ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANempathyand what of Post-earth humanity? And if we go even further than this and consider so-called "embryo ships" (thusfar one of the more materially radical notions Ive heard of), will we need to design a species-scale commonsense computing net (thank you marvin minsky) that humans likely born born into a hyper-mechanical crèche mightappropriate our language and fundamental practices AS a species…?The kinds of human-machine partnerships we will certainly need to design for are various. But all these effortsseem to be focused on creating EMPATHY within that feedback loop. How can we get machines to tap into and grokour sense of "reflection": be ontologically sensitive? what are Affective, Sense-making interfaces, betweenemotion + cognition? (And thats already a familiar challenge to everyone in this room, I think.)
  64. 64. EMPATHY philosophy science what are the interactions to be skills designed here? history humanity language faith ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANempathy (+ spirituality…?)its also likely that we WILL need to invent or at least modify certain existing systems of BELIEF… to accommodate yetanother "power of 10", moonshot moment. And what does this new narrative form do to our experience and engagement with/of TIME?And I think, again, its a matter of scale: we are designing a home away from home, an environment that "understands"us…in both mechanical…improvisational ways.
  65. 65. IMPROVISATION ACTION USE FLOW what are the M2 M3 MECHANICS interactions to be designed here? M1 M1 REPRESENTATION MEANING METADATA USE M2 CONTROL M3 MASTERY AFFORDANCE ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANimprovisational agencyand a more tactical consideration...navigating the mysterious reaches of the galaxy is going to require some serious flexibilityaround computational and visual systems...can we design expert systems that behave improvisationally? what kinds of new controlrelationships will be necessary? will use-models radically alter or will they remain constantdespite technological innovation?
  66. 66. ECONOMY MONEY ACCESS INDUSTRY INDUSTRY what are the interactions to be designedPOWER here? USERS CONTENT AFFORDANCES INDUSTRY ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANEconomyThere is also an economic bootstrapping aspect to this effort as well: by accessing thatgreater pool of resources you might feed, exponentially, an ability to go even farther…towards that hypothetically vast interstellar commonwealth of our (collective) dreams…
  67. 67. PROCESS A1 [ CONCEPTING ] B1 what are the interactions to be C2 CONCEPTING CLIENT INPUT designed here?3 A [ INTEGRATE ] [ COLLABORATION ] [ TEST ] PROTOTYPING CLIENT DEV B2 C1 [ PROTOTYPING ] A2 ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANdesign process morphologyHow do these long term challenges ultimately impact the iterative design mentality? Itcertainly adds new meaning to to the notion of the "epic" (for those familiar withAgile… ;) ). So, there is thinking to be done around new design process and the synthesis ofform.
  68. 68. CONTINUITY FITNESS what are the EMPATHY interactions to be designed here? IMPROVISATION ECONOMY PROCESS ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANultimately, these are not unfamiliar considerations throughout a wide spectrum ofprofessional practiceto designers, however, they may represent a reframing of certain relationships within theexisting design continuumand I’d like to suggest that they are useful target areas when considering the design offuture - capacitant - systems
  69. 69. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANSo, while i’ll cop to having used the “starship” a kind of back-drop to a more expansive setof ideas...truly, in this grand dream of reaching the stars, experience and interaction design indeedhave roles to play...
  70. 70. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN... in crafting not only pragmatic, systemic affordances but human relationships - from theenabling organizations to the individual frameworks for understanding the very story of our“uplift” as a species...
  71. 71. EVOLUTIONARY AFFORDANCE ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...this is impact on an evolutionary scale and the work, frankly, of generations (like thosecathedrals of olde...), enabling human-kind to slowly re-frame its relationships within thelarger cosmos...
  72. 72. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...the relationship between big-data and the energy-grid represents a boot-strappingopportunity: we need an ever more stable dichotomy here and if designing for the long-term,this almost certainly means “green”...
  73. 73. ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIAN...and from that more stable, base-line energy / data ecology, we can continue to evolve andoptimize the variously “stacked” imprints of human enterprise...
  74. 74. CAPACITANCE SPIRITUALITY SUBLIMITY HUMANITY DATA ENERGY ( TURTLES ) ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANand these stacks will continue to shift and recombine and evolve to varying degrees ofoptimization as we move into the future, moreso than I can illustrate here...if “capacitant” systems truly are in our future, they will allow us to understand ourselvesand our own intricate relationship with the universe in new ways.The challenge for designers? engender the awareness of interconnections in the world aboutand thereby prepare for a world in which the “intangible” may become technologicallycommonplace.
  75. 75. “Our flight must be not only to the stars but into the nature of our own beings. Because it is not merely where we go, to Alpha Centauri or Betelgeuse, but what we are as we make our pilgramage there. Our natures will be going there, too.” - Philip K Dick ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANPast (or perhaps amidst) all the scale and complexity lies an opportunity to participate inthe design of the human condition.THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING.
  76. 76. Thank You @dsnazarian scott.nazarian@frogdesign.com ‘BUILDING A BETTER STARSHIP’ ©2012 SCOTT NAZARIANnote on the shared edition: I will be giving this talk and variations of it over the courseof the next year and beyond. I welcome (!) productive critical review. Please reach out withsuggestions, corollaries, ambiguities or general commentary as you will. Thanks again.PS: lesson learned? “no one reads the brief”! :D

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