the public is beginning to awake


Connecting’07: Where Do We Design From Here?

Frog Blog / Elektroniker

By: Tim Leberecht October 21, 2007

“Thousands of representatives from international corporations, design firms, government entities, and institutions of higher education, spanning more than 35 countries around the world, attended the CONNECTING’07 World Design Congress last week in San Francisco, the largest and arguably most influential gathering of industrial designers to date.

* * *

“… The Congress panels did not articulate any fear of future technology or a sense of paranoia or angst (with the notable exception of Fiona Ruby’s and Anthony Dunne’s session on “designs for fragile personalities in anxious times”). While the catastrophic consequences of climate change were widely discussed and were mostly embraced with profound optimism, nano-technology or bio-genetics were simply left out of the equation. I found that surprising. If “the future doesn’t need us” (Bill Joy), tomorrow’s design will certainly not need designers. As design pretends to provide the accessories for the ongoing illusion of human mastery, it is in fact already in a constant state of emergency. Given the radical progress in advanced nano-technologies, design may be nothing but proof that “something can be done even when there is nothing that can be done” (Peter Sloterdiijk). “Design thinking” is nice but it will become meaningless if (when) artificial intelligence will start doing the thinking (and the design) for us. Already, the designer’s responsibility is shifting from designing things and experiences to designing the conditions for design (and thinking), creating human links between bits, atoms, neurons, and genes. What if the designer’s major task in the 21st century is to be the devil’s advocate, providing a (false) sense of personal safety in times of genetic engineering, personalized machines, and a new singularity? What if it is time to start designing for a time after design?”

(full article)

Source: Frog Blog / Elektroniker


Newcomb’s Commentary: When the public awakens to the way developments in AI/AGI, nanotechnology and biogenetics may threaten livelihoods, core beliefs and military certainties, the immediate concerns of the AI/AGI community may undergo sudden and radical shifts. If wanting to guide a better future into the world of form through solid preparation is, indeed, the heartbeat of groups like SIAI, Foresight and the Methuselah Foundation, the threats to Singularity development that could emerge out of political, religious and military organizations around the world –as Singularity becomes a household word – need to be considered.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley



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