Transformations in design practice between the Dotcom Crash and the rise of machine intelligence
As technology becomes more complex and opaque, how will we as designers understand its potential, do hands-on work, translate it into forms people can understand and use, and lead meaningful conversations with manufacturers and policymakers about its downstream implications? We are entering a new technology landscape shaped by artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and synthetic biology.
Historically, design has transformed and generated new disciplines during times of fast technological change. Through conversations led by Tellart, this project explores and documents transformations in design between the Dotcom Crash and the rise of machine intelligence. Through reflections on key projects from this period and interviews with a community of today’s top design practitioners, Design Nonfiction explores the future of design practice. It emphasises the timeless need to make the invisible visible and the immaterial tangible, in order to sketch and build with emerging technologies.
MIT Media Lab
Formerly Assistant Professor and Founder of Playful Systems Group at MIT Media Lab, Founding Chief Science and Technology Officer The Shed, Vice Chairman of Cooper Union Board of Trustees, Co-founder and Chairman of Area/Code, Adjunct Professor at Cooper Union, Adjunct Professor at NYU ITP.
Magic and play
What changed with the arrival of mobile and locative media?
Behaviour versus appearance
What is the premise of augmented reality, and can it deliver meaningful experiences?
Thin versus rich
What happens at the intersection between social media and virtual reality?
Black-boxness as material
How we can we better understand and engage with artificial intelligence?
Unnamed life forms
What does it mean to design with biology as a material?
Storytelling for science
What is the designer’s role in society today?
The Digital Revolution
Compilation Part 1 of 4
Historically, design practice has transformed and generated new disciplines during times of fast technological change. In the early 2000s, the rapid spread of digital technologies drove designers to explore how to adapt 20th-century foundational design methods and tools to a new wave of invisible and intangible materials that promised to revolutionise material culture at every scale.
Molly Wright Steenson Ph.D.
Carnegie Mellon University
Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Fine Arts, Associate Professor in Ethics and Computational Technologies, Associate Professor, School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Formerly Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Associate Professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. Ph.D. from Princeton University in Architecture.
Bursting the bubble
What was the context for the Dotcom Crash?
How has architecture shaped digital design?
Is there a tension between architecture, information architecture and computational practice?
What is the connection between architecture patterns, software design and physical space?
Problems of scale
How does artificial intelligence impact interactivity and ubiquitous computing?
What fears or creative hopes have computer aids triggered for architects?
Why were early AI pioneers drawn to collaborating with architects?
Agendas behind AI
What is driving new developments in artificial intelligence?
The “Immaterials” Come of Age
Compilation Part 2 of 4
The evolution of Web, mobile and social media led to the emergence of new interdisciplinary design fields and communities. Designers sought ways to sketch with hardware and software, infusing interactivity into physical products and spaces. Today’s continuing advances in Physical Computing, Augmented and Virtual Reality promise to further blend the physical and digital while offering new ways for people to experience the world and each other.
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg Ph.D.
Studio Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Artist, Director of Studio Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg Ltd., Design Fellow of Synthetic Aesthetics at University of Edinburgh and Stanford University, Author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature. Ph.D. from Royal College of Art in Design Interactions.
What is synthetic biology and what does it mean for design?
A broad church
What roles can designers play in this field and how does biology function as a material?
How can architecture and design training prepare us for working with biology?
What unique value can design practitioners bring to collaborations with scientists?
The idea of “Better”
What makes designers different from engineers?
How can design frameworks improve the scientific practice of designing living things?
Asking good questions
What is the future of design education?
Where is the line between speculative and applied design, when working with biology?
Mistaken as Real
What’s the right visual language for engaging an audience with speculative life forms?
Are your fictional organisms storytelling devices or concrete proposals for preferable futures?
A question-seeking practice
What is critical design and what is its contribution to the world?
Can critical design make synthetic biology “Better”?
Can irony and dystopia be helpful tools in speculative practice?
What is the power of design?
Power of the imaginary
How do synthetic biologists use speculation to advance their vision?
How does synthetic biology connect with artificial intelligence?
Hands-on with biology
What will design schools look like in 50 years?
The Next Revolution
Compilation Part 3 of 4
We now enter a new technology landscape shaped by advanced robotics, machine intelligence and synthetic biology. As technology becomes even more complex and opaque, how will designers experiment with it hands-on, in order to understand its potential and give it useful and culturally relevant form? Is this simply the next technology revolution, or are we now entering uncharted territory for design?
Rory Hyde Ph.D.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at Victoria & Albert Museum, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Design Advocate for the Mayor of London, Author of Future Practice: Conversations from the Edge of Architecture. Ph.D. from RMIT University in Architecture.
Black box design
Is the best user interface an invisible one?
How do we reveal the inner workings of digital products in meaningful and useful ways?
Value of Designers
Can patterns and technologies like 3D printing replace the designer?
To what extent might robots and artificial intelligence replace architects?
Do designers have a role to play in the ethics of emerging technologies?
How do digital, or "intelligent", technologies fit into modern architectural practice?
How might architects and designers partner creatively with artificial intelligence?
Should we be optimistic about technology’s potential to solve 21st Century problems?
Reclaiming the future
How can technology be used in the service of building optimism and agency?
What is the most meaningful brief for designers in a world of artificial intelligence?
Rich with potential
How can designers pull a new wave of “intelligent” materials into their practice?
Reality is radical
How does the V&A’s “rapid response collecting” relate to design fiction?
How can designers contribute meaningfully to politics, beyond using fiction as critique?
A New Path for Design
Compilation Part 4 of 4
Design’s traditional role was to create solutions for people using appropriate tools and materials. As our social and environmental challenges grow in urgency and complexity, our tools and materials become increasingly intelligent and autonomous. Today’s designers may play a pivotal role in society by giving emerging technologies tangible form and helping people grasp the downstream implications of today’s choices—creating preferable futures for humanity and the planet.
Artist, Co-founder and CTO of virtual and augmented reality company Within. Work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Centre Pompidou. Formerly Director of the Data Arts Team, at the Google Creative Lab, Abramowitz Artist in Residence at MIT.
In a world of artificial intelligence, how can data visualization be used for good?
How much agency should we knowingly hand over to machines?
Bastions of hope
How should designers interface with increasingly complex and autonomous tools?
Tools with influence
How does data help us be more human?
Explore vs. classify
Is there a spectrum between data visualization, information design and data arts?
How do we create a meaningful discourse about the ethics of Big Data?
How is the idea of “interface” evolving and what is its next frontier?
Parameters of Existence
How does virtual reality promise to change interaction and storytelling?
Suspension of Belief
Where does VR borrow from existing media and where is it fundamentally new?
Where is virtual reality on the hype curve?
Does virtual reality offer a fundamentally new version of “presence”?
Growing up immersed
What are the downstream implications of virtual reality for today’s kids?
As algorithms advance, how will human authorship evolve?
How is the line shifting between hardware and biology?
Principal Designer, Google AI, Advisory Board Member at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Formerly Design Director at Google Research & Machine Intelligence, Principal at BERG, Visiting Tutor at Royal College of Art, Co-founder and Lead Designer of Dopplr, Internet Portfolio Executive at BBC, UX director at Nokia.
Flavours of intelligence
What is machine intelligence and what is it good at?
The centaur concept
What is the ideal scenario for human-machine collaboration?
Perception to inception
What does it mean for machines to “dream”?
Owners vs. users
How can we approach form when designing products with machine intelligence?
Can machine intelligence creatively augment and delight humans?
Tools that dream
What is the most promising use of machine learning today?
What do UX designers bring to the design of machine intelligent systems?
Does anyone really understand how machine intelligence works?
Artist, Co-creator of the Processing programming language for the visual arts, and Professor at University of California, Los Angeles. Work in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Formerly Associate Professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.
Code as material
How has working with software disrupted design practice?
What did the early Internet mean for creative practices?
Sketching with code
How has Processing provided tools for new generations of designers?
Systems for learning
How has coding education for designers evolved, and what works best today?
How will machine intelligence shape culture and creative practice?
Rhode Island School of Design
President of Rhode Island School of Design. Founder of the Furniture Design department, Co-editor of The Art of Critical Making, and maintains her professional studio practice Rosanne Somerson Furniture. Formerly Professor, Department Head of Furniture Design, Provost at Rhode Island School of Design.
Making as physical thinking
How does RISD teach idea creation?
21st century Foundation year
Which traditional craft skills should make room for digital media in Foundation studies?
Are these fields merging, or deepening as silos with bridging vocabularies?
How can designers uniquely tackle complex challenges like climate change?
Data, biology and critical making
How are emerging technologies transforming design practice?
People as purpose
How do students develop focus and mastery in a torrent of content and technology?
How can technology give designers new lenses for understanding the world?
“Beauty” as instigator for industry
What are the origins of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)?
MIT Enchanted Objects
Vice President Vision Technology at Warby Parker, Lecturer and Researcher at MIT Media Lab, Author of Enchanted Objects. Formerly Board Member and Instructor at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Futurist in Residence at IDEO, CEO of Ditto Labs, CEO of Vitality, Founder and CEO of Ambient Devices, Lecturer at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Heather Dewey–Hagborg Ph.D.
Transdisciplinary artist and educator. Her work is held in public collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the New York Historical Society, among others. Heather is an artist fellow at AI Now, an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium, as well as Science Center, and is an affiliate of Data & Society.
Timo Arnall Ph.D.
Co-founder of Playdeo. Formerly Co-founder of Ottica, Creative Director at BERG, Visiting Faculty at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Visiting Lecturer at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, and Umeå University. Ph.D. from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).
Artist, Co-founder of the School for Poetic Computation, Co-creator of the openFrameworks programming language for creative coding. Formerly Assistant Professor of Computational Design at Parsons School of Design, resident at Ars Electronica Futurelab and Eyebeam.
Design Director at Tellart. Zuilhof works closely with clients, partners and Tellart's internal team, to give form to strategies, installations and exhibitions. She frequently teaches workshops at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.
Gillian Crampton Smith & Philip Tabor Ph.D.
Interaction Design Institute Ivrea & Iuav University of Venice
Crampton Smith, Honorary Professor at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, was Professor of Computer Related Design at Royal College of Art. Tabor was Director of Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. They taught at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, of which Crampton Smith was Founder-Director, and established Interaction Design masters programmes at Iuav University of Venice and tech accelerator H-Farm.
Stuart Candy Ph.D.
School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University
Futurist and Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, Director at Situation Lab. Formerly Foresight and Innovation Leader at Arup, Professor in hybrid design-futures approaches at leading design schools around the world. Active actor in the establishment of Experiential Futures. Ph.D. from University of Hawaii at Manoa in Futures Studies.
Anab Jain & Jon Ardern
Jain is a Co-founder and Director of Superflux, and Professor of Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Ardern is a Co-founder and Designer of Superflux. Work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the National Museum of China, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Artist and writer working across technologies and disciplines. His artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, the Atlantic, the Guardian and the Observer. He lectures regularly at conferences, universities, and other events.
Robin McNicholas & Ersin Han Ersin
Marshmallow Laser Feast
McNicholas is a Founder and Creative Director at Marshmallow Laser Feast. Ersin is a Partner and Director at Marshmallow Laser Feast. The collective specializes in virtual reality, augmented reality, haptic technology for social good.
Carnegie Mellon University
Artist, Professor of Electronic Art at Carnegie Mellon University, and Director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Formerly Adjunct Faculty at Parsons School of Design, and Interaction Designer and Research Scientist at Interval Research.
Claire L. Evans
Writer and singer/coauthor of the pop group YACHT. Founding editor of Terraform, VICE's science-fiction vertical. She is the former futures editor of Motherboard, and a contributor to VICE, Rhizome, The Guardian, WIRED, and Aeon. Evans is an advisor to design students at Art Center College of Design and a founding member of the cyberfeminist collective Deep Lab.
Head Of Design at PARC, a Xerox Company. Co-founder of design consultancy Adaptive Path and ubiquitous computing device studio ThingM. Author of Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research, and Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design.
Co-founder and Creative Director of Experientia, and Visiting Professor at Domus Academy. Formerly Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Visiting Professor at Banff New Media Institute, Senior Associate Professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Assistant Professor at Rhode Island School of Design.
Associate Director at Arup, Visiting Professor at Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and Adjunct Professor at RMIT, Mayor of London's Design Advocate. Formerly Executive Director of Future Cities Catapult, CEO of Fabrica, Strategic Design Lead at Sitra, Head of Interactive Technology and Design at BBC.
Co-founder and CEO at Playdeo, Visiting Faculty at Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design. Formerly Co-founder of Ottica, Co-founder of BERG, Co-founder of Schulze & Webb, Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
Bill Verplank Ph.D.
Visiting Lecturer at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and d.school. Formerly Area Chair at Interval Research, Interaction Design and Human Factors at ID2 (now IDEO), Human Factors Researcher at Xerox. Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering on man-machine systems.
Simona Maschi Ph.D.
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design
Co-founder and CEO of Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Formerly Faculty at 180° Academy, Lecturer at Designskolen Kolding, Associate Professor and Researcher at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. Ph.D. from Politecnico di Milano in Industrial Design and Multimedia Communication.
Einar Sneve Martinussen Ph.D.
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Co-founder of Voy, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Interaction Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Organiser and Host of digital urban life conference Digitalt Byliv. Ph.D. from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Interaction Design (AHO) on networked cities, social media and design.
Tom Igoe & Dan O'Sullivan
Igoe is an Arts Professor at NYU ITP, Core Partner at Arduino LLC., Author of Making Things Talk. O'Sullivan is Associate Dean at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and Chair of NYU ITP, Co-author of Physical Computing with Igoe. Formerly Fellow at Interval Research, Eyebeam Artist in Residence, Research Scientist at Intel, Microsoft, Developer of QuickTimeVR at Apple.
Euro Beinat Ph.D.
Global Lead Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Naspers Limited. Founder of Numerico, Co-founder of Data Science for Social Good, Board Member and Advisor at Collective Sensing Research, Professor of Data Science and Geoinformatics at University of Salzburg. Formerly Vice President at Zebra Technologies. Ph.D. from Tinbergen Institute in Economics.
Creative Coding Amsterdam Tellart
Artist, Technologist at Tellart, and Co-founder of Creative Coding Amsterdam, a monthly meetup for creative coding enthusiasts. Verhage frequently visits and volunteers at media art and technology events throughout Europe.
Designer translating data into objects and experiences. Author of Feltron Annual Reports credited to have inspired the design of Facebook’s Timeline, Co-founder of Daytum, and Reporter App. Named a top 50 designer in America by Fast Company. Work in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Formerly Product Designer at Facebook, Adjunct Professor NYU.
Mimi Son & Elliot Woods
Kimchi and Chips
Co-founders of South Korea-based experimental art studio Kimchi and Chips and winners of the Award of Distinction at Ars Electronica. Woods is a digital media artist and has extensively contributed to the openFrameworks and VVVV creative coding platforms. Son is an artist and Adjunct Professor at Ewha Womans University, Seoul.
Fabien Girardin Ph.D.
Near Future Laboratory
Co-founder and Partner of Near Future Laboratory. Formerly Co-CEO at BBVA Data & Analytics, Co-creator of Quadrigram a visual programming environment to sketch with data. Ph.D. from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Computer Science and Digital Communications.
Regina Bittner Ph.D.
Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
Head of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation Academy. Professor and Developer of postgraduate programs in design, Bauhaus and architectural research. Curator of numerous exhibitions on Bauhaus and the cultural history of modernism. Ph.D. from the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin in Cultural Anthropology.
Partner and Design Lead at PwC Norway, Board Member of No Isolation, Founding partner of Live|Work, the world’s first service design agency. Co-author of Service Design from Insight to Implementation, and Service Design for Business. Formerly Board Member of DOGA, Visiting Professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.
Founder and Managing Partner of Changeist. Lead Instructor in Strategic Foresight/Futures at Dubai Future Academy, Visiting Professor in Innovation & Futures Thinking at IED Barcelona. Formerly Visiting Lecturer at School of International Futures, Lead instructor at the Futures Institute at Duke University TIP.
Matt Cottam & Nick Scappaticci
Cottam is the Co-founder & CDO at Tellart, and Faculty at Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design. Scappaticci is the Co-founder and CEO at Tellart, and Adjunct Faculty at Rhode Island School of Design.
James George, Alexander Porter & Yasmin Elayat
George is a Co-founder and CEO of Scatter, Co-founder of Depthkit, Adjunct Professor at NYU ITP. Porter is a Co-founder and CPO of Scatter, Co-founder of Depthkit, Adjunct Professor at NYU ITP. Elayat is a Co-founder and CMO of Scatter, Adjunct Professor at NYU ITP.
Founder of XPLANE, Founder and CEO at The School of the Possible. Author of Selling to the VP of NO, Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers, The Connected Company, and Liminal Thinking.
Goldsmiths, University of London
Senior Lecturer, Head of the Department of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London, Co-founder of DWFE. Formerly research affiliate at MIT Media Lab, and Interaction Design at Royal College of Art, Design Researcher at NCR Knowledge Lab.
Wendy Ju Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Information Science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City. Formerly Executive Director of Interaction Design at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, Associate Professor at California College of the Arts. Ph.D. from Stanford University in Design, Mechanical Engineering.
Nicolas Nova Ph.D.
Near Future Laboratory
Founding partner of Near Future Laboratory, Associate Professor at the Geneva School of Arts and Design (HEAD). Formerly curator of LIFT conferences. Ph.D. from the University of Geneva in Social Sciences, as well as a Ph.D. from the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Human-Computer Interaction.
Maia Garau Ph.D.
Strategy Director at Tellart. Formerly Senior Consultant at XPLANE, Senior UX Consultant at Dynamic Diagrams, Visiting Lecturer at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Visiting Lecturer at Umeå Institute of Design (UID), Adjunct Faculty at Rhode Island School of Design. Ph.D. from University College London in Computer Science on virtual environments.
Julian Bleecker Ph.D.
Near Future Laboratory
Co-founder of Near Future Laboratory, and Co-founder and CTO of Omata Inc. Formerly artist-in-residence at Eyebeam, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Interactive Media Division. Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) in the History of Consciousness.
Co-founder of Line-us. Formerly Designer at SAM Labs, Designer at BERG, Partner at Luckybite, Interaction Designer at IDEO, Co-founder of Itch, Researcher at Royal College of Art, Visiting Researcher at Interval Research, and Designer at Apple Advanced Technology Group. Visiting Faculty at Copenhagen Insititute of Interaction Design.
Google Creative Lab
Creative Director at Google Creative Lab in New York. His projects explore how music and code is interconnected and include mta.me, baroque.me, Les Paul Doodle, Chrome Music Lab.
Theo Watson & Emily Gobeille
openFrameworks & Design IO
Watson is an Artist, Co-creator of the openFrameworks programming language for creative coding, Partner and Creative Director at Design I/O, Associate at YesYesNo. Gobeille is an Artist, Partner and Creative Director at Design I/O, and Associate at YesYesNo.
Google Creative Lab
Creative director of Google Creative Lab in Sydney, after founding Google Creative Lab in London. Her projects include Editions at Play, Hangouts in History, Dream40, Chrome Web Lab, Life in a Day, and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Board Member at Biennale of Sydney. Formerly Royal Academy of Arts, the Wellcome Trust, Random House, and Christian Aid.
The Foundation for Public Code
Director, The Foundation for Public Code, Faculty at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. Formerly Co-founder and President of TEEM, Design Fellow at Samsung. Formerly, Advisor to Foresight Group at Arup, Board Member Grey Area, Director of Experience Design Lab at Frog Design, Co-founder of Flickr.
Matt Cottam & Jan–Christoph Zoels
Tellart & Experientia
Cottam is the Co-founder & CDO at Tellart, Faculty at Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design. Zoels is a Creative Director, Senior Partner, and Co-founder of Experientia, a Visiting Professor at Domus Academy. Formerly Visiting Lecturer at Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design, Senior Associate Professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.
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