Viewing entries tagged
Wicked problems

2011. A Year In Review

2011.  A Year In Review - The Selfish World


Like Vladimir and Estragon, I am still waiting (as in Waiting For Godot. I am a shameless wikipediar). Unlike that futile twosome, I am still waiting for the technological - social - political - biological - emergent singularity. When all human kind terms into one nebulous happy-fest. 

When human becomes robotic and robots become human. When information becomes the truly universal currency. When green and tech integrate in a way previously unforeseeable. When technology is inspired by biology. 

When speed of thought exceeds the speed of light (okay, bit far there).  

I suspect I will be waiting for a while yet. I'm not sure if the myriad of technological changes reflected on people, society and the world at large has actually changed some of the fundamental psychological constructs. As much as I would hope otherwise, I think we are still an intrinsically self-interested species. Focused on our own needs and our own small temporal window. Perhaps this is more true now then previously. 

Have I sipped at the cup of negative thinking? Perhaps. There are rays of sunshine amidst the clouds. The interwebs have connected people to people and people to causes more efficiently then ever before. A revolution is the new startup. 

What I have seen of old Europe implies a different legacy, parks and churches that took hundreds of years to complete. Finished by the great grand-children of the original masons. I always suspected the Freemasons existed as an organisation to give identity and meaning to the man in the middle. Who did not start the project and would not live to see its completion. They had vision. Hundred year plans (Hundred year wars as well). 

What power could we leverage if we focused on more then the immediate application of these amazing tools and concepts to long term goals. I think many of the problems may not have an immediate solution. But we want it now. Vast sweeps of our lives are conditioned to that, the immediate delivery of goods and services. The asymptotic shaving of minutes and seconds away from the time it takes for us to be satiated. 

However. Some things take time. We need to learn to act now for tomorrow.


Shellshock. Whiplash. Overload.

What a month or so. Give me half a chance I am sure I will be sitting on a park bench somewhere in 50 years time reminiscing about the two months from September to October '11, 'them were big ones'.

Demibooks, the company I co-founded reached a funding milestone.

There was the release of an apparently deflating iPhone 4S. However, the rush of sales that proved many a pundit wrong or irrelevant. The iPhone 4S is selling like the proverbial hotcakes. It may have something to do with the super sexy Siri (Hal 9000's little sister). The age of the talkative machine is coming and no one knows where it well end (as long as it doesn't end like it does in the movies!)

An IT industry rocked by the news of Steve Jobs death, something that seemed unexpectedly and perhaps irrationally to affect the world at large. A single death that had a much deeper impact on those working in user experience and design.

For a company that appears to scorn the classic UX techniques, they sure produce a vast number of incredible technological hits that in turn create large scale social change. Devices that have pushed experience into the frontal lobes of technologists worldwide.

The Kindle Fire, the first tablet (other then the iPad) that seems to hit a sweet spot of gear + content.

Apple and Samsung take it to the patent ring to duke it out.

Facebook Timeline. Your Life digitized in one long timeline.

Technologies like Tumblr, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook mobilizing civilian armies worldwide to protest socio-economic inequality. Protesters using twitter as a political platform (again) when occupying Wall Street.

Meanwhile, the cynical could argue that the froth of high-technology and social movement has done little to address truly wicked problems, like a famine threatening to break out in the Sudan.

Truly a month made of equal parts joy, sadness, devastation and hope.