Mike Kuniavsky — Design [in|for|and] the age of ubiquitous computing

Web Directions South 2011, Sydney, October 14th.

Presentation slides

Session description

Let’s start with the assumption that computing and networking are as cheap to incorporate into product designs as plastic and aluminum. Anything can tweet, everything knows about everything. The cloud extends from smart speed bumps to exurban data systems, passing through us in the process. We’re basically there technologically today, and over the next [pick a date range] years, we’ll be there distribution-​​wise.

Here’s the issue: now that we have this power what do we do with it? Yes we can now watch the latest movies on our phones while ignoring the rest of the world (if you believe telco ads) and know more about peripheral acquaintances than you ever wanted. But, really, is that it? Is it Angry Birds all the way down?

Of course not. Every technology’s most profound social and cultural changes are invisible at the outset. Cheap information processing and networking technology is a brand new phenomenon, culturally speaking, and quickly changing the world in fundamental ways. Designers align the capabilities of a technology with people’s lives, so it is designers who have the power and responsibility to think about what this means.

This talk will discuss where ubiquitous computing is today, some changes we can already see happening, and how we can begin to think about the implications of these technologies for design, for business and for the world at large.

About Mike Kuniavsky

Photo of Mike KuniavskyMike Kuniavsky is a designer, writer, researcher, consultant and entrepreneur focused on people’s relationship to digital technology. He cofounded Adaptive Path, a San Francisco design consulting firm, and ThingM, a ubiquitous computing design studio and micro-​​manufacturer. He is the author of ‘Observing the User Experience,’ a popular textbook of user research methods, and ‘Smart Things: ubiquitous computing user experience design,’ a guide to the user-​​centered design of digital products.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikekuniavsky

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