Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Everywhere expertise and concern

Everyware is becoming ubiquitous, and we get a glimpse of the kinds of expertise and concerns Adam Greenfield sees leading the way.

WorldChanging's Jon Lebkowsky interviews Adam about how and why he got into ubicomp:

AG: "It was a sense that there wasn't really anything out there for people...And yet, despite this extraordinary expansion in the number of people who would be affected by this particular information technology, nobody was talking about it in anything but an academic and technical voice. Sure, there was 7-10 years worth of literature out there. There had been Pervasive conferences and ubiquitous conferences. But there was nothing yet that targeted the smart generalist or the general readership. And that struck me as profoundly wrong. So I bootstrapped myself. Despite not having a background in it, despite not having any sort of engineering background whatever, I went to a couple of Ubicomp conferences and did a whole bunch of research."

Adam, in No boundaries: The challenge of ubiquitous design, on the kinds of expertise still needed:

"I think of everyware not so much as a computing challenge, but as a social challenge. The consequences of endowing the objects and surfaces of everyday life with processing power will are much bigger than a single industry. Based though it may be on the widely distributed deployment of microprocessors, the concepts most useful for understanding everyware will be those drawn from the study of social and cultural evolution...The role of designer assumes a new importance in this context—a new responsibility for ensuring that, wherever possible, the ubiquitous systems we make together improve (or at the very least do not unduly burden) the everyday lives of their users. But if everyware calls upon its designers to act with unusual delicacy, and above all compassion for the needs of a hugely enlarged and diversified user base, it also presents rich opportunities for personal development and growth on the part of those designers. Everyware extends our efforts in that beautiful, endlessly intriguing, occasionally exasperating, place where we all live and breathe."


Blogger adamgreenfield said...

Thanks for posting these, Anne!

Just want to point out that the editors felt that the last sentence of the second excerpt was improved by removing the phrase "the real world," between "efforts in" and "that beautiful."

To me, that changes the entire meaning of the sentence, but oh well. Editors... ; . )


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