I am currently reading Bruce Sterling’s ‘Shaping Things‘. Amongst fantasies about future technologies, it comes to mind that there may be some value in considering technosocial context when evaluating how convivial a tool is. In the same way as a spime is of little value in a hunter-gatherer society, so the artifact is of limited value to a wrangler.
Sterling encourages us to also consider the metahistory to consider what may be an appropriate and acceptable design solution in any given social context. He notes that we may be able to free ourselves of that metahistorical constraint to take an alternative path, taking an interventionist approach (so long as that approach does not become totalitarian). He notes the importance of free access to information (open access) to ensure that the negative aspects of intervention can be balanced by an informed populace.
I like the following quote:
‘A society that can’t sustain itself may have
strong ideas about its metahistory,
but objectively speaking it has no future’
I also love to listen to Bruce Sterling speak…
And remember that it was Bruce’s Veridian Design Movement that has led to the ‘bright green’ environmental approach that is embodied by the ‘Worldchanging‘. The associated book of the same name was incipiently the first thing that got me thinking that it might really be possible to do something about creating a more sustainable world – taking a much more positive and optimistic approach than was being dished out by the likes of Al Gore and Tim Flannery at the time.