Thought I would venture into some futuristic rambling on the world of 2159 — with less philosophizing this time. I see one of the most dramatic changes for design will be that there were be less hardware to design. Think about all the hardware we use today that we will likely have no use for in a hundred plus years. Things like cell phones and laptops will be unnecessary since you will be able to either receive data directly to the brain or simply tap into the data stream at will. It’s likely that we will also have the technology to augment the human body to “see” information directly on the retina, convert electrical impulses from our brains into words or text and transmit them without ever opening our mouths. Science is already musing on this calling it techlepathy. So things like phones, keyboards, mice and remote controls will probably fall by the wayside long before the setting of my story.
For my characters, I’m banking on technology to have cracked the body’s electrical data code so that transferring information can be done through a simple fingertip device to a tablet or card that will display it.
Speaking of displays, if we have the ability to see information and entertainment on our retinas, will we still want to see it “out there” in front of us? If we can think our phone calls, will we still want to speak? I’m guessing yes on both counts, since even with today’s technology some things we still like to keep analog. We still like to see friends face to face, listen to live music and turn the pages of a book. I think there will always be a place for the analog world.
This would go for furniture as well, the chair has been around for centuries and designers have a fascination with reinventing it. I predict this will not go away either.
All speculation, of course, but it becomes increasingly evident that just about everything we do today we will be doing differently far into the future and that includes sleeping, eating, entertaining and repairing ourselves. This is something that I’m working on staying cognizant of as my characters go about their business.
Most design fiction discussions lean toward near-future scenarios, but pursuing a farther future more aggressively challenges the design-culture interface dynamic.. You can help but wonder how the culture will change with the advent of these augmented realities and head tripping technologies.