(not so) Disruptive Visions

I somehow started to attend the so called ‘design debates’ in the Design Academy Eindhoven more regularly. The previous one, on mapping (the conflict), was quite interesting and wrote an extensive review of the presented talks (perhaps because of my life-long interest to maps and the Desiree to use them more often for Summ()n’s projects).

This one, labelled ‘Disruptive Design‘, promised to be interesting, too, but turned to be not so (I would even say it was very boring).

I knew the story of Avular, a start-up that is (going to start) making industrial drones (they were one of the participants of the High-Tech XL accelerator where I was supposedly a mentor.)

There was nothing ‘disruptive’ in the presentation by Ramon Haken, especially in terms of ‘design’. It’s a good project, and in many ways a local favorite, but the story was like many other millions of such kind.

The story by Tijmen Schep was much stronger in terms of style – and not surprisingly, since not so long ago he was preparing his speech for one of the TEDx-es (Data is the new gold, who are the new thieves?)

However, it was stronger but wrong(-er).  Rhetorical flare aside (that is, if you would filter its anti-corporate, anti-establishment and overall luddist tone), it was wrong in its core assumption: that it is ‘technology’ that can corrupt our otherwise good human society, in specifically, in turning to the next Big Brother monster state.  I may need to write a much longer posting to show why it’s a very naive – yet widely present – set of beliefs. Ironically, these ideas are often heard from the people who have no idea how Big Brother states look-&-feel like, and how they are experienced.

But in short, it’s not a technology, any technology, that can convert the otherwise healthy human society (e.g., Dutch one) into a (more) totalitarian regime. As a rule, technologies tend to elevate the societal order further up (although not in a simple liner way.)  And yes, brutal regime may become even more brutal with the use of modern tech. But, but… many things were very confusing in his statements, and propositions.

I understand there were more speakers planned, but they didn’t manage to come, and the third one who did was not presenting anything.  So, overall is a disappointment.

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