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Fusing Design with Technology 39

Posted by Zonk
from the all-about-the-shiny dept.
PreacherTom writes "Since the creations by Walt Disney of Space Mountain and EPCOT, progressives have attempted to show us a picture of how technology will affect our future lives. More often than not, these pictures become laughable after 20 years. Not for Royal Philips Electronics, who at their Simplicity Event in London unveiled their picture of the seamlessly technological future, including e-blackboards, cosmetic skintone scanners, and (sure to make the mouths of geeks water) the amBXT Immersive Gaming Experience."
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Fusing Design with Technology

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  • FP (Score:3, Funny)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:55AM (#16345605) Homepage
    Gah! It's been seven minutes already! Won't SOMEBODY FP, so I can moderate you down???
  • Whoa boy, where to start:
    "Since the creations by Walt Disney of Space Mountain and EPCOT, progressives have attempted to show us a picture of how technology will affect our future lives.
    1. It's a lot older than Disney World. 1939 World's fair, anyone? Or before that, how about a more radical example, like the Italian Futurists.
    2. "Progressives" - "I don't think that word means what you think it means." These days, "Progressive" means "a liberal, but we can't call him a liberal because that phrase is too unpopular with voters." Do you mean a futurist? A student of progress?

    More often than not, these pictures become laughable after 20 years. Not for Royal Philips Electronics
    Uh, who died and made you Hari Seldon? You have absolutely no way of knowing that Phillips' vision won't look equally laughable 20 years down the road. History suggests it will be just as laughable. If you could see the future, you'd be investing in the stock market, not posting to Slashdot.

    The future will not only be stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Whoa boy, where to start:
      "Since the creations by Walt Disney of Space Mountain and EPCOT, progressives have attempted to show us a picture of how technology will affect our future lives.
      1. It's a lot older than Disney World. 1939 World's fair, anyone? Or before that, how about a more radical example, like the Italian Futurists.

      You're going in the right direction with the World's Fair comment, but you can go a bit further back to 1851. Turns out the World's Fair has been running since then. Looking up the

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      These days, "Progressive" means "a liberal", but we can't call him a liberal because that phrase is too unpopular with voters.

      Perhaps in the US. But not in the Netherlands. It is generally not considered as progressive or leftist. The political term "liberalism" is considered to be right of the middle, whereas socialims is on the left side. Most business people in the Netherlands vote VVD, which is the liberal party.
      • In the US, 'progressive' is also sometimes a code word used by 'revolutonaries' to refer to themselves.

        In that sense, none of the pasty-white do-gooder B.S. that 'liberals' espouse means squat. 'Liberal' translates to 'sometimes useful idiot' in those circles.

        • by mOdQuArK! (87332)
          Liberal _used_ to mean someone who thought everyone should be able to live & let live, until the propagandists got a hold of it.

          The "sometimes useful idiot" applies more to the people who like to use the word "liberal" as a pejorative.
  • by arun_s (877518) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:02AM (#16345637) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    So, instead of lengthy user manuals or complicated keypads and remotes, the collection focused on gesture, touching, and other intuitive ways for humans to interact with their environment.
    From the hitchhiker's guide:
    For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive -- you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme.
  • the fa is about philips changing its focus to health and lifestyle design-driven products.
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:37AM (#16345733)
    Since the creations by Walt Disney of Space Mountain and EPCOT, progressives have attempted to show us a picture of how technology will affect our future lives. More often than not, these pictures become laughable after 20 years. Not for Royal Philips Electronics, who at their Simplicity Event in London unveiled their picture of the seamlessly technological future
    So on the day of their "unveiling", Philips' "seamlessly technological future" is declared future proof and, unlike those losers at Disney, will never seem kitch and passe. And you're quoting from a carefully researched and unbiased assessment of the project (or was it their marketing speil?).
  • Not so fast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slobber (685169) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:38AM (#16345739)
    "The last decade was the information society, but going forward, health and well-being will be a leading theme and driver of economic growth" says Philips CEO Gerard Kleisterlee.

    Sounds like he is comparing apples to oranges here - information is a tool which can be used very effectively for achieving health and well being. So yes, while one can say that last decade was focused on information, I still see a huge room for improvement going forward - namely we need much better information classification to aid retrieval (for example, we can't search images, audio, or video unless they've been tagged). This, keeping focus on information is and will be essential for a Loooooooong time to come.
  • A loving couple to go to a vending machine for a brand new baby since there's no sex in the future.
  • Pictures (Score:3, Informative)

    by martijnd (148684) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @03:27AM (#16345863)
    How about some pictures? The Business Week article doesn't have any...

    http://www.presslink.nl/philipssimplicity/ [presslink.nl]
  • As long as I can punch griefers in the face and knock their teeth out I'll go for it.
    • by Bwerf (106435)
      Sweet, that kind of technology would allow me to grief at even greater levels.
  • When we look back on predictions we often find them absurd. Where as the ones we think of mediocre and not very awe inspiring, turn out to be the most valid. In such cases those who predicted the future were the ones who were down in there working to make it happen. They knew what was possible or at least what they thought they could make happen. Instead of sitting back and waiving their hand hoping others would make their dreams come true. They thought of the future as a progressive change instead of a rev
    • by joto (134244)

      Instead of sitting back and waiving their hand hoping others would make their dreams come true. They thought of the future as a progressive change instead of a revolution of technology at every turn.

      Well, I have really thought this true, and working to make it happen. Here's my vision of the future:

      • robots (uh, ehm, and fembots!)
      • colonization of the galaxy
      • the singularity
      • teleportation devices
      • free energy
      • a monkey with a typewriter that finally completes the collected works of shakespeare
      • the end of pov
  • Li'l Eva and Adolph's photo album http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/philips_si mplicity/image/share.jpg [businessweek.com] is nice, and who could possibly resist the Ambient Experience Catheterization Lab http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/philips_si mplicity/image/ambi.jpg [businessweek.com]? Nothing here that actually improves life, but it sure could make it look brighter.
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:14AM (#16346481) Homepage Journal

    PEOPLE FOCUS. Consequently, Philips is changing, says Stefano Marzano, CEO and chief creative director for Philips Design, "from a company in which technology called the shots to one in which the focus is firmly on people."


    To some degree this has to be regarded as poppycock. The corporation will never be focused on people, because people are merely instrumental to profit.

    What this means is that the corporation will abstract what it sees as the relevant details of you, then place you in a pigeonhole. Information technology allows many details to be extracted, and the number of pigeonholes to be much larger than the two or three that pre IT era companies had to content themselves with.


    QUASI-HUMANS. Using the insights from its research, the company developed personas--individual composite characters with particular needs and characteristics--to design appropriate solutions. These 14 entities, ranging in age from 5 to 53, illustrated the five key themes behind the event.


    See what I mean?

    The result can be surprisingly good. In just the context of the relationship between the consumer and the company, this is on balance a good thing. The corporation must have a strategy for making a profit, and this requires that they categorize their customers. More categories means better service.

    In the wider context of society, there are dangers in this reductionistic view of humanity.

    It is one thing to devise products that will fit the needs of specific groups of people, but increasingly marketing is focused on creating relationships and knowing individual customers. This involves a kind of surveillance, which is offered by companies like ChoicePoint. But information that may serve well to put you in a company's marketing pigeonholes, particularly when it is purchased by the government for security or other applications that affect you as a citizen. One of ChoicePoint's subsidiaries, DBT, was involved in the disastrous attempt to purge the Florida voting roles of convited felons in the 2000 presidential election. That effort improperly disenfranchised 8,000 voters in an election whose margin of victory was 537 votes.

  • So where is my flying car?

    It's easy to extrapolate present trends (often to their illogical conclusion). Harder to predict disruptive innovations that result in discontinuities.
  • So the future is going to have people waving their hands around to get anything done? Sounds like everyone's going to be an amateur symphony conductor. At least the picture phone didn't make it's appearance again. What I can't figure out is why all these companies is people want the future to be FUN, not easy. If it's easy, it's boring!

    I also can't figure out why there are so many bleepin speakers in that speaker system. I count 8, 4 of which they could be used as engines on a small plane and the other 4

    • Waving your hands and talking to the computers... hmmm... So waving my arms and cursing at the computer would actually accomplish something?

      Neat.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @10:52AM (#16348085) Homepage Journal
    "these pictures become laughable after 20 years. Not for Royal Philips Electronics"

    Right, because of course in the future RPE will have been the first company to predict the actual future, not just today's future. They're just different from all the others, just because.

    Unless they opened this exhibit in 1986, and predicted a future of cellphones ruining movies, Internet porn replacing TV, theocrats destroying science, and no flying cars. Oh, and a 1986-future-2006 with people still believing "* of the Future" exhibits are real predictions, instead of marketing whatever can't be justified to do in the present.
  • Lasers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RealGrouchy (943109)
    Remember when lasers were new (well, I don't, but I've seen the old magazines)?

    Science magazines were all saying "lasers have so many uses and are going to be in every part of our life."

    I think that to a degree, these people were right. There are plenty of informational uses (optical media), medical uses (laser eye surgery), among others.

    But the reality is that day-to-day life hasn't changed, and we don't wake up and use our laser-spoon to eat our laser-ceral in the morning. Look at the average family, and
    • by sowth (748135)

      Look ma, I'm using my lazer spoon to eat my lazer cereal!

      Munch Munch Munch...

      Ow!!! My lazer spoon just cut off my face! Mommy! Mommy!

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