As a designer, I see the future full of opportunities to be seized. Daily I come across products and services which can be improved, streamlined, or redesigned. Whether it be ATM’s, ticket dispensers, elevators, mobile devices, or even water bottles. As a designer, I can decide which of these opportunities to seize. My interests and skillset lie within the technological domain. Whenever I am presented with a problem, I think of which prototype I can build with which sensors and actuators to solve the problem. I enjoy writing programs and scripts to create a functional prototype.
In a group, I try to be involved in most decisions that are made. Early choices can drastically alter the outcome of a project. I think it is important for every group member to voice their opinions and concerns at the early stages, while later members can make their own decisions for the parts they are responsible for. For instance, it is important for everyone to agree on a target audience of the product. Whereas the person responsible for the LED’s in a prototype has the liberty to make their own choices when it comes to placement, intensity, and coding.
When I work by myself I try to still work in a structured fashion. It is easier to get lost in the weeks without a group to guide you. Detailed planning is vital to the success of a project. As of now, I still struggle to always follow that schedule. There are weeks where I feel less motivated to work which leads to me having to work harder other weeks. I have made steps to improve this by making a detailed Gantt chart for my projects.
Overall, I have always considered myself to be a good designer. I have worked hard from the beginning to work on my flaws. I never shied away from asking for help or advice, which ultimately allowed me to learn from peers. From week 1 I always encouraged my groups to shoot for the stars. I know there is still a lot for me to learn. Using Gantt charts, I aim to improve my work ethic. By moving to a different continent, I aim to become more pro-active. By following a master’s in design, I aim to become a better designer. A designer with the skills and ambition to create products with impact that change the world.
As a person, I see the future full of opportunities. I have a positive outlook on the progress of technology. I do not believe that robots will overthrow humans and wage war against us, nor do I believe that AI will become so advanced that it will replace humans in society. I know that it is in our hands as designers to shape that future and I don’t think that that is a future we will create for ourselves. For each advanced invasive virus created to steal millions of credit cards, even more products are created to improve our lives. This will only continue as more people realize the potential world we can create if we all work together. Many might consider this to be short-sighted, overly optimistic, or even naïve, but if we cannot even believe in a bright future, what picture do we paint for our future?
This future is supported by many new designs and products. I believe in houses which adapt themselves to your comfort. In cars that drive the way, you like them to. In phones and computers that listen to your needs and demands. In short, smart products which truly listen to the user.
This starts with the youngest members of our society. Often technology is criticized around children. “You shouldn’t give a child a phone until they are 13”. “Make your child play outside, instead of behind a computer” are statements I often read online. While I obviously believe children should spend time outside to exercise and spend time with peers, I also believe we should not ignore technologies which aid children in their development. We need to set guidelines as to which technologies can and cannot be used to ensure the safety of the child’s identity and privacy. For instance, using lifelogging technologies on children can provide the parent with valuable data on the kid’s whereabouts and activities, but this sensitive data can fall into the wrong hands or be misinterpreted by the parents. We cannot expect children to bear the same responsibilities as adults. In short, product, devices, and services which improve a child’s quality of life and development are great additions. However, allow kids to be kids.
We achieve these products and developments by looking at which products fix a problem or can make life better. It is our role as designers to design these products and kick-start developments. Together, we can sculpt our own world in this future of opportunities.