Friday, 17 April 2009

Humanity Confuses the Crap out of Me

Problem: We have a throwaway culture

Solution: "James Pierce at Indiana University in Bloomington is designing ways for objects to periodically make their presence felt, forcing us to "reflect" on them more often. He believes that this will increase our sense of attachment to our possessions, helping to end our unsustainable habit of constantly buying new things and dumping the old.
Such attention-seeking objects will "discourage thoughtless consumption of things", Pierce claims. He presented his ideas last week at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Boston."

New Problem: To get these devices, consumers would have to dispose of the devices they already own, which is the problem we're trying to solve. If people have the discipline to only replace devices that are beyond repair, then we don't have a problem.

Secondary Problem: The novelty of attention seeking objects quickly turns to annoyance, causing the consumer to pitch them even sooner out of frustration.

In short, Making the egg shiny doesn't make the chicken smarter.


Sir Francis said...

I'm quite curious about how he expects to force these objects "to periodically make their presence felt". Does he envision toothpaste tubes with beepers on them?

You're right of course: such commodities would probably be pitched earlier than conventional ones. The only time we want our possessions to "make themselves felt" is when we're using them. We want our things to be useful tools, not existential partners.

I think Pierce needs to bone up on his Heidegger.

Catelli said...

His exampled included devices that would spontaneously malfunction as a joke on the owner. (A clock that shows the wrong time, and then flashes sorry.). If a device did that to me, it would soon learn how it feels to be a football.

Heide-who? Wasn't that a movie about an 8 year girl and her crusty old grand pa?

That is where you will always have me at a loss, Sir Francis. My philisophical background is limited to pithy sayings imprinted on beer glasses and cardboard coasters.