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In the bubble - John Thackara

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Title
In the bubble - designing in a complex world
Author
John Thackara
format
Hardback
Publisher
The MIT Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20050504

We're filling up the world with technology and devices, but we've lost
sight of an important question: What is this stuff for? What value does it add to
our lives? So asks author John Thackara in his new book, In the Bubble:
Designing for a Complex World
. These are tough questions for the pushers
of technology to answer. Our economic system is centered on technology, so it would
be no small matter if "tech" ceased to be an end-in-itself in our daily lives.
Technology is not going to go away, but the time to discuss the end it will serve is
before we deploy it, not after. We need to ask what purpose will be served by the
broadband communications, smart materials, wearable computing, and connected
appliances that we're unleashing upon the world. We need to ask what impact all this
stuff will have on our daily lives. Who will look after it, and
how?

In the Bubble is about a world based less
on stuff and more on people. Thackara describes a transformation that is taking
place now -- not in a remote science fiction future; it's not about, as he puts it,
"the schlock of the new" but about radical innovation already emerging in daily
life. We are regaining respect for what people can do that technology can't.
In the Bubble describes services designed to help people carry
out daily activities in new ways. Many of these services involve technology --
ranging from body implants to wide-bodied jets. But objects and systems play a
supporting role in a people-centered world. The design focus is on services, not
things. And new principles -- above all, lightness -- inform the way these services
are designed and used. At the heart of In the Bubble is a belief,
informed by a wealth of real-world examples, that ethics and responsibility can
inform design decisions without impeding social and technical innovation.

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John Thackara, described as a "design guru, critic and business provocateur" by
Fast Company, is the Director of Doors of Perception, a design
futures network based in Amsterdam and Bangalore. He is the author of
Design after Modernism, Lost in Space: A Traveler's
Tale
, Winners! How Successful Companies Innovate by
Design
, and other books. Since 2002, he has authored the Doors of
Perception blog and newsletter (http://www.doorsofperception.com/).

In the Bubble is often delightful, stimulating, and
surprising. Thackara may well emerge as a visionary voice for the wired era. For
planners, designers, and anyone with an interest in the future, this book is a rich
resource of inspiration, ideas, and guiding principles as well as sharply observed
cautionary tales. It suggests that what the tech revolution most needs, and may
already be moving toward, is a sense of purpose.


San Francisco Chronicle - Bill S. Kowinski

Thackara has built an intricate and compelling case for the continuing
impact of local action in a networked world...I hope he's right.


I.D. Magazine

An excellent new book...so push aside that colorful pile of photo-packed
publications and pick up In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex
World
, in whose pages 'design' is understood to be more about process than
product, more about systems and services than about surfaces and packages, more
about work to do than things to buy.


ArtsJournal.com

Thackara leaps nimbly from statistics to observations to anecdotes, from
past to present to future, from energy to the environment, from the Burning Man
Festival in Arizona to the Bombay Lunch Delivery program.


Architectural Record

If you've ever found yourself saying, 'bad TiVO,' design critic John
Thackara is talking to you.


Fast Company

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Engineering design.|Design, Industrial.
Country of Publication
Massachusetts
Number of Pages
336

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