Designing for the Unknown

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being invited as a keynote to the #SIME2019 event in Stockholm. 

SIME is a remarkable event that maps the evolution of the digital transformation. The level of speakers is very high and diverse. 

The event was enriching and inspiring. I came away with a hitch, though.

Still too little questioning about the Why. Still too much concern in keeping the speed. Still too much trust in existing trends and directions. Still falling for the magic charms of tech. Like primitive men looking incredulous at the magic of the shaman. 

Being positive and pushing forwards are attitudes that I deeply admire. The melancholia of the intellectual that is waiting for the apocalypse is an attitude that makes me smile and feel pity. But what about a healthy in-between? Is it age that is pushing me towards the Horatian middle ground and making me see it golden? 

Blind faith in tech, or what Haraway has brilliantly called the “comic faith in techno-fixes” should be crumbling by now, or? Also in positivistic entrepreneurial environments. Or? Big eyes looking at me when I clamoured on the stage that we should get it over with thinking that tech is neutral. OMG, what did I say to have some people looking at me like this!?

And we should get it over with, even if who claims it, comes from MIT (maybe especially if he comes from MIT).

Well, I think the moral of the story for me is that it is a good sign that I still get surprised at people’s reactions to the point that it makes me question what I do and, especially, how I communicate it. It is a bad sign that talking about ethics and questioning is not part of the ongoing game and the ones that do item should really be careful that these notions are not emptied from their intrinsic depth and uncomfortable nature to be transformed and packaged in digestible commercial assets. Ethics in tech is not about guidelines. It is note about rulebooks. It is about the ability and the habit to question. AND TO PROPOSE INSTANCES possible futures. It is about the response-ability. 

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