“WE NEED TO FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY THAT HELPS US GROW AS INDIVIDUALS”

By Vanessa Julia Carpenter

The future of the internet is everchanging. Interactive smart products are finding their way to our homes, so how can technology help us grow as individuals? Vanessa J. Carpenter joined the Big Ideas stage for a talk about how technology can help us better humanity. Relive the Hard Talk ‘The Internet of Meaning‘ or read this extract from the IWDK21 Festival Magazine below.

By Vanessa Julia Carpenter PhD, Founder & Interaction Design Researcher at Kintsugi Design / www.kintsugi-design.com

Do you own a smart water bottle? Probably not. Yet, there are over 20 different models of smart or connected water bottles on the market. Don’t we want to track how much we’ve had to drink, considering that dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and more? We do. But not enough to have yet another silicon-encased smart thing which paternally tells us what to do. Our world is becoming smarter: track your steps, your food, your sleep, your period, your screen time, your teeth brushing. In an increasingly hectic world, it’s hard to keep track of everything in our lives. Things like period and sleep tracking are incredibly. important, but do we need connected convenience objects – smart socks, hairdryers, coffee cups that tell you if your coffee has gone cold? My answer is no.

What we need is to put people first in this new digital age. We need to focus on what my company, Kintsugi Design, calls “Designing for Meaningfulness”. It’s a methodology I developed during my PhD, which focused on “Designing for Meaningfulness in Future Smart Products”. I believe that we need to focus on technology that helps us to grow as individuals. Technology that helps us to be more empathic, to focus on our sense of purpose, significance and fulfilment in life. Technology that helps us to evolve in our relationships, and helps us to consider both ourselves and our relationships over time – Who have I been? Who am I now? Who do I want to become? I hope that by shifting from creating convenience-based gadgets and apps to creating technologies that help us evolve as human beings, we can begin to focus on people, and how to create a better world with impactful products and services whose aim is to better humanity.

During IWDK Kintsugi Design also hosted THE FUTURE OF SMART PRODUCTS – MEANINGFUL TECH AND PURPOSE IN LIFE