We are entering a time when automated, robotic products are becoming a day-to-day reality. The combination of affordable sensors, advances in robotics, and home network availability has enabled a new type of sophisticated smart object to enter our world in almost every aspect of daily life such as cooking, cleaning, entertainment, transportation, security and hygiene, to name a few. In this talk, product designer Carla Diana will provide a lively overview of the landscape of smart objects that exist today along with an exploration of the potential for new objects to be designed for the near future. She will discuss how holistic design methods using light, sound and motion can be used to build engaging product experiences that fully embrace the rich relationships among people, objects, and information. This talk will highlight ways to envision product experiences, followed by a discussion of design methodologies that can be used to explore and quickly iterate through ideas that arrive at human-centered concepts built around a specific product behaviors.
Over the next two decades, connected products will demand an unprecedented amount of user trust. Technologists and designers will ask the public for yet more of their attention, more of their data, more of their lives. AIs will know users’ deepest secrets. Co-operating devices will automate security and safety. Autonomous vehicles will even make life-or-death decisions for passengers. But ours is an industry still unwilling to grapple with the ethical, social, and political angles of this future. We mistakenly believe that technology is neutral; that mere objects cannot have moral relevance. And so we make embarrassing blunders—racist chatbots, manipulative research, privacy violations—that undermine trust and harm those we should help. This is a dangerous trajectory. We urgently need a deeper ethical dialogue about emerging technology, and interaction design’s role within it.