In his Book “Enchanted Objects” David Rose writes about his worst nightmare. A future where the things we surround ourselves are reduced to black rectangles of different sizes that we blindly stare into. Sounds like today doesn’t it?
This information overload, and dealing with it in a safe way, has crated the need for a new generation of interaction designers to sort out the screen based mess. But rest assuredly, this is a transitional period. The enormous amount of information will be reduced by AI, and the need for permanent black rectangles will disappear. Off course you will have your own personal AI to filter out the crap from commercial AI. Only the information needed will be visible and can be placed freely on any surface or shape. This will gave us fantastic opportunities for creating beautiful objects with storytelling qualities, without worrying about fitting in a black rectangle.
Information and the interaction with it will become “intelligent” and customised in real time, to what you need at any given moment. The digital clone that you wear will adjust the car, home, hotel and so on to your need and preferences, perfect for the future of not owning but paying for the service you need, still being able to personalise the product you do not own.
Back at my time at SAAB, the car company famous for its quirky but extremely cool cars, we had a saying that went like this: “The most important instrument in the car is the windscreen.” That was the reason we had a very clever switch, quite “Victorian” by to todays standards, but never the less very clever. It was named Night Panel. When you pressed that switch at nighttime, all the instruments went black and the only lit instrument was the speedometer. Nothing to disturb you from the action happening in front of the car that was now clearly visible through the windscreen. This was the total opposite of the standard of that day and surprisingly often today; to have a lamp shining for everything that works. Ponder that.
An old quote sums it nicely up: A designer knows he has achieved perfection, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.