The Future of Design

Shots of Awe

It used to be that a sign of prosperity, being given more choices & freedom meant the freedom to choose. But what happens when we become victim of our own success? Nowadays, there’re so many signals competing for our attention that it’s been said, if you don’t have ad today, you’re not paying attention.

We’re all kind of suffering through this paralysis of choice, this bandwidth anxiety, this fractured attention span, because we go to the supermarket, and there is just too much to pick from. There’re too many options. We lack the RAM to process all these possibilities. We experience, instead, the angst of FOMO, the angst that no matter what we choose, we are missing out on something else. And so the exhilaration, the prosperity of choice, the prosperity of freedom has become oppressive. It’s become the paralysis of choice. And so what then is the future of design?  What kind of new software platforms and new interfaces between self and the world and what we consume are we going to create that don’t overwhelm us, but that instead induce flow, that reduce friction? The best technology reduces friction, lets you achieve something, and then gets out of the way.

The future of design is anticipatory choice.

It’s this notion that we’re going to offload decisions to algorithms that are going to know us better than we know ourselves. So that when we walk upon the world, options will be afforded to us and offered to us only when it intuitively makes sense. We will never be bombarded by too much. Things will just open up a garden of forking paths. Everything will be engaging and delivered to us at a dosage that we can process. It’ll be like being in the flow, where you’re not really lacking anything, and the right thing is served up to your frontal lobe when useful and needed. But it’ll never be running around a crowded city, overwhelmed by FOMO and dying from inside because of the anxiety.

I actually think that this is going to kind of awesome. I mean, some people are scared, it’s going to create idiocracy, and we’re all going to be numbed into stupors. But I don’t think so. I think we’re all going to be hand delivered universes that extend our imaginations to spaces and places and vitalities we cannot even imagine. I think the games are going to get better. And I think we’re going to offload ourselves into the game. We’re going to live inside of our imaginations, and things will be served up to us as needed, when needed. And it’ll be amazing. We’re all going to be on this amazing hero’s journey, and it’s going to be great. We won’t be weighed down by RAM or stupid decisions. No stupid options to choose from.

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