Junk, Pretty Junk, and `Other Directed Design’

Jesse S. Tatum
Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA
E-mail: tatumj@rpi.edu

Abstract:
Often touted as a modern marvel, the increasingly rapid pace of technological innovation in our day might alternatively be interpreted as a sign of imminent crisis. The urgent need for attention to `design’ (to use the current term), however, remains. Sustainability, satisfying work, preservation of the rudiments of human community — even concern with a basic sense of meaning and engagement with the world — all present urgent calls for redesign, not just at the level of individual devices, but at the level of systems and interrelated and mutually dependent ensembles of technology. `Other directed design’ will then be in order. Profit and efficiency will not vanish, but they will need to serve rather than lead or dictate.

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