–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Following up on Honda’s Mobility 2088

So in case you missed it, I referenced rather quickly in my exuberance a video that Honda put together as part of their series of short videos that asks a host of “smart people” to consider what Mobility will look like in 2088. Here’s the video for your reminder:

So the last 2 days, I’ve presented this video to my classes here at SCAD. Most of the students really liked the video, but upon further watching we were able to dissect the insidiousness of the video’s message and the classic design mistake that is being presented.

They start out by projecting an environment of “the impossible”. Nameless supposedly smart people dumbfounded at the thought of having to design so far in the future. (Me too!!!) Then we have the radical architectural sustainability neo-urbanist come in and express his at first definitive answer that we should concentrate on natural bi-pedal locomotion. (That’s good b/c breakeation [sp?] hurts my shoulders).

After that lipservice to the possibilities of moving backwards, they allow us through the speakers to express our imagination for science fiction. Flying cars and jet packs are explored almost as thinly as the foot (What happen to the bike, horse, or other retro-activity?)

After that we explore the horrors of the internal combustion engine and the environment for which we live in. All of which is quite poignant and the Japanese design lead for the “Impact” really gets the heart string pulling award with his allusion to his grandson not being able to see a blue sky. Then we give a little lip service to the design of cities and habitation being made for cars.

Some how though we end up back talking about cars as a “final solution”. That mobility in 2088 will still be framed as the creation of cars, and this is where I lost it.

Steve Baty in his really long comment to the original post points out quite clearly (and I came to the similar conclusion in parallel) that the problems we are facing with transportation are not solved purely at the form factor and energy source, but at the cultural level as well.

For me it goes even a step further. It is a basic design flaw being presented. They are presenting the problem of how to design the next car (or mode of transportation), instead of presenting the problem of how to help people be in proximity to the people’s and places they require/want/desire? It is that classic design statement, “Don’t design a bridge. Design a way to cross the river.”

So my thoughts have been inspired less around cars and more about the power of virtual if not holographic work environments that exist in the home, so that you can interrelate with co-workers and have direct access to true human interactions without ever getting into a car. Of course, the thought did just occur to me that the amount of energy to do such an experience might be quite a bit. At least it has no output of carbon, just input. As an example of holographic technologies, check this out:

And with that I close these thoughts.

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