Week 7:

This week was a bit cryptic…

We were joined by Peter McCaughney, who described himself as a ‘collaborative thinker’ an ‘Ideas man’. If I’m really honest his talk was a bit too up in the air and disorganised for my liking, it all seemed a bit haphazard and thrown together- but I think that’s just his style.

Over the hour and a half we covered quite a varied range of topics. Peter talked about designers and Artists he thought we should know about, he talked about designing without self-censorship, giving every idea a chance. He talked about his son and his ‘invisible computer’, he talked about chess and the ‘as if’ principle, where you talk about and expand on your ideas as though they already exist. He talked about a risk assessment method he uses called, ‘playful dystopia’, where he talks about his ideas not only as though they already exist but also in terms of what could go wrong, what would the absolute worst case scenario be? I have to say this method I enjoyed and plan to use, it sounded quite fun.

He also talked a lot about the future. What would our futures would hold? He wanted to know where we wanted to be in the next 10 years, and what we thought might have happened in the world by then, how we thought technology might have changed and advanced.

As far as my own future goes I would like to be working in stage and theatre design. I have always loved the stage and performance and I think that people react and respond to theatre in a completely different way to how they react to any other form of communication. I also think theatre and stage design is really exciting, it’s more about creating an atmosphere or representing something than producing a realistic backdrop,the way it is film. I also think there are so many new things that can be done, and unlike in film it can’t all be done with computers. In theatre digital elements are used to enhance the set, not to replace it.

In terms of the worlds future, Peter talked about new planets, specifically the newly discovered ‘Trappist -1 System’, driver less cars, artificial intelligence, automation and the concept of UBI (Universal Basic Income), to name just a few.

Although I do find these things interesting, I’ve always been slightly exasperated with mans vision of the future, and believe a lot of it to be a form of escapism. New planets for example, I don’t foresee us ever moving to other planets, nor do I think we should- we like to think that we could set up a society on another planet and learn from all the mistakes we made on the last one- we also like to assume that there will be nothing else there, that it will be land for the taking and to hell with any natives.

As for driver less cars and artificial intelligence- why have these become our priorities in technological advancement? What need to they really fulfill and what purpose do they really serve? Do we actually really want them or do we just want to be able say that we have  achieved it?

Finally, we talked for quite some time about the future of automation and the impact it might have. I don’t think we have to look very far to see the negative impact automation of have as it removes far more jobs than it creates, the question for the future becomes where do we stop? At what point to we realise that maybe we can go too far and that the pay off doesn’t always outweigh the consequence.

All in all this weeks lecture was very interesting, if a little overwhelming. It was definitely the kind of talk that required reflection to make sense of everything that was said and to wade through the sheer volume of information.


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