In 1963, Dennis Gabor, Nobel laureate for his invention of the holograph, said "The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented" (Gabor, 1963). This statement has become a mantra in recent times, attributed to many who are simply rephrasing Gabor. Alas, the slogan, wonderful though it may sound, is false. The most successful inventions transform the world in ways that are impossible to foresee at the time of the invention. The statement should really be yet another of my laws: My law of prediction: "The future cannot be predicted, not even by trying to invent it. Although inventions can change the future, their long-term impact cannot be predicted." So, invent all you like, just don't try to predict the impact several decades later.
Other Recent Essays
- Seeing the unforeseen follies of autonomous vehicles
- Technology Forces Us To Do Things We're Bad At. Time To Change How Design Is Done
- Design, business models, and human-technology teamwork
- The Challenges of Partially Automated Driving
- The Future of Design: When you come to a fork in the road, take it
- Interview: Is Tesla Racing Recklessly Towards Driverless Cars?
I very much recommend the book. It tells some of the origins of today's design field when designers came from theater and advertising. When they thought big and had lofty ambitions. Szerlip's book makes it clear that Norman Bel Geddes was a brilliant and creative thinker. His $7 million design of GM's Futurama exhibit for the 1939 NY World's Fair ($120 Million in today's money) revolutionized people's thinking about the future. Would I have liked him? Probably not -- but I would have respected him.
Recent recommended readings
- Norman & Stappers (2016). DesignX: Design and complex sociotechnical systems
- Simplicity: A Matter of Design by Per Mollerup
- Positive computing: technology for wellbeing and human potential (Calvo & Peters)
- Turns Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles
- Things That Make Us Smart Available as eBook
- Scenarios of the future: Two histories of the 21st century
Keynote Addresses and Schedule
Contact information, bios, press photos, ...
- Ted Talk: Design and Emotion
- Industrial Design Part of Apple's Success (Voice of America interview, 2016)
- Norman Doors. Posner interview. Vox 2016.
- An Evening With Don Norman (Stanford: 2014)
- Design Research and Innovation
- An eternal record of the evening with Don Norman. (Stanford Business school), 2014.
- November 13-17. Design groups at MIT and Harvard. (Cambridge, MA).
- January 9-12, 2018. CES, Las Vegas.
- August 26-30, 2018. Keynote talk at Internation Ergonomics Association (Florence, Italy)