Abstract

Current notions of design are strongly influenced by user- and human-centred approaches. However, with technologies that present increasing computing power and context-awareness, and algorithms that ‘design themselves’, designers are beginning to face issues that go beyond the needs of users. In this paper, we argue that the focus on humans not only neglects the increasing potential of machines, but also other forms of life, limiting design’s possibilities. We attempt to investigate the design of machines with autonomy, beyond human-centred and anthropocentric views, and present an alternative approach, in which machines do not serve or command humans, but exist and evolve in parallel with them. We present this exploration through three design concepts (Gatekeeper on the Mission, Perception Companion, and Poet on the Shore) that seek to explore notions of independence, interdependence, and identification between humans and machines. We conclude by discussing the main challenges faced in these three perspectives and future directions for research.

Keywords:

autonomy; machines; solidarity; design provocation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Designing Machines with Autonomy: from independence to interdependence to solidarity

Current notions of design are strongly influenced by user- and human-centred approaches. However, with technologies that present increasing computing power and context-awareness, and algorithms that ‘design themselves’, designers are beginning to face issues that go beyond the needs of users. In this paper, we argue that the focus on humans not only neglects the increasing potential of machines, but also other forms of life, limiting design’s possibilities. We attempt to investigate the design of machines with autonomy, beyond human-centred and anthropocentric views, and present an alternative approach, in which machines do not serve or command humans, but exist and evolve in parallel with them. We present this exploration through three design concepts (Gatekeeper on the Mission, Perception Companion, and Poet on the Shore) that seek to explore notions of independence, interdependence, and identification between humans and machines. We conclude by discussing the main challenges faced in these three perspectives and future directions for research.

 

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