Good Medicine Tastes Bitter - Speculative Design Concept (Weng Xinyu)

Do products always have to satisfy the users? How can products that purposely made not so useful affect our perception and understanding of it? How can designers deliver ideas through products? In this project, I try to create a series of products that are not so useful but have good intentioned messages inside, as to explore the purpose and future of product design.

In my early rhetoric about virtual reality back in the 1980s, I always said that in a virtual world of infinite abundance, only creativity could ever be in short supply – thereby ensuring that creativity would become the most valuable thing. Recall the earlier discussion of Maslow’s hierarchy. Even if a robot that maintains your health will only cost a penny in some advanced future, how will you earn that penny? Manual labor will be unpaid, since cheap robots will do it. In the open culture future, your creativity and expression will also be unpaid, since you would be a volunteer in the army of the long tail. That would leave nothing for you.

Jaron Lanier – You are not a Gadget

The state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations, but must regulate their sleep by another’s, and their walk by another’s pace, and obey orders in those freest of all things, loving and hating. If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.

Seneca – On the Shortness of Life

"Why do you delay," says he, "Why are you idle? Unless you seize the day, it flees." Even though you seize it, it still will flee; therefore you must vie with time’s swiftness in the speed of using it, and, as from a torrent that rushes by and will not always flow, you must drink quickly.

Seneca – On the Shortness of Life

Let’s take money—the original abstract information system for managing human affairs—as an example. It might be tempting to print your own money, or, if you’re the government, to print an excessive amount of it. And yet smart people choose not to do either of these things. It is a common assertion that if you copy a digital music file, you haven’t destroyed the original, so nothing was stolen. The same thing could be said if you hacked into a bank and just added money to your online account. The problem in each case is not that you stole from a specific person but that you undermined the artificial scarcities that allow the economy to function. In the same way, creative expression on the internet will benefit from a social contract that imposes a modest degree of artificial scarcity on information.

Jaron Lanier – You are not a Gadget