Exponential Design

Play the game, don’t watch from the sidelines.

There I was in 2002, sitting in my Design Futures class eagerly awaiting Professor Broadbent’s next lecture. Every week his Yoda-style philosophical discourse opened up my mind to new ideas and helped me understand the potential of Design at a much deeper level.

That week’s lecture would change my life.

It was an introduction to Ray Kurzweil and Exponential Change. I began to delve into Kurzweil’s astounding theories which predicted how radically accelerating developments in technology would disrupt every part of human life.

It set me on a course of experimentation with pioneering technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR), which featured in my final year honours project. In 2004, that earned me equal first place in the Bachelor of Design at UTS, some helpful press coverage, and a lifelong conviction that Designers can directly impact the world around them.

Everything is about to change

Over a decade later, AR & VR have finally hit the mainstream, with Facebook buying Oculus, and major brands like Samsung, Sony & HTC launching big VR products in 2016. While still a novelty for most applications, Kurzweil’s exponential curves guarantee that these early, somewhat clunky, products will soon massively disrupt almost every industry and interaction you can imagine (hopefully in a good way).

We saw how in less than ten years smartphones and apps completely changed the way we interact, learn, have fun, and do business. Brands like Magic Leap, Meta, and Playstation VR will radically accelerate that change especially for education and entertainment. As we collectively unlock the potential of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Sensors, and beyond into Nanotechnology and Genetics, the future looks exciting!

We are living in a very unique period of history, when all of these technologies are still in their absolute infancy. We have an opportunity to embrace, understand, and actively design how these technologies are used. Impressive technology does not mean progress of course, sometimes it can be the opposite, so we have an important role in shaping it for positive impact and meaningful change.

My friendly advice for you dear reader, is not to watch from the sidelines. Whatever your passion is, try exploring how all of this potential can be realised in things you care about. Don’t just leave it to the big corporations: design the future you care about.

How to Get Started

Read Peter Diamondis’ BOLD & Abundance
Read Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near
Watch Jason de Silva’s Shots of Awe
Listen to Dan Sullivan’s Exponential Wisdom
Check out Dubai’s Museum of The Future
Read Steve Case’s The Third Wave