Spark Debate to Make Change

Posted by FF Team

This is part four of a five-part series on the technological, environmental, and socio-political conditions that shape our lives today and tomorrow.


To paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus: Change is the only constant in the universe. If change is, indeed, inevitable, we believe we must not fear it. Instead, we must embrace it. To effect change, we must question what we know, spark debate with others, and ultimately arrive at a way to do things differently.

We live in an era of remarkable changes. Long held assumptions about how we move, live, shop, etc. are being questioned and often disrupted by rapid developments in technology. Tech is increasingly playing an important role as change agent in our everyday lives. It's this hot-button topic that we wanted to address and spark debate with you, our readers.

In a recent series of social posts, we asked four questions related to how we will be living in the near future and what efforts society must undertake in order to create a cleaner, safer, and better world. Those questions – and your answers – are below. 

Readers had inventive thoughts on how they’d spend their time commuting in a fast-approaching age of autonomous driving.

The clock never stops ticking. Many view the time spent commuting from point A to point B as time wasted. If your commute could be more than the dead time in between, how would you spend it?

“Cinema experience for news, movies, tv-shows, video games or even car's own camera feed.”
“Normal: 1h traffic + 8h @ work + 1h traffic = 10h used.
Autonomous driving: 1h traffic working + 6h @ work + 1h traffic working = 8h used
If we spend 16h awake, those additional 2h gained equates to 12.5% more time to LIVE!”
“I use the commute as time to prep for the day, catch up on and reply to emails, make a task list, those sort of things. Ideally, I’d want to have a seamless transition from the car to the office.”

When it comes to reducing one’s carbon footprint, followers are, evidently, already engaged in a host of efforts. Discussion ranged from the comparative cost of solar and geothermal to the development of new farming conservation practices.

According to the World Bank, the average American contributes 17 metric tons of CO2 each year. Vehicle emissions account for a third of this. What are you doing to help reduce your carbon footprint?

“My home recently got the attic insulated. Lightsources are now 50% LEDs, will be 100% in Q2 -17. Aiming for energy independency.”
“I'm going to build a solar system to recharge my electric car so that my electric car will not end up being a coal powered car. Maybe they will get the graphene super capacitors on the market by then.”
“I own 180 acres in Southern Indiana that is mostly tree-farm, but also has meadows and warm-grass plantings. My parents bought it in 1973 and started the process of converting the poor quality, eroding farm fields into a conservation-based tree farm. I continue this work even today. The conservation process has increased the carbon sequestration rate of this land by a quantum level. Indeed poor farm acreage that was a net carbon contributor has been converted into a large carbon sink, along with a huge increase in the biomass and fertility of the land.”

The promise of an autonomous future has inspired new business ideas and could kindle stronger personal relationships while on the road.

The majority of car accidents are attributed to human error. In fact, texting and driving now beats out drinking and driving as the leading source of teen death. Imagine if you could take your eyes off the road without safety repercussions. What would that autonomous future look like to you?

“Leaving for a trip at 9pm to a new hiking or snowboarding spot and waking up there. With an autonomous vehicle, every road trip can be a "red eye" where you wake up in new places to explore.”
“I think that autonomous automobiles will bring people closer together. Driving during family vacations will no longer be simply a necessity to get to grandmas or a destination, families will be able to play board games together and spend quality time with each other during trips. Spouses with busy lifestyles will be able to spend more time with each other, strengthening marriages and saving families. I think that while autonomous vehicles will have a large impact on the commercial and business world, their greatest gift will be to our personal lives by bringing us closer to those we love and care about.” 

What’s the most effective strategy for a designer: start from scratch, or iterate and improve on existing design? This relatively black and white question sparked nuanced answers that acknowledged the complexities involved in producing advanced design. Intriguingly, user research was often cited as the determining factor in choosing one approach over the other.

Good design provides solutions. Tell us what you would do if you were a designer – create something brand new, or work to make an existing product better?

“Factor in: cost, benefit & time needed to get to market. Need to maximize value for long-term. If feasible, then from scratch.”
“Know your target audience and CCR's! What is important to them and the business? Making a product better is the pursuit of perfection, while new product should focus on innovation. Both are necessary!”
“Basing design on Rams's Ten Principles of ‘Good Design’ is a good tool to decide on weather to make something better or start from scratch.”
“Make better…This situation will force you to think outside of the box.”
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