Is the future be necessary technological?
Some say that our generation is actually the one with little breakthrough changes. If compared to the age of industrial revolution, the digital world hasn’t brought us as big transformation as light did. We start to turn back to the beauty of making things again. Making useful things. Multiple on-going trends are already hinting the reemergence of fundamentally low-tech solutions. Tech-addicts are looking for tech pause by unplugging (unplugged trend); we are looking back at the development of technology (internet nostalgia trend); and classic, craft and quality become the buzzwords again.
As we previously pointed out, developing countries have been using low-tech solutions to solve their daily problems in a low budget way. Raw: Pervasive Creativity in Asia by two Ogilvy senior members David Mayo and Kunal Sinha offers a lot of creative examples that demonstrates Asians’ age-old ingenuity. In countries that fancy new tech is not the priority, well-designed necessity should be praised. For example, Swiss-based Vestergaard Frandsen designed LifeStraw, a simple water-filtering device, for developing nations and humanitarian crisis.
We shouldn’t be afraid to solve problems by low-tech method, just because it feel like middle age. Low-tech magazine is a thought leader that reminds us of some forgotten knowledge that can lead us to a sustainable society. What happens if your trustworthy technology companions suddenly become unavailable? We have to live on what has been proved useful and successful to survive. Japanese designer Nosigner started the OLIVE project right after Tohoku Earthquake in 2010. He aims to source DIY tips that can help refugees to survive by using materials that is within reach. Those are knowledge that we feel obsolete because they can be substituted by something more high-tech. But when it comes to survival, that obsolete knowledge becomes the most useful survival kit.
While programmers lead the high tech digital world where we live today, designers should take the role for championing low tech innovation. By reconsidering the world from a low tech angle, we may move to a brand new future.