Searching for Boundaries (was Intelligence and Awareness (was Signal Orange))

22 Jun 2004 - 4:13pm
551 reads
H Taylor
2004

Dan wrote:

> Intelligence and awareness are interesting places to draw
> distinctions, I'll
> grant you that, Dave. But they do have their own problems. What is
> intelligence? Or awareness? How do we measure them in products? Is a
> light
> switch waiting for a human to flick it an example of interaction
> design? Or,
> if variety is added into the mix, a thermostat? And if we talk about
> designing systems, how do we define intelligence and awareness in
> those? A
> level of complexity?
>
> We're getting into a weird area here that's probably pretty academic...

Maybe, but I think some of the recent discussions can be addressed much
more simply than by attempting to tackle issues like machine
intelligence and awareness:

The t-shirt is *not* interaction design, because that which is designed
(the t-shirt itself) does not interact with anyone; that is, no one
gives it any sort of input, and its state does not change.

I can definitely imagine possible thermostats and even light switches
that could qualify as interaction design, in my opinion (and Dave, I
would generally be careful about passing things off as industrial
design, since industrial design in current practice most certainly
crosses over into interaction design)

Aside from some of Dan's examples above, the closest I can imagine to a
"border" case would be something like the display of train/track/time
information at a railroad station. Here, those "using" the system do
not interact in the sense that they cannot influence the system in any
way, but "passively" receive information from it (note that I am
considering only the public display of information, not the
behind-the-scenes activity of entering train info into the system).
Perhaps this could be considered only information design, but since the
state of the system *does* change, *perhaps* it *could* also be
considered interaction design.

I'm not sure that I would consider the train scenario interaction
design either (again, assuming the same limit of scope), but I'd feel
like the debate would at least be closer to a real boundary than the
t-shirt case.

Just my 2 bits.

- Hal Taylor

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