while being a frequent reader of IxDA emails this is the first topic I'd like to discuss in this list.
Just a few words about myself: I am a german postgrad student currently attending a 2-year Master course in Interaction Design in Germany. With a background in Urban Planning / Urban Design I am driving myself into fields of interactive products which I find both challenging and exciting.
During the last weeks I have thought a lot about the question of what it actually needs to anticipate trends in technology and society. We have read some texts (Vannevar Bush, John Maeda, Don Norman) in the history&culture-course and I think this is basically the final question which emerged during this time. I have started to write an essay and at this point I am looking for some more inspiration as well as meanwhile I am really caught in this issue and would like to share thoughts. ;)
I think this question is really interesting for designers as we can play a main role. I think about this topic in terms of the idea of user experience design, means: people can only anticipate technology they understand. On the other hand I think it requires a certain openness of people to experience technology instead of being afraid. Which is, of course also connected with design. What I want to design are friendly products which will be understand by the user and which don't patronize people. So I'd like to add this point to my assumption: people can only understand technology they understand and are not afraid of but like to use.
How do you think about this question? Do you probably see it in a different light than I do? Why do Japanese people seem to are more open to experience new technology than the rest of the world? I have thought about where the actual reason is but I don't really have a good answer.
Maybe you'll like to join the discussion and add some of your own thoughts, examples, experiences, sources :)