New technologies are paving new paths for design practices: fast developments in robotics integrated in connected devices, and in sensor technology embedded in devices related to our environment and our body; 3D printing that leads to the next industrial revolution by democratizing the role of designers and manufacturers; increasing influence of the internet on people-people, people-product and product-product communication, on our purchasing behaviour, on controlling intelligent systems, etc. We experience all these technology developments in our daily life. For society it seems such a relevant and beneficial issue that a substantial part of our research budgets in industry and academia are spent on technology progress both national and international.
But whatever innovation in technology will follow (and there always will be), the issue is to create meaningful experiences for people. Technology is just a means to an end. It is what we do with the technology that is important. So, do we have control over the wanted and unwanted by-products of technological processes? Are we aware of users’ experiences with technology?
Designers should be at the front end of this technology transition so they can humanize it. In fact, real value comes from putting human values in the centre of designing products, services and environments. The more technology reduces frontiers between materials, the fuzzier the properties become. Traditional materials, such as concrete, steel and glass, are being pushed to rival each other. But whatever innovation in technology will follow, the key issue will be how to create meaningful experiences for users.