Arts and Architecture

What is the future of art, technology and design?
Answered by Ralph Osterhout, John Maeda and 1 other
  • Ralph Osterhout

    Ralph Osterhout

  • John Maeda

    John Maeda

  • David Kelley

    David Kelley

  1. Ralph Osterhout Serial Productizer of Technology


    You know, that's an interesting question. I would say this: the obvious thing is I really think just as you see the smart phones are totally dominating. If you went back 2 years ago consumer gaming, get a fast laptop or desktop system and go pedal the medal and have it water cooled with big blowers and an – oh boy. But the fact of the matter is we're gonna be at 30 gigahertz, massively parallel processing in devices that weigh ounces within a matter of five years. I think you're gonna see just as World of Warcraft that has 13 million people paying 15 bucks a month supply massively parallel multi-user gaming at home on these fast machines, they're gonna do that walking down the street.

    Imagine you're out shopping and literally suddenly a monster or gargoyle is gonna – your wife is with you, she's looking at a Prada purse in the window and you've got a gargoyle jumping out through a steam grating that's attacking you and you've got seconds with a tiny controller in your pocket to engage the threat in your glasses that no one knows they're there but you. And you've got 3-D surround sound so you can hear threats all around you. Or you're playing a combat first-person shooter game, and you hear helicopters coming in and air bursts, and mortar rounds dropping around you and you are in the middle of an imaginary battle that no one sees but you.

    So, what I think is gonna happen is gaming is going to be with a person 24/7. I think the notion of augmented reality right now which has phenomenal promise and is premature because we don't have vehicle to really deliver it properly. I think what will be absolutely exciting is what augmented reality is going to deliver to our lives. I think it will be transformative. For example, we still see billboards everywhere. And billboards are really primitive if you think about it because they're sort of a one trick wonder. You put an image up there and you may or may not captivate people and then that's it.

    But what if, as an example, you're walking down the street and you simply say in the course of a conversation, "God, I'd love to have a Starbucks right now," and bang the map comes up in your glasses and shows you how far away, based on your current walking speed, exactly where you have to go to Starbucks and as you round the corner there's a giant cafe au lait coming up as a rotating cup of coffee right up over Starbucks that you can see from a hundred yards away and it looks like the cup is a hundred feet high.

    You may have cameras – we have more and more cameras for the protection of people for events and it sees a police car coming nearby, and in the police's glasses, up pops a giant, rotating doughnut over a doughnut shop. You may find that you've got a young man and woman who're working downtown in New York, or Washington, or L.A., and they both pass through the same area at different times during the day. And so, what happens is, he walks down the sidewalk, and he gets to that corner that he knows she'll pass by, he looks at the corner, and writes a message or with his fingers draws "I love you" and a big heart with an arrow through it. And signs it with his name in the air.

    No one knows what he's doing, and now, he can also put up there an emoticon or a tiny little vignette, a fun video that are stored in his glasses. Now, when she comes by later, as she approaches that point, she gets an alert in her glasses, and she looks at that place on the wall where there's nothing that anybody else can see but then, when she gets the love message and leaves one for him.

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  2. John Maeda President, Rhode Island School of Design


    I see it hard to fuse those together because the educational strands are all separate. Once in a while you find the mutation in a system, the occurrence of the person that can bounce around those areas. I felt very lucky that I was one of the firstish persons, but I was also one of the ones that realized I wasn't the bestish person. I was like, oh, these guys are a lot better than me, so time to stop. But there are very few out there and I don't see the numbers growing at a radical rate because education doesn't support this kind of – to David Kelley's whole point of the T-shaped person. The depth that academia brings, the breadth that the world demands. It's hard to produce that kind of plant in the factories of knowledge creation, so the fusion will be delayed.

    I would say for the sake of the world economies now, fusion is absolutely vital. Look at what happened in the 1920s, '30s, the Bauhaus era, where factories made all these terribly constructed, wrought, poorly designed things. Design entered the full fray to humanize these mechanistic objects and made them human. Made them desirable, usable, relevant. I think that unless we have that moment where all this mess around us, that buzzing world of the computer and the possibility clicks maybe and sometimes Apple clicks, sometimes Microsoft clicks.

    That will only happen if we have people, leaders. If we have leaders that can speak in this language of fusion who can foster people in organizations to carry it forward, to create variation in solutions which we don't have right now beyond copycat boxes. Everything is an iPod now. Different color. Then we're just gonna be kind of stuck in this state of, well, what's coming next? We just -- version 1, version 1.01, 1.02, 2, 3, 4. Let's renumber them, so it sounds fresh again. Version 1, 2, 3.

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  3. David Kelley Founder and Chairman of IDEO & Founder of Stanford


    Well, I think design out there is measuring its impact. What my goal is, is to move from us coming up with ideas to actually rubber-meets-the-road stuff. We have a bias towards action in the design profession, and hopefully you'll start to see that there's real results -- that other people can sign up to it as a new mindset for them that'll help them actually have impact in their areas.

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