If you can make an engineer understand why a processor needs to work without a fan, not because of a power need, but because of a social one, then you can make them create devices that fit into our lives better.
Her name is Genevieve Bell and her formal title is Director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel. Translate that to something everyone can understand and you can say she is an anthropologist. She's had two main responsibilities since she started at Intel 13 years ago: the first one is to help the company understand women, and the second is to help the company understand the rest of the world. Her main job as she describes in a recent interview is to look at what motivates people, and in turn understand how they think, so that ultimately Intel can work towards creating better products.
Bell lists ten predictions for the future which are quite interesting:
- The Internet will get more feral
I use the term feral, because the Internet is like the rabbits in Australia. Once they got out they just kept going.
- Next-gen interfaces will become old hat
We all know that if you use a device that isn't touchscreen after using a touchscreen device you end up bashing the screen trying to get it to work. Turns out the touchscreen isn't broken, it's you.
- We will still be social but the way we use the networks will change
The fastest growing group on Facebook right now is 50, 60 and 70-year olds coming online to join that party their children and grandchildren have been talking about. That massively changes the dynamic of Facebook.
- We will "sledge"' each other.
We'e just finished doing a project on sport that basically finds that sport is a great excuse to insult your mates, across multiple formats. Social isn't just about being friendly.
- There will be stubborn artifacts
Television will get rid of radio. The Internet will kill television. Funny then that both are still around.
- We will be bored together
The word boredom doesn't enter the English language until 1852. Why? It's all because boredom wasn't deemed possible until the industrial revolution. Before that you had idle, and boredom and idle are two very different things. It's become impossible to do nothing. We all now feel that we should be doing something.
- We will have a lot of stuff
The management of stuff keeps coming up in our research whether it's looking into people's bags or cars to see what they carry around.
- We will manage our connectivity, we will manage our disconnectivity
India is a really interesting example of this. 850 million mobile phones, but only around 11m of them are connected to the Internet. However most of them have media content on them. When you ask how, it turns out that there is a man in every train station in a booth that will put new stuff on your phone. These people are effectively operating as a 4G network pushing content to the devices.
- We have to maintain the network
All this need to be connected, to avoid boredom, comes with the pressures of supporting the network that we are creating.
- We will develop new anxieties
10 years ago the biggest internet anxiety was privacy, now it's reputation online. What if your smart television can tell Facebook what you are watching on TV?