Bruce Sterling Visits OCAD (Why We Have to Find Our Own Modernity)


Photo: nickf

After class today I went to talk with Bruce Sterling, he is definitely a person to watch. I would probably best describe him as a futurist however he stated later in the day that he isn’t. However I would definitely check out his book, Shaping Things.

So in the morning, he discussed among other things, Raisinettes, Eastern Europe and Capitalism. Very engaging guy that seems to have an opinion or knowledge on everything.

What was kind of strange was that although I regard Bruce as being a celebrity, he was so cool and down to earth that is was hard to keep up that illusion in his presence. I had no difficulty asking him his thoughts on where the future of music was. However his response was a little disheartening. His answer was simply that he was worried because he believes that music as we know it will die. Copyright restrictions will hurt music so much that people will stop caring and eventually will rebel in the form of user generated content that is aggregated via something like Flickr. By denying the user’s needs we will natural resort to crowd sourcing to fill the void.

On a bit of a tangent he stated that in the future we will see information warfare, where one country will blatantly disregard their enemies copyrights. Keep in mind he is a Science Fiction writer, but interesting idea.

However this has given me some motivation… I hope!

Also, check out the Day x Day Project over at I’m already on day 14 !!!

Day 14
Here are my notes from Bruce Sterling’s evening lecture…

Writers have audience, designers, futurists have clients
Designers value to companies is to bring information from outside of the box. In this case the value is from not being involved
Dematerialization is in the creation of services, interaction and experiences.
Futurist = Filter
Pew report = sensibility that is just a grinding process not blue sky/ demise

futurists don’t tell the future, their tool and trade is the scenario the alternative possibility of the future.
No single future can exist, the future is alterable subject to change
Scenarios let you demonstrate people’s untapped capacity to change through role playing
“Finding the three” selecting the proper ideas from a brainstorm or filtering out the important changes in environment
ideas develop and derive value from context
After brainstorming, it is key to let them “sleep”
Quadrant is the futurist’s sketch
4 futures to represent multiple directions or tones of futures
tool to engage client
Greed > Fear, Familiar > weird (4 axis points)
Weird the one they never thought of
Each team is assigned to one scenario to compete on making theirs the most real
Sorting out brainstorming ideas into quadrants one or all
People naturally drawn into the cross hairs
The hit is the MAYA, allows the future to meet the needs

Design plus futurism??
futurists insist that designers have sell by date
designers know futurists are old fashioned
design has future, ironically futurism doesn’t
products services are as fragile as we are, temporary and impermanent
We cannot gain insight by studying history and future, we personify time.
people demand an tangible future to make themselves happy and digest it accordingly
we can always think about the future scenarios, however all we have to do is wait
the future can only be predicted in the terms and conditions of todaysustainability is the only model that works
to get there we act and learn over and over
sustainability is dull, posterity and uninteresting un futuristic
sustainability needs to mean the same thing as modernist, without an future looking stance there cannot be a future.
green is mournful, to live is to consumer the most sustainable are those who do don’t live
we see history as a nightmare we are trapped in
we need to use time to our advantage, it is all we can really depend on
we need to leave the future with options and the capacity to make fresh mistake, freeing them from history

1. Make everything monumentally – to make all things last forever. Traps descendants in our time for as long as possible. don’t feasible
2. Make all bio-degradable – junk just disappears. great idea just not feasible right now
3. SPIMES – We digitally catalogue all objects, all our knowledge on the web, actual become the new virtual. a paradigm ship that meshes the dichotomy. Junk is easy to label once we know about it.

Instead of making the decision now leave it to the future when they are able to make a better choice.
Cataloguing objects makes time an industrial asset and resource

The past is the basis for the future
future is history that hasn’t happened yet
find your own modernity

Thanks Bruce!

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