An interesting point popped up yesterday about TECHNOLOGY and SAVING THE WORLD – and how we’re not really doing it right.
Planned obsolescence is why your iPhone battery goes after two years and you can’t replace it, but have to shell out for a whole new phone – which OMG has a front-facing camera. It’s when companies actually design their products to fail after a certain amount of time so you have to buy a new one. It’s a recognised design principle which most companies abide by.
Planned obsolescence has its supporters – who say it speeds up technological innovation, and its critics – who say it’s wasteful and often results in gimmicky innovations. Michel is a critic.
His point is that commercial design is wasteful and isn’t going to help us in a world of scare resources, so instead he advocated Open Design – at least for some things – the idea of products that we can continually tweak and build upon. It’s the Wikipedia approach to design – and of course it’s going to work better for some things than others.
Does it work as well? could you get a group of people collaboratively making a computer – or a chair – and constantly updating it?
I don’t know – but it reminded me of this: Creativity, Cost-Cutting & Keeping it Simple: what the Developing World can teach us about Technology