2.4 Reflection & Awareness
The student can critique a design artifact.

2.4 Reflection & Awareness

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For this indicator I will be referring to the time capsule ethics project, critiquing a few artefacts we came across. Here I chose 6 artefacts and wrote 12 lessons that I would send back in time, to 1994, had I had access to a time machine. The first artefact I’d like to talk about is the Butterfly Ballot.

The Butterfly Ballot was a piece of paper that was designed by Theresa Lepor for the Florida Palm Beach County Presidential Elections. Due to a confusing design and the odd alignment of the punch holes and candidates name, the design lead around 4 thousand people voting unintentionally for a different candidate which they initially wanted. To me, this shows how impactful a designers role can be in the day to day lives of ordinary people and in the course of history. The lesson that I learnt here was that although you think you are doing the right thing, to help certain individuals (in this case the elderly and poorly sighted people), you are actually making the problem worse. Due to the design of this ballot instead of people voting for their chosen candidate Algore, they instead voted for Patrick Buchanan who was a candidate opposed to most of societies beliefs. This caused an incredibly tight political battle between Algore and George W. Bush, finally working towards Bush’s favour causing the outcome to tip to George W Bush’s favour resulting in him becoming the 43rd president of the USA and leading to his political decisions in the following years which made history.

"Her" is the second artefact I wish to critique, which is another take on the future technology that the world envisions. During the 1900s and 2000s, the future was often painted as a cold, bleak and almost dystopian setting, films such as Minority Report or Blade Runner, having a harsh setting are examples of my claim. "Her" is a fantastic example of how technology does not need to be intrusive, and instead of taking over our lives, it can help support everyday tasks quietly and unobtrusively. In my essay, I made a claim that “Design and technology often flow on the footsteps of science fiction. I believe that by sending this film back to 1994, designers and engineers alike can be inspired by another type of future design, calm design. The future doesn’t have to consist entirely of green UIs, flashing lights, and deadly robots”. Design follows trends, technology and forms a natural progression of inspiration and culture. I believe Her’s world to be a great example of how we can peacefully coexist with technology in an uncertain future while humans are allowed and free to do what humans do best, be creative, imaginative, poetic and artistic. To add more to my critique of "Her", I can say that technology follows our imagination, hopes and dreams which are often portrayed in our artefacts using design. So "Her" gives designers and scientists goals and a vision that can redirect the future of technology towards a calmer and quieter world rather than our previous 1900s idea of an intrusive future.