Back to the Future

I wonder if the phenomenal pace of technology has shortened our horizons. The entire process of concept, development and implementation of new ideas happens in the blink of an eye. So the future is always now.

With that in mind I chuckled when I came across the GM truck of the future. The 50s were a period of incredible optimism. But the technology was hampered by the availability of materials and the science to understand their application. Making sure that the seemingly infinite demand for washing machines and refrigerators was filled meant volume was the order of the day. Modern marketing arose to convince consumers that cosmetic changes were sufficient reason to choose between one brand and another or to replace a product with many years of life left. The idea of keeping up with the Joneses was born.

Those rules don't apply any more. Great design is expected but it can't conceal a lack of utility. Likewise high degrees of utility with a dissatisfying user experience is a recipe for failure.

The past was a simpler place.


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