- Series: Developer Reference (Book 1)
- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (October 8, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735658064
- ISBN-13: 978-0735658066
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,443,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Future of Looking Back (Developer Reference) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Richard Banks is an interaction designer in the Microsoft Research Socio-Digital Systems group, part of the Computer Mediated Living group in the Microsoft Research Cambridge facility. He works primarily on the design of new user experiences for people’s everyday lives.
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The author extends these discussions in several ways, detailing ways we can record our lives online by contributing to social sites such as Facebook (will Facebook even be around in 50 years?), using a GPS based system to keep track of everywhere we go, another app to keep track of the music we listen to, the movies we watch, another one to record the weather we experience every day. We can now do 3D records and recreations of the people we know, the objects we treasure, what will we come up with next?
But for me the most telling vignette is his telling of looking through 200 photos left by his grandfather in an old suitcase. Those photos told a story of his grandfather that he'd never known. And he contrasts the impact of those 200 photos with the ~ 200,000 photos that he expects to leave behind. It seems that the more we leave behind, the less meaning there is per momento. Maybe we should concentrate on a few well chosen momentos, rather than a hopelessly large collage.
The author's commentary and discussion are based on a mix of personal observations, comments about other people's experiences, references to various digital devices (some implemented and others experimental), and speculation about potential new digital devices. Each chapter ends with a brief "Design challenges" section that poses rhetorical questions to stimulate the reader's thinking about the topics and ideas explored in the chapter. The author does not use footnotes in the text, but provides a References section at the end of the book with citations to references listed for each chapter.
The book is a thoughtful and occasionally evocative exploration of how we reminisce, preserve memories, and transmit and receive personal legacies. It explores serious and deeply personal topics in a manner that is fairly down-to-earth, relatively jargon-free, and readily understandable to readers without any particular level of training or experience with digital technology.
And that is what Richard Banks' The Future of Looking Back is all about.
As the tactile gives way to the digital, the way we experience our past is changing - in some ways for the better, in others for the poorer, but mostly in ways unknown. Banks explores the implications of the digital world for the way we interact with the artefacts of our past. It is an interesting read moving steadily from insight to insight with an easy mix of hard analysis and personal reflections. Written as part of the Microsoft research program, The Future of Looking Back charts some of the design opportunities and challenges the development of the next generation of technologies - as such it will appeal both to those with an interest in designing technology as well as those, like me, who are curious about how technology influences our way of living.
Don't expect any earth-shattering revelations or an exciting journey through a high-tech mythical future. Instead, Banks lays out a plausible and pragmatic vision for technologies that seem in most cases just a matter of years, or perhaps months away. This is a book that won't appeal to everyone, but it is an intelligent and thoughtful exploration of an important subject that has largely escaped attention.