Essays & Articles


GPT-4: We Are in a Major Technological Change


Yes, there has been much hype over the imagined powers and flaws of the new Large Language Models (e.g., Chat GPT-4), but the recent advances (that is, as of today in April 2023) indicate that there is a major transformation taking place that everyone needs to pay attention to. I call your attention to a brilliant article and an engaging video talk about the major accomplishments.

April 12, 2023

3 minutes read

A video and text summary of Design for a Better World: A talk for McKinsey & Company


I thought that McKinsey did an excellent job of summarizing a video conversation I had with them for anyone interested in a quick overview of my book Design for a Better World.

April 12, 2023

1 minute read

Recycling: A poor solution to the wrong problem: An essay in two parts


A two-part essay: 1. why recycling is too complex for me (and perhaps everyone)to understand; 2. Why recycling is the wrong answer to the problem of waste.

March 10, 2020

15 minutes read

21st Century Design for Societal Problems. Combining Community and Domain Experts


We advocate a multi-step approach toward major societal issues, combining community-driven wisdom with knowledge of domain experts. Add an opportunistic, incremental approach to large problems, followed by continual attention to the fundamental principles of human-centered design.

April 20, 2019

9 minutes read

What Is the Future of Design (in 50 seconds)?


A new talk,"21st Century Design: Addressing Major Societal Issues." I discuss what we in the UC San Diego Design Lab call "Complex Sociotechnical Systems." This "essay" is just the URLs of a 50 second video and the PDF of the slides.

January 26, 2019

1 minute read

You can’t predict the future by inventing it


In 1963, Dennis Gabor, Nobel laureate for his invention of the holograph, said "The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented" (Gabor, 1963). This statement has become a mantra in recent times, attributed to many who are simply rephrasing Gabor. Alas, the slogan, wonderful though it...

September 3, 2017

1 minute read

Technology Forces Us To Do Things We’re Bad At. Time To Change How Design Is Done


Distractibility isn't a human problem; it's a design problem, writes usability expert Don Norman. We need to reverse the normal technological strategy of asking people to fill in for gaps in machine performance. Instead, we should require machines to fill in for gaps in human performance. After a...

January 28, 2017

7 minutes read

Design, business models, and human-technology teamwork


As automation and artificial intelligence technologies develop, we need to think less about the design of human-machine interfaces and more about the design of human-machine teamwork....

January 17, 2017

13 minutes read

The Human Side of Automation


The technological requirements for self-driving cars are extremely complex, and although we are now able to succeed in a very high percentage of the situations, those last few percentages contain the most difficult, the most daunting challenges. As automation gets better and better, then the prob...

December 25, 2014

16 minutes read

Human Error? No, Bad Design


new essay on LinkedIn: . When there are accidents, injuries, and deaths the first reaction is often to claim "human error," blaming the last person to have touched the controls. That is why the problems persist: we punish the innocent and do not remedy the underlying causes...

April 13, 2014

6 minutes read

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