In the Bubble by John Thackara
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In the Bubble
By John Thackara

In the Bubble

Designing in a Complex World

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Format: Hardback

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In the Bubble by John Thackara

Book Description

We're filling up the world with technology and devices, but we've lost sight of an important question: What is this stuff for? What value does it add to our lives? So asks author John Thackara in his new book, In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World. These are tough questions for the pushers of technology to answer. Our economic system is centered on technology, so it would be no small matter if "tech" ceased to be an end-in-itself in our daily lives. Technology is not going to go away, but the time to discuss the end it will serve is before we deploy it, not after. We need to ask what purpose will be served by the broadband communications, smart materials, wearable computing, and connected appliances that we're unleashing upon the world. We need to ask what impact all this stuff will have on our daily lives. Who will look after it, and how? In the Bubble is about a world based less on stuff and more on people. Thackara describes a transformation that is taking place now -- not in a remote science fiction future; it's not about, as he puts it, "the schlock of the new" but about radical innovation already emerging in daily life. We are regaining respect for what people can do that technology can't. In the Bubble describes services designed to help people carry out daily activities in new ways. Many of these services involve technology -- ranging from body implants to wide-bodied jets. But objects and systems play a supporting role in a people-centered world. The design focus is on services, not things. And new principles -- above all, lightness -- inform the way these services are designed and used. At the heart of In the Bubble is a belief, informed by a wealth of real-world examples, that ethics and responsibility can inform design decisions without impeding social and technical innovation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780262201575
ISBN-10: 0262201577
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 4-May-2005
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author John Thackara

How to Thrive in the Next Economy by John Thackara How to Thrive in the Next Economy, Paperback (February 2017)

Is there no escape from an economy that devours nature in the name of endless growth? The author's answer is a rousing 'yes, there is.' Drawing on a lifetime of travel in search of real-world alternatives that work, he describes how communities the world over are creating a replacement economy from the ground up.

In the Bubble by John Thackara In the Bubble, Paperback (March 2006)

How to design a world in which we rely less on stuff, and more on people.

» View all books by John Thackara


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Author Biography - John Thackara

John Thackara, described as a "design guru, critic and business provocateur" by Fast Company, is the Director of Doors of Perception, a design futures network based in Amsterdam and Bangalore. He is the author of Design after Modernism, Lost in Space: A Traveler's Tale, Winners! How Successful Companies Innovate by Design, and other books. Since 2002, he has authored the Doors of Perception blog and newsletter (

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How to Thrive in the Next Economy by John Thackara
How to Thrive in the Next Economy by John Thackara
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