Are technologists trying to solve the wrong problem?

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Session Name: Confessions of a Reformed Technologist
Chris Albrecht
Video, EffectiveUI
Anthony Franco

Chris Albrecht
That’ll get you every time. Inspired by that, I’m going to launch my own Indiegogo Campaign to get a coffee book made of Katie and Om’s Instagram feeds. So that’s just 500 pages of cloud pictures and Tesla Model S. We’re going to have our next speaker, he’s going to be out in just a minute. We’re going to run a brief video. He’s Anthony Franco, Co-Founder and President of EffectiveUI. He’s going to talk about “Confessions of a Reformed Technologist.”
Video, EffectiveUI
Right now, there is a virtually invisible network which links together millions of people who would otherwise be completely isolated from each other. This exciting technology has grown to become an incredibly complex web of connections that is so large and difficult to track, that it would be practically impossible to estimate its total size. Even though, most of us live alone in urban isolation, this system represents one of the few ways all of our lives are intertwined. This system is “Modern Plumbing.”
Anthony Franco
Technologists have always pushed the boundaries of gathering and distributing information. Early in our history, we shared stories, fables and myths to distribute our values, lessons and historical context. We invented paper to record history and the printing press gave us the ability to distribute the information to more than just an anointed few. We declared ink mightier than the sword, so we endeavored to create faster ways of distributing the words we wrote. Napoleon semaphores, Morse’s telegraph, Bell’s telephone and Licklider’s “Intergalactic Computer Network” were all inventions designed in the race to deliver faster, ubiquitous and affordable information. Simultaneously, inventors sought to enhance human capabilities through mechanization. Jacquard’s mechanical loom, Hollerith’s tabulating machine, Turing’s Turing machine and the infamous 1946 ENIAC were all innovations designed in the race to automate human capabilities.
Anthony Franco
The arguably inevitable advances in telecommunications, storage, computing power and binary abstraction gave us the ability to commoditize delivery, infrastructure, platforms and software. It’s a pretentious monument of fiber, silicon and code. I believe the industry is only sought to solve problems as engineers and not as an empathetic human beings. We must lose our techno-file bigotry before we become relegated to the ranks of tech support. I believe our industry must abandon its desire to mechanize people by relegating them as users. We’re now faced with innovating a new era for humanity. An era where the human condition will be transformed by the technology we design. We’ve created an infrastructure for rapidly deploying advanced, scalable, complex systems, but our legacy will be written by the interfaces we create. The problem with this conference, the problem with our industry is, we don’t know how to do this. We’re still novices at this and it’s a problem for us as an agency. We can’t find talent.
Anthony Franco
We’re struggling to find ways of designing technology and integrating technology that cares about people. We decided to join forces and to create a community – an open-source community – called the “Design for Experience Community” – we’re partnering with that firm called “UX Magazine.” We’re hoping a lot more people will partner with us to help standardize and it’s a very funky term for our industry, but help create the framework by which practitioners can grow and educate and measure themselves. You can go to and sign up there. My email address will be shown at the end of this presentation, if you want to email me directly on this. With that, I’m going to live you with a couple more of those stats. We conducted a survey with Harris Interactive top understand more deeply how people interact with and understand technology. I’ll live you with a few more of those stats. Thank you.
Chris Albrecht
All right. Thank you. We’re going to bring Om back.