17 December 2006

The home is not about efficiency or technology

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Intel's Genevieve Bell observing in a French kitchen
Genevieve Bell, a highly respected anthropologist and director of user experience at Intel, writes in the latest issue of Fast Company about the fallacy of trying to make the home more rational:

“The challenge for technology companies isn’t to see the home as another place where we can rationalise production.”

“The digital home is never going to be about technology–it’s about the people who live there. We have slow-moving cultural paradigms, and ‘home’ means something in our imaginations. In England and America, you say, ‘My home is my castle.’ In India, people talk metaphorically about their homes as ‘pure’ and the outside world as ‘polluted.’ In Indonesia, home means grace, modesty and simplicity.”

“The things that people care about aren’t changing– we’re curious, we want to be socially connected and spiritually inspired. The home is not a blank slate waiting for technology to arrive.”

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