Brilliant post from Dan Lockton on the design problems of making smart meters usable and useful.
In a sense, it relates to this post at the RSA’s Social Brain about “the dark side of “nudge””; of course, the downside of all these neat ideas about adjusting people’s decision processes into ones that are more rational, or at least less harmful, isn’t a sinisterly hyperefficient world where all troublesome individuality has been, blah, blah, but instead a world of undermaintained, malfunctioning good intentions.
In science-fiction terms, rather than a space-opera dystopia, it’s a New Wave one we’ve got to watch; all greasy handrails, important safety devices rigged to stop them making a noise, and infinite reserves of bitterness and resentment. From Dan’s scenario-planning:
The display is still there on the fridge door, but when the batteries powering the display run out, and it goes blank, no-one notices.
Quite; like the indefinitely deferred maintenance that tends to kill modern buildings. In fact, what that snippet reminded me of was democracy.