Technology, which allows us to augment and extend our native capabilities, tends to evolve haphazardly, and the future that is imagined for it—good or bad—is almost always historical, which is to say, naive.
Most people would probably rank a vaccine for Ebola as more worthy of funding than an anthropological study of disease perception. But a big part of why Ebola is such a problem now is that health workers failed to appreciate the psychology of epidemics and how fear spreads disease. They went in too hard, too fast, and caused panic, leading infected people to hide from quarantine officers or to flee to other regions, thus spreading the disease further and faster.
For outside observers, the umbrella is something easy to latch on to: An ordinary object used to fight against state security apparatus. It helped those far from Hong Kong understand a conflict driven by a wide variety of factors including Hong Kong’s complicated colonial history and tradition of democratic protests.
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“It’s not rocket science. It’s social science – the science of understanding people’s needs and their unique relationship with art, literature, history, music, work, philosophy, community, technology and psychology. The act of design is structuring and creating that balance.”
– Clement Mok
– Clement Mok