7. The Critical Engineer observes the space between the production and consumption of technology. Acting rapidly to changes in this space, the Critical Engineer serves to expose moments of imbalance and deception.
In my own words — Critical engineers must be aware, understand, and take responsibility when creating a new innovation that will be provided to the general public. Critical engineers must strike a balance between the idea of new innovation, and natural human behavior when humans interact with new technologies.
I find this tenet interesting because it resonates with a lot of what we are taught in CMU’s School of Design. Until today, the main “manifesto” that most designers talk about is Dieter Ram’s 10 Principles for Good Design. I think there’s a lot of similar themes such as sustainability and responsibility that we have the ability to affect human behavior, especially for product designers who work with engineers.
CMU Design revamped their curriculum when I entered in 2014 to focus on Transition Design, or designing for sustainability. I came here thinking I’d learn how to make pretty, aesthetic things that people would buy because they looked pretty. NOW I realize the responsibility we have as makers to think about the magnitude of our decisions and how we can have a real influence in how people live their lives. While new technology and the “Internet of Things” sounds like cool stuff, are conversations and decisions being made about user needs, important intentions, and what type of future we want to live in?