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25 things with Peter Haythornthwaite, part three

Peter Haythornthwaite – industrial and creative design deity, Designers Institute of New Zealand fellow, owner of an ONZM for services to design, and current exhibitor of his life’s work at Objectspace Gallery in Auckland – knows things, loves things, predicts things, worries about things and improves things. In part three, here are five things he predicts for 2038.

11. The rise of spirituality

Psychologists tell us that living for ‘me now’ leads to emptiness, a lack of a sense of well-being. People will yearn to find greater meaning to life and purpose. Where will they turn? To their spiritual needs. The mushrooming of technology, burgeoning scientific discoveries, transformational medical ingenuity and so forth may help with physical, mental and social improvements but that does not necessarily lead to a personal serenity and happiness. By 2038 people will be more focused on permanent, less transient, spiritual values.

12. From many to one

People will long for authenticity, genuineness, not what is in vogue. There will be an increased focus on personalised design. Design craftsmanship will be greatly valued.  Understanding, and knowing the maker and deliverer will be as important as the object itself. The omnipresence of technology will lead to, for example, an increase in services, transport, accommodation, housewares, furniture that will be tailored to meet our personal needs and desires. 

13. The making of China

China has become the home of online sales and trading. Apps like WeChat are becoming dominant ways of communicating and transacting. Manufacturers are shifting from being suppliers to brands to becoming brands in their own right. People are rapidly moving from buying replica products to choosing by authenticity. Design judgment is rising. 

These changes are unstoppable. Already China may have tactically won the economic competition. By 2038, unless we are strategically very, very smart, the world will be beholden to the collective ingenuity of China. 

14. The intensification of creativity

There is no way that mankind will allow AI to dominate decision making and actions to the point that life will be run, in a sense, autonomously. Human ingenuity and creativity will intensify to enable AI to be more effectively employed for the everyday and repetitive. Generative design enables designers and engineers, scientists and medical specialists to set the creative parameters and make the hard design resolution decisions while computing power generates myriad options to solve the problems. The same thing will happen in music and virtual reality. No doubt, as Elon Musk and others believe, we will likely have direct brain to computer interfaces. 

15. XYZ of cities

Unfortunately more cities will have definitive X and Y boundaries with a greater Z axis (height). Creeping coverage of land with the loss of amenities and engagement with nature will be stopped. Accommodation will need to return to family and social engagement and, if we can we can make it affordable, the joy of ownership. As is already well underway, transport logically will become more shared and on-demand. 

Previously: 

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