In just a few decades, the exponential growth and power of computation and communication technologies has unleashed a fourth industrial revolution. Unlike the previous three, the era we now find ourselves has occurred in just one generation. The implications of this have been profound, uprooting many of the most established dimensions of human life often with unpredictable ramifications to well established cultural and societal norms. Though many of these changes have been for the good, our society has had to develop a type of social elasticity to accommodate these changes. We as individuals have had to do so as well. No better example of this can be found in the rapid adoption of remote working technologies and practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this unprecedented environment, there are perils and opportunities. One of design’s most fundamental tasks is to stand between revolutions and life, and to help people deal with change. Designers have coped with these displacements by contributing thoughtful concepts that can provide guidance and ease as science and technology evolve.
The goal of this is to first examine and understand the nature of our rapidly changing world and then, design for or remediate the challenges it represents.