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The programme sets out to help the student answer the question "What connections are there between design, technology and man made futures?", and to illustrate how different individuals ...and groups of people see this interaction. Students should then have a grasp of the difference between exploratory and normative forecasting, and their relationship. In the studio Nigel Cross and Robin Roy establish their interpretation of the word 'design', the idea that design is future-creating, and the two kinds of forecasting. A film clip from BBC's Horizon (1973) gives a brief picture of radically alternative social values, put into practice by a group in the U S.A., the "New Alchemists". In contrast, another Horizon clip shows the shiny, highly technically sophisticated possibilities of cable tv, already introduced in Los Angeles. Having seen "the programme so far, David Dickson, author of the set bookand Gerald Leach, science writer and broadcaster, and an assessor for the course, discuss the ideas put forward in it. The issues raised include futurecreating, invention or innovation, the impact of the future on industry today, cost is a dominating design factor, and technology as a social institution. In presentation style the programme intended to establish a most simple, didactic, unglossy format. No unnecessary studio frills, low-key lighting and no irrelevant dramatics. One intention of the course team is that students do not see the future as an even more technologically glamorous extension of the present. Apart from this austerity and the obvious need to follow the viewing by reading the texts, the programme makes straightforward lay-viewing. The data used in forecasts, the examples and film clips, will look a bit out of date in 4-5 years time, but the principles expressed should survive.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T262, Man-made futures: design and technology
Item code: T262; 01
First transmission date: 1975
Published: 1975
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:22:58
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Producer: Colin Robinson
Contributors: Nigel Cross; Robin Roy
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): `New Alchemists'; Cable TV; Design; Exploratory/normative forecasting; Future industry; Invention/innovation; Man-made futures; Technology
Footage description: Gerald Leach and David Dixon briefly discuss some of the social implications of design. Nigel Cross introduces the programme. He gives his definition of "design" and explains why design is inherently future oriented and even future creating. He cites, as an example designs for high rise residential buildings which some architects early this century considered. Shots of a Le Corbusier drawing. Nigel Cross relates these ideas directly to our present high rise tower blocks of flats. Cross examines ways in which design is future dependent. Robin Roy examines some of the ways in which designers forecast the future. He explains several exploratory methods of doing this. Shot of a population forecast chart for the U.K. Shot of an artists impression of an urban area of the future. Shot of a video telephone in use. Shot of the MIT world model forecast graph. Roy continues his discussion of exploratory forecasts. Robin Roy examines the process of normative forecasting in which goals are set for the future and designs are worked out to achieve these goals. Animated diagrams aid his discussion. Roy then explains why normative and exploratory forecasts must be used together. Nigel Cross introduces a sequence from a BBC Horizon film. Film sequence from BBC Horizon film. 'Science is dead, long live science." This shows the work of an American Group called the "New Alchemists" in working out an integrated, ecological approach to the kind of technology they choose and design in their small, self-governing communities. Nigel Cross briefly discusses the difficulty of determining the values and assumptions on which our technology is based. He then introduces a sequence from another BBC Horizon film. Film sequence from the BBC Horizon film "The Telly of Tomorrow" shows the effect of cable television on an American family in Los Angeles. Film, also shows children receiving programmed instruction over television and a doctor examining a patient on closed circuit TV. Gerald Leach, David Dickson, Nigel Cross and Robin Roy discuss the role of the designer in creating the future. They take up the constraints which operate on the designer particularly the economic constraints.
Master spool number: 6HT/71213
Production number: 00525_5139
Videofinder number: 2681
Available to public: no