It’s Time to Respect the Differences
There are two ways to create products: one way takes you and me as one common person in a million, and figures out our demands through surveys and analyses. It is the manufacturer that sets everything in one piece, and all of us can only be calculated and labeled under one average standard.
Actually, this mind pattern contains several hypotheses:
One is that we are nothing but more than one of six billion individuals, which can almost be ignored. Another hypothesis is that, users don’t know how to use products, until they are taught to. In this theory, a fine product means it can talk itself to guide you how to use.
The other way, on the contrary, considers everyone on the earth is unique. We shouldn’t be calculated or defined, but be offered a possibility that enables us to freely use the product out of our own needs. Products need to provide enough support for this possibility, so that users can get the chance of use them at will.
Actually the two different ways are reflections of different requirement phases and different technical levels. When we suffer from hunger and cold, the most urgent needs are clothes to wear, food to eat. However, once these basic needs were satisfied, we would find that dressing is no longer just for covering our body or insulating the coldness, but more personal, unique demand. Hence, differences between different people came into beings.
Twenty century is the century of industry. Products were mass-produced, and mechanization was the key to improve the productivity. We manufactured products during last century more than ever before, making it possible to sustain this planet’s most people’s basic living. It was a remarkable achievement. However, the increase of production didn’t mean the progress of civilization. Back to the history of human civilization, even the history of the Earth, it’s the difference not the uniformity that inspired the life evolution and civilization. No matter the born of single-celled creatures or each evolution, the transforming is different than before, and it is the different individuals that pushed the evolution of species. In the case of civilization, in every field, no matter in the field of art or science, it is those individuals different from the average level of creativity that pushed the evolution of civilization. Thus, to create a product respecting different individual is significant.
However, it is very hard for an ordinary product to meet the different needs from different people. First of all, it requires the product have an ability to recognize, understand and perceive, then process, and finally output to fit the different requirements. It is impossible for a product in the past. Niche markets and variety products seems great, however, the niche markets just identify us from one of six billion to one of the one million. There’s no differences essentially.
What if we create a product that adapts different demands, not a default device?
The educability, the voice programming technology and an open operation system make this idea possible.
Motion Tracking technology let a robot recognize your beckon (it refers to Artificial Intelligence and imagine processing fields. Users can just ignore the technology and just use it), but to different people, even the same person, the meaning of waving at different time different place would be different. Waving while your phone ringing, you might want the robot to turn down the volume of TV; Waving after your falling down on the floor, you might need someone to help; Waving when you sitting at the coach, you might want to have the robot come over to chat with; Waving when you’re leaving home in the morning, you might want to know the weather……etc. We cannot define waving as a certain function, just like “Turn down the volume”, because it cannot meet the different needs of different users all time.
Now, we can change into another pattern to think:
First of all, we can suppose that users know the way how to use the product.
Secondly, users can communicate with the robot by voice interaction and voice programming, to tell the robot what they need. It requires the robot is able to understand and precept, then decide and act.
For example, you can tell the robot:
“If you see me leaving home and waving to you, please tell me the weather condition.”
“If you see me answering the phone and waving to you, please lower the volume of TV.”
“If you see me sitting at the sofa and waving to you, please come over and tell me today’s news.”
“If you see me laying down on the floor and waving to you, please call my doctor.”
Besides, it is impossible for the robot to know who you are and where your sofa is before it leaves the factory. You have to let it know those things. It requires an educable robot. It also requires us to work on AI and robot field deeper, to discover and define some basic skills that allow users easily to use, such as face recognition, motion tracking, path planning…etc., as well as a robot operate system on which both software and hardware can run well.
Of course, the task is very challenging.
But, it is fun and thrilling at the same time.
And finally there is a product starts to respect the difference of individuals.