Hu­man­u­facur­ing – tech with a hu­man story is the Holy Grail

CAR (UK) - - From The Editor - Ben Miller Ed­i­tor

‘IT’S 2020. YOUR BUSI­NESS HAS FAILED. With hind­sight what were the trends you missed, the sig­nals you ig­nored, the changes you ne­glected to make?’ Slumped in a dark­ened au­di­to­rium at this year’s Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest event, held at Cen­tral St Martins and stuffed with ec­cen­tri­cally at­tired blog­gers, I was sud­denly wide awake. Chal­leng­ing stuff from the chap on stage, An­ders Sör­man-Nils­son, an elo­quent in­di­vid­ual well-armed with thought-pro­vok­ing hand grenades. ‘Change doesn’t care whether you want it or not – it hap­pens re­gard­less,’ he prof­fered. Many faces now looked up from their glow­ing iPhones.

Sör­man-Nils­son’s over-arch­ing point was the all-im­por­tant – in his view – hu­man­i­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy; ‘hu­man­u­fac­tur­ing’, if you will. A be­spoke men’s out­fit­ters, no mat­ter how long-es­tab­lished or well-re­garded, is on bor­rowed time with­out an on­line store. Bet­ter still is an on­line store that sells the hu­man sto­ries as well as the clothes. One into which you can en­ter your new jacket’s code and, via im­ages, sto­ries and video, learn more about where it came from; the farm from which the thread came, the farmer him­self, the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of twinkly-eyed tailors and the lives they lived. Know the story be­hind it, feel good that you chose to buy that jacket and not a cheaper, more anony­mously sourced al­ter­na­tive.

Sör­man-Nils­son’s in­trigu­ing fu­ture-tech-with-hu­man­warmth win­ning combo ran through last month’s Frank­furt mo­tor show like a great seam of pre­cious metal. With it, Honda’s ul­tra-cute, retro-fu­tur­is­tic Ur­banEV con­cept (p10) stole the show. The ap­peal of VW’s ID Buzz EV bus (p98) is rooted in the same mix of fa­mil­iar cute sell­ing un­fa­mil­iar tech. The elec­tric age will surely change al­most ev­ery­thing, but it might look sus­pi­ciously like the icons of the petrol age for a while yet.

En­joy the is­sue.

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