Later in the book we discover that the people in Ryman’s world also have the superpower of seeing the full environmental cost of anything they encounter. Literally, they have a calculator in their heads which means they can’t help but add up the cost of the materials, the cost of manufacture, the cost of running the thing… Cars wouldn’t look beautiful to them.
This illustration, by the way, I’ve stolen from my friend Dan Hill, who I understand is closing this same conference, and it’s from an article in which he discusses seeing the environmental cost of things displayed in the environment.
We’re so good at reading all kinds of immaterial measures – like monetary worth, or reputation – I do wonder what we’d have to do to train ourselves to see the world like this.
Anyway. I mention all of this because I love science fiction, and I work in design, and playing with ideas to see where they go, it’s… well, that’s kind of why I get up in the morning.
Speaking of this morning — thank you for inviting me, and thank you for coming to play with some science fiction and design with me, and we should probably get a move on.