The paradise-offer will steadily increase and lead to a gigantic accumulation of artificial Arcadias. On each corner of the street El Dorado waits for us. But what doesn’t wait for us, is happiness. The whole running trend in product development from the material to the immaterial, the shift to experiences, is irrelevant. As well the semioticised as the virtual products are again and again a knock on the golden gate of the paradise – that never opens. But as long as we continue to knock, we think there is hope. And thus we continue to knock, that means to develop products.
In fact, our first mission for the immediate future is to strive after a disconnection of product development and happiness. The marvels of technology will then show to full advantage, we will enjoy its benefits. The real marvels of technology will come to an accounted development and growth, without our having to become by that necessarily more unhappy. The latter is already something. If we will ever become happy, is still another question. But the opposite of the paradise is therefore not the hell.
I end by proposing a simple solution. There is now a legal obligation to print on each packet of cigarettes the warning "to smoke harms your health". We know it doesn’t help. A smoker remains a smoker. We could introduce the same legal obligation to put on each product this warning: "this product doesn’t make you happy". I presume it won’t help either. A gold-seeker remains a gold-seeker. But we must start somewhere.

Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, Oxford, 1996
Richard Crandall and Marvin Levich, A Network Orange: Logic and Responsability in the Computer Age, New York, 1998
Jean-Marie Floch, Sémiotique, marketing et communication. Sous les signes, les stratégies, Paris, 1990
Angel J- Gordo-Lopez and Ian Parker, Cyberpsychology, London, 1999
Cees J. Hamelink, The Ethics of Cyberspace, London, 2000
Michael Heim, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, New York, 1993
Jean-Claude Heudin (ed.), Virtual Worlds: First International Conference, Paris, July 1–3, 1998, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 1998
Ken Hillis, Digital Sensations: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality, Minneapolis, London, 1999
Rolf Jensen, The Dream Society, New York, 1999
Rob Kitchin, Cyberspace: The World in the Wires, Chichester, 1998
Howard Rheingold, Virtual Reality, London, 1992
Benjamin Woolley, Virtual Worlds: A Journey in Hype and Hyperreality, Oxford, Cambridge, 1992
20 Years or the Prehistory of Cyberspace: Shaping the Future, Proceedings of the Conference in Montpellier, November 20–21, 1997, Montpellier, 1997

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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