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(Image Source :

http://www.informatblog.com/partnership-google-apple-nel-futuro)

“it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want” is a well-known phrase spoken by the deceased CEO of Apple. Apple users know best why they purchase apple products. It’s so easy that it blends into your hand. It’s so easy that you don’t know why it is so easy.¬†¬†that’s the result of a top-down design. You are pretty much disoriented but you still don’t feel it, you just feel good and in control. While Google relies on experiments and data from the users out there. The company used the data offered by customers as input. By googling, you are giving your data. And google is smart enough to bring you in as a design partners. The result is that you know where you started, where you are going and where is your destination. The design approach of these two giant companies are far opposite. It is undeniably interesting when you put something so intelligent into a kid’s hand and he know exactly how to use it. In the other hand, you put something not so intelligent with a manual to a 15 years old, what’s going to happen? He is likely going to start learning about it. I have heard so many arguments on the topic Apple vs. Google and I am not here to judge which one is better. I am going to compare one small tangible design to another massive-atmospheric urban scale design. And we can see how these two universes are close to each other.   Digital Cities talks mostly about urban design works produced by help of computational methods. Parametricism, Swarm Intelligence, Breeder, Urban Experiments, Morphogenetic Urbanism, or even smaller scale like Hyperhabitat etc. I’ll start with the bright sides. I have been astonished by the intelligence of these tools and aware how they are going, rapidly, to change the face of the planet. From the human scale – Chlorofilia, we can’t deny that that is not going to happen. The birth of it is on the timeline already. If it is something that humanities need then it is going to happen and expand eventually. The documentary was a hugh provocation. Manuel DeLanda’s Urban Simulation is a great example of how to extract the best interest out of the people the design was for. The continuous and discrete theory seems to be a perfect interweaving of the city and it’s population. When he talked about the discrete models of urban simulation where he introduced “multi-agent” system, an agent whose decision is specified by rules. The agent follows the rules but also produces an emergence. Is the agent an individual? or a community? And this push the boundaries of agent and the city far closer. Either way, there are good and explainable connection between these two.   The connection and relation is, of course, a total different thing. Emergence doesn’t know the whole. It is a part of the whole, however. So we might say that the only relation of the two is that the emergence build the whole without knowing so. What is the use of it the IMG_7416 n? Would it be ok if we put an entire of ant colony into an abandon colony? Will the ants still work as they do in their old colony? My guess would be yes. They would probably know exactly what to do. They still have their basic instinct that we know for sure. They still have their neighbors and they still get their work done by the end of the day. My thinking is that they won’t feel very happy for some reason and will start reforming their home. It is a thin layer between the agent and the surrounding, either in bigger scale or smaller, it’s in the cloud area of 5 senses. We can ignore the fact that these ants will never learn anyways so why bother teaching them how to grow but we can’t do that to human. We learn through 5 senses. Putting human into a new earth, we just going to find out how we got there. So if the relation is in the senses, does the digital intelligence have enough soul to fill that gap? The feeling of touching the wood, the smell of dirt, the humidity of the rain forrest, the force effect of a new landmark in town, the festival lights? These are inputs that only the population a.k.a. customers can give. Any scale of agent, these are the most truthful and determining factors. The type that Google wouldn’t hesitate to grasp. The real source for bottom-up approach. It is a surprise how we are so familiar of technologies today without questioning them so much. I guess we can make that clear by pairing product design with urban fabric, and by pairing user’s interface with community behavior. So until the computers are able to detect the senses as good as we can. It will still be top-down.