March 13, 2013 - DESIGN + SCIFI


What if tomorrow designers create projects for aliens?

What if tomorrow designers had to create projects for non-human beings? We would not discuss design accessories for pets, even if it is also a praiseworthy discipline and could be the subject of an upcoming article. It is more about imagining the possibility where design is not exclusively done by humans for humans but with or for beings from another planet.

It is not so stupid considering that in 2013, the Swiss stargazer Michel Mayor’s team discovered 55 exoplanets within 15 « Super-Earths » in our galaxy and which could shelter life. Moreover, about 10 000 billion planets could be fit to live throughout the universe. An extraterrestrial existence does not seem so fanciful after all. Life modifies a planet’s atmosphere and can be detected even from a large distance. Scientists work hard to discover such planets. As far as the possibility of encountering beings from outer space can become real, how would we react?

On Earth, we are already trying to develop products that use a bacterium or genetically modified organisms, so that we can imagine new interactions with other beings more simple or more complex than we are.

Then we could be used for alien purposes or to use them for our own and succeed on creating a symbiosis with our hypothetical space neighbours. But this so valued harmony would be even better if we find it first amongst humans and other species from Earth.

And if in a less pacific scenario, we were to be attacked? An excellent National Geographic documentary builds a simulation of an extraterrestrial attack and describes our possible reactions. This very serious study was elaborated in collaboration with anthropologists and sociologists.

But the most interesting situation would probably be to face completely new species provided with consciousness and questions about all our habits, uses and objects that surround us. They would force us to explain and justify our manners and the legitimacy of all our actions and our productions. Wouldn’t we feel a little stupid sometimes?

And would we be able to read into their achievement with a naive insight without assimilating them to ours?

Let’s find this hindsight in order to observe and analyse our environment, to question with a new look our objects’ use and all those which will come as we discover them for the first time. Let’s cultivate our curiosity. We will never know when we will be forced to call on these skills for others than us.
« Nous ne sommes pas seuls », Science & Vie n°1139, août 2012
Science et Avenir: Nouvelles Exoplanètes Découvertes
VIDEO « When Aliens Attack », National Geographic, May 22, 2011.