Core77 Wiretap: Portigal Consulting talk about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine
By Steve Portigal at 12:48 pm, Thursday March 04 2010

Check out Core77 Wiretap: Portigal Consulting talk about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine. Here’s a teaser

Wonder what the conversation is like at someone else’s shop? Ever wanted to go backstage at a design firm? We asked Steve Portigal, Julie Norvaisas, and Dan Soltzberg of Portigal Consulting to sit down and share what they’re talking about. Here’s their open mike/chin-wag/theory slam.

Dan: I envisioned sitting down here to have this conversation and trying to figure out what we’re really talking about. So I pulled this statement out of some notes Steve wrote the other day: “The Analog Human; The Digital Machine.” I thought that was really provocative, so I wanted to start by asking you to say a little more about this idea?

Steve: I feel like there’s this tension that goes on in business and especially in marketing, this conceit that we can take humans-you know, messy, irrational, organic-and somehow cut them open and figure out the binary, rational, predictable, money-making algorithms that determine what they do. You see all this harnessing of science, you know, whether it’s neuro-this or lie detector-that or psychotherapy-this that gets used in the service of, not helping people, but helping marketers crack the nut of what people want, where is the desire center in the brain. You know, that we can learn things about people in a way that is “true”-that is predictable and true, and will determine consumption patterns. I find the idea that we should be able to do that just fascinating, because that’s not the world of people that we live in as people, so why as marketers or designers or producers do we think that we should turn people into things that they really aren’t?

Julie: There’s another aspect of that that I find really fascinating too: that you’re just talking about it in this dichotomy like there’s “us,” and then there’s “people.” Well, we’re people, right? We’re people trying to understand people and trying to create these scientific methods of doing it is just-I think you’re absolutely right-a conceit, and we often kind of remove ourselves from the situation. And I think empathy is a much more powerful tool than science in that case.

Meanwhile, here’s a few links we’ve come across in the past few days that pick up on some of the themes we explore in our dialog.

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One Response to “Core77 Wiretap: Portigal Consulting talk about the Analog Human and The Digital Machine”

    Kramer auto Pingback[...] 5 years of collaboration.). No doubt you've seen Steve here, talking with his colleagues about the analog human and the digital machine, bringing user research about the Future of Digital Reading to our 1 Hour Design Challenge, hanging [...]

    Pingback by Introducing New Core77 Columnist Steve Portigal! - Core77 07.16.10 @ 2:16 pm