I really enjoyed this reading.
It reminded me on the importance of reflecting on my projects and the responsibility I have to take as a designer. Theres a need to care for my own design ability, the designs I produce, and how the world will be changed by my design ideas and decisions. It also touches on the” purpose” of the designs we create. Something I have always struggled with. Sometimes I find myself focusing too much on the feasibility of the technology and its aesthetics and forgetting the importance of the context and user understanding. To create good design is a never ending process of thoughtful reflection. “The main products are not artifacts but knowledge.”
There’s still lots to learn as a student in interactive Media.
The example I choose was an advertising project way back in 2013 (This surprised me). I was introduced me this Ad campaign few years back and it blew my mind. I’m embarrassed to say, I’m researching on it only now. It was simple solution for a huge problem. By using the power of a technology we had in our pockets, our phone, to help a heartbreaking issue, missing children in China. In China, over 20,000 children go missing each year.
The project is called ” Baby Back Home”, “宝贝回家” by Ad agency JWT China in 2013. How it works is by utilizing facial-recognition technology. People around china who crosses path with a child that they suspect is lost, (begging on the streets or are in “wrong” situations) can download their app and upload a photo of this child. The app uses facial-recognition to identify matches with a missing persons database. If a match is found, the family is notified.
The campaign was an immediate hit with over 20,000 instant downloads, but that was just the start, by the end of the campaign the “Missing Children App” reunited two missing children with their families.
It was simple idea and with the technology, all it requires is the power of the masses and spontaneous interaction for this to work. This reflects the concept in this readings that the ” challenge is to design social “components” together with the technological components as a systematic whole.” However, as I reflect on this I’m not sure what is the right way to conceptualise my projects or how did they approach this project? Do the social issue come first or the need to use the technology? “The design process begins when the initial idea concerning a possible future takes place”, what a difficult concept to understand.
As I researched more on this campaign, I disappointed to find very little information on this. It could be because its 2013 project and artificial intelligence and facial recognition was still at it’s start. I was told the campaign ended (WHY) but I found the website “https://www.baobeihuijia.com/Index.aspx”. With it’s bad website design interface and “low maintenance, it seems very unappealing. With better facial-recognition technology and smartphones camera now, I was expecting this to be slightly more successful. There also a website called “facefirst” which is similar concept but requires a “License” fee. Could people exploit this campaign? Taking photos of kids without their consent? Getting the contacts of parents in vulnerable situations? There’s also a note on the main website stating ” All the help of this site is free, we will not charge for any reason, please do not be deceived.”
I guess the campaign was a big hit when it first started but maintaining this and preventing this idea for exploitation is a difficult task. Whose responsibility is it to continue maintaining this? I thought this was a solution to this missing child problem, but there are so many challenges and changes needed for it to work as successfully now. This was also brought up in the reading that ” Every design proposal is formulated in a close relationship with a changing and growing understanding of the situation.” It is an ongoing process, rarely it becomes a permanent solution or a correct answer.
However without the use of human participation (snapping photos of kids on the street), a more recent news, nearly 3,000 missing children have been traced in four days, as thanks to the facial recognition system (FRS) software that the police is using in New Delhi. It is interesting to see how technology and artificial intelligence is changing and “helping us” in major issues.