Digital Pasts, Analog Futures

An article by Gábor Megyeri

During my career, I have designed and developed products, which fulfilled their functions, with the added value of an expanded life span. In my opinion, this is the key to sustainable product development in the 21st century. These products will be easily recognizable in the vast ocean of mass-produced products.

The accelerated development of products has changed our culture, by altering the way we use products. Technological advancement is a basic part of life, which we must accept. It doesn’t make any sense to fight against it.

We must be able to understand it, to control it. If we are looking back to the past, we can easily recognize that the technological development that happened in the last 25 years is more intense than the development of mankind in the previous two thousand years. Technically, we are drastically behind the technology we developed in every aspect (the ability of processing, algorithmize, memorise, data handling, etc.). The decision mechanism driven by Emotional thinking is the only thing that is not properly reproduced digitally yet, but the latest AI developments are almost there and fueling their supercomputers with similar level algorithms. The most meaningful projections of this technological explosion are the AI robots with humanoid looks, behaviour and attributes. As an example, In November 2017, the robot Sophia equipped with an advanced AI and sensor system developed by Hanson Robotics Ltd received Saudi Arabian citizenship.

If we think through the previously described facts, this development process is leading future generations to a dead end.

To be able to reach today’s development level and achieve incredible technological successes, we need to use all the knowledge discovered and collected during the past thousands of years of mankind’s history. Thanks to this knowledge, we can create an algorithm, paint a picture, compose a symphonic art piece, design an object, etc. These processes were the result of the cooperation of the brain/mind and the hands. The task of future generations will be to survive in an environment that they don’t understand. Unless we find a way how to transfer all of the values we have learned from the past and teach them all to create their world. Every human being from its birth to its death has to reach a mental/psychological level described by its environment to be able to live a full life. This is a natural, basic process. The capabilities developed and the knowledge to move beyond this level make each person unique. The incredible human mind reached this goal easily and automatically throughout the history of humanity. Right now, artificial intelligence is a mixture and we can control its ingredients. It is partly programming, partly extended background memory, algorithms, peripheries and sensor systems, which are necessary to connect the parts of the mixture and keep the system running.

The achievements of these processes will have a lasting effect on today’s society and generations to come. However, this is completely wrong and we turn our heads by not taking care of the habits and thoughts that are the necessary result of this technological development.

Using controllers and other interfaces, we are developing and affecting fine motor skills in the wrong direction.

There are educational systems with experimental writing methods (keyboard instead of handwriting). Researchers proved that the logical and mental development of the children taking part in such an educational system is weakening and is less intensive. In 2016 the Ministry of Education in Finland eliminated the handwriting in the schools and replaced it with typing. The reason for this they explained is the similarity of the handwritten characters makes it complicated to learn and will allow for accelerated thinking from the students.

As Louise Spear-Swerling described in her article in 2006, handwriting plays a key role in the development and in studying of children. Teaching it is one of the most effective ways to solve learning-, reading-, writing difficulties and hyperactivity.

Her observations based on her experiments are proving that decreasing or eliminating handwriting in the school results in the reduction of the learning capabilities and decreases the receptivity of the brain and its logical capabilities. This can lead to a crucial problem, students without proper handwriting education might learn to write with time but they will not be able to concentrate on the content which results in further handicaps in learning and mental development.

Yolanda Reid Chassiakos published her article with the title ‘The Importance of Handwriting in the Digital Age” in September 2017. She described the importance of teaching handwriting in our Digital Age, it guarantees the necessary state of development of the visual and fine motor skills which are responsible for the development of hand-eye coordination. The existence of these skills is the basic necessity of learning.

The articles by James & Engelhard published in 2010 in the “Trends in Neuroscience and Education” and another article written and published by the researchers of the University of Washington (Berninger, et. Al. 2017) are backing these theories and refutes the Finish method.

In case we don’t give forward the values and the heritage of the past to the upcoming generations, their world will collapse, because they will not be able to understand their environment. They won’t know what was used to create it.

The main goal of my research and my work is creating activity on average is to find the method of modernizing and integrating the values and heritage of the past to sustainable technology development. To achieve this goal, I want to create a new, advanced product design philosophy and methodology. I want to develop tools and methods to optimize education for future needs.

The basic thought of this product designing and researching method is similar to the thoughts of Design communication (DIS.CO).

“Design communication is not simply a function or a form, but content, message, style and culture together. Design communication is an approach that strives to connect design, everyday economies, strategic communication and their real status. Communication in this form is created simultaneously with research and problem solving and is coded into the development of the given product, service or process.

One human capability, opportunity and at the same time obligation is to plan or to create concerning the interaction of societal invariables (permanent elements) and variables. Our capability to design determines the triplicate of Survival Subsistence Development. Creation is the coefficient of societal invariable (permanent) and variable elements. Therefore, design, communication and their business alternative design management area result in a differentiated and integrated, in other words, complex design thinking process”

  • Material immaterial relations
  • Survival subsistence development relations
  • Permanent variable relations

Based on this, I want to create three basic thoughts to drive my design and research philosophy.

 The #govalue is a designing and consuming view/philosophy in one. The products designed with this philosophy are not only fulfilling their functions and aesthetics but their life span is maximally extended thanks to the added value. As a result, the product is surrounded by extended peripheries which are compensating for the optionally elevated production costs and retail prices. This results in a longer business cycle for both the manufacturers and the retailer.

The #thinkvalue is the necessary thinking which guarantees sustainable development.

The #learnvalue is the education method which is necessary to understand the basics of the #govalue and the #thinkvalue philosophies.

“…the design communication represents contact-making thinking, which appears as a bridge between the different disciplines and discussions, between the subjects of society and economy. With its interdisciplinary and interprofessional methods, it’s able to create a connection between education, research and business.” (Cosovan & Horváth, 2016)

As a result of my research, I want to create and refine a tool-, product-group, which revolutionizes and spreads the importance of the hand in terms of writing, drawing, painting, etc. I want to mix the values of the past with the advantages of future technologies so that the achievements of humanity in this area can be sustained, appreciated and valued by future generations. My primary goal is to grant availability to a broad spectrum of users. To achieve this goal I’m planning to create multiple versions to make it useable for users of every age.


Chassiakos, Y. L. R., Radesky, J., Christakis, D., Moreno, M. A., & Cross, C. (2016). Children and adolescents and digital media. Pediatrics, 138 (5), e20162593.

Chassiakos, Y. L. R., Radesky, J., Christakis, D., Moreno, M. A., & Cross, C. (2016). Children and adolescents and digital media. Pediatrics, 138 (5), e20162593.

James, K. H., & Engelhardt, L. (2012). The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children. Trends in neuroscience and education, 1 (1), 32-42.

Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Cook, C. R., & Nagy, W. (2017). Relationships of attention and executive functions to oral language, reading, and writing skills and systems in middle childhood and early adolescence. Journal of learning disabilities, 50 (4), 434-449.,

Cosovan, A., & Horváth, D. (2016). Emóció–Ráció: Tervezés–Vezetés: Designkommunikáció. Vezetéstudomány/Budapest Management Review, 47 (3), 36-45.