A critical take on the human interaction with food and how human evolution might need more technology to catch up with our surroundings.
Thesis project - from January until June 2014
"Humans are not ready for what humanity has created"
By 2020, chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide. This is a result of malnutrition and misinformation in today’s food environment.
Over the past 50 years, the food industry has developed the ability to take advantage of predisposed human preferences for sugar, salt, and fat. For consumers, this creates the necessity for individual willpower and habit control and can often lead to decision fatigue surrounding healthy food choices in our already busy lives. The critical issue is that we as humans are not biologically ready for what is offered to us today.
Situated between nutrition science and human psychology, this project aims to critique the food industry and our interactions with food by reflecting on human weaknesses and habits. A combination of human centered design and critical design allows the user to experience this issue through communicating the needs of what might have to happen to survive or what could result if their behavior and environment do not change.
This project is meant to create a critical reflection around our relationship to our own bodies with the intention that it may lead to an increased awareness of our individual relationships with food.
How might we enable humans to catch up with the food environment today?
Final concept Video1
Interviews & Insights
I was interested in interviewing people that are well aware of what food does to their body and discovering if knowledge helps them make better decisions. In addition, I was interested to hear how athletes that create knowledge about food by looking at the impact on their bodies as well as its impact on their performance.
Findings & Conflicts
After the interviews, in addition to discovering complementary information in books and articles, I mapped the findings out and discovered the contrast between the topics of science and humanity.
science & humanity
To bring the research to a point where I could start building arguments which I was able to work with, I extracted the essence of all the findings of my research as well as secondary research.
1 WE ALL HAVE INDIVIDUAL NEEDS, THERE IS NO SOLUTION THAT FITS ALL OF US.
2 BEING HEALTHY IS A CHOICE AND, IN TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT, IT REQUIRES SUPERHUMAN ABILITIES.
3 BIOLOGY PREDISPOSES US TO LIKE CALORIE RICH FOOD
4 HUMAN EVOLUTION IS TOO SLOW FOR WHAT HUMANITY IS CREATING (TECHNOLOGY)
5 GET TO KNOW OUR BODY TO IDENTIFY EARLY SIGNS
To break down my findings and conclusions I put them in a simplified form to be able to relate my design to my research during the ideation process.
Nature of relationships
The system consists out of 2 key relationships. The relationship between you and the organ as well as the relationship between the organs.
HUMAN - ORGAN – RELATIONSHIP
The main concept of the project is to bring us humans closer to our bodies and provide a better understanding of how we function. Within this relationship, getting to know each others understanding of what food is doing stands in the foreground.
Dependent on the personality of the human, the organ-bot will learn from the behaviors, choices and activities around the food interaction of the human. The more trust the human has in the artificial intelligence, the more the relationship will adapt and the more useful it will become. In the end we should almost feel like we can’t live without it. The friendship can include educational attributes but it should never be about only doing the right thing, it should be about understanding each other and find a way of living together.
Final concept Video2
ORGAN - ORGAN – RELATIONSHIP
Organ-bots have the capability to connect to other organs of their kind.
Compared to the human - organ relationship, this one is very open and reflects on each organ’s unique experience. This is a little bit like an agency behind the whole ‘making people better humans’ goal. Together they get more and more of an idea how different and still similar humans stick in their food relationships and, by exchanging their experiences, this information will enhance their ability to help humans make better choices.
EXHIBITION & FEEDBACK
If you are interested in the extended process of this project please visit the Project Blog.