Maybe should I pivot?? 😔
Existential crisis #1
Questioning my thesis topic
Every week I like to speak with someone outside the program to get another perspective. I had a chat with Julia, my teammate from Smart Objects last year, to help rationalize my thinking. I was hoping to get more clarity but really I’m left with uncertainty. Now I’m questioning everything.
1) Lack of credibility?
For one thing, I’ve been challenged because I have never used online dating before. Maybe I’m making too many assumptions (I likely am) about the experience. Maybe this discredits my work completely. Maybe I’m imposing too many of my personal beliefs into the topic. I thought I could be objective but maybe I need to develop empathy and go on a few online dates? (I don’t want to but might have to…in the name of empathy).
2) People aren’t sure why I’m doing this
I have been sick and have missed last week’s thesis classes so I haven’t had a good opportunity to articulate why this is an interesting problem to me. But, I think what’s bothering me is there seems to be a disconnect as to why I’m doing this in the first place. I’m married, so this isn’t necessarily my problem. But I know it’s a problem for everyone else. Maybe I have to do a better job of explaining my reasons. It’s like the perfect topic because it intersects culture, technology, human behaviour. But maybe that’s not convincing or a good enough reason. I’m questioning my motives here.
3) What am I trying to achieve?
I’m not necessarily driven to come up with the silver bullet to kill all dating apps. And I’m not doing this because I believe monogamy is superior and try and marry off as many people as possible. I also don’t want to end up with feature upgrades to Tinder. I really want to avoid making an app, although that seems to be the most obvious form.
So basically, all I know is what I don’t want to achieve but I’m not sure what my goals are exactly.
4) Maybe this is too difficult
Maybe this problem is too big that the goals difficult to frame. Is it even possible to have an algorithm perfectly predict your compatibility? Why couldn’t I have just picked something simpler, smaller, where the problem is clearly defined? I guess those problems don’t interest me either. But I only have a few months to put together something. Perhaps this is out of scope.
5) I also have another idea…
I think what doesn’t help is that I’ve come up with another idea through our Future Wearables class. I’ve been inspired to think about energy generative fabrics, where your clothes can harvest and generate electricity. I’ve been thinking about a system where humans have a stronger relationships and understanding of their consumption and it’s impact on the environment. Plus, I like the idea of doing a futuristic speculative thesis. It’s quite elusive. Plus I miss prototyping physical objects. This would give me a chance to get back into making wearables.
Also, I’ve pitched this idea to a few classmates and they feel like the topic is more representative of who I am. It’s related to Upcycle (electronics recycling), my ecological innovation model from Cybernetics, and my History of Design paper on the History of Planned Obsolescence.
6) But I know this is a problem worth solving
Although, my gut tells me and literature tells me that online dating does have creates some problems worth solving. For one, in Dataclysm, it reveals the algorithmic bias that happens in online dating. Plus, my gut tells me that there’s more to this than just online dating.
Not ready to let it go yet…
I think I am going to spend a week exploring whether developing my Energy Garments idea is something I can pivot to. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’ll try and pitch both ideas and see how people react. Both topics fit well into the things I want to achieve in thesis. I guess it’s a matter of picking the right one.