What is our “Standard of Care” for Design?

Peter Jones Human Values, Wu Wei

Designers and people in the caring professions may have different and valid ways to think about caring and systems. On the Wenovski design community a wide-ranging discussion involves the question of designing “systems that care.” I take a position that we can care for systems practices, but systems will not perform as caring agents. (We could talk about future robots and the “uncanny valley” of likenesses and human qualities, but robots are not what we mean by systems, or even organizations). What is care and where does it show up in systems, by design or by emergence? Care is a deeply-held value to people, but when services designers explicitly adopt a language of values, they risk demeaning that value with real customers. I’ll try to say why I think so. First of all, can systems care? It would be like asking “can we design systems that love?” What is the standard of care for a service or an information system? Without the accompanying duty of care that the professions have to honor, it may be meaningless. Care is at once …