Why Your "Design Morals" Are Bullshit

I recently read a piece by Mike Monteiro of Dear Design Students called In Praise of the AK-47.

Q: I had a professor in school who went on and on about how well the AK-47 was designed. He stressed that as designers we should be able to appreciate an object’s design on a purely aesthetic level. Do you agree?

A: Fuck no. Fuck him. Fuck the AK-47. Fuck all guns and the people who design them, but especially fuck Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47.

But let’s look at the argument being made. The AK-47 is often cited as a well-designed object. And this case is usually made by pointing out that the AK-47 is easy to use, maintain, take-apart, modify, and manufacture. It’s a model of simplicity. And the original design, introduced in 1948, is still in use, even as the AK family has continued evolving.

He goes on to say...

You are responsible for what you put into the world. And you are responsible for how what you’ve designed affects the world. Mikhail Kalashnikov is responsible for as many deaths as the people who pulled those triggers.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is responsible for as many deaths as the people who pulled those triggers.

This is bullshit, and I 100% disagree. Mikhail Kalashnikov is not responsible for the deaths of everyone killed by an AK. Designers are free from other people's morals. This isn't to say designers are moral-less human beings, but you do not get to decide if someone's designs are moral or immoral.

And that attempting to separate an object from its function in order to appreciate it for purely aesthetic reasons, or to be impressed by its minimal elegance, is a coward’s way of justifying the death they’ve designed into the world, and the money with which they’re lining their pockets.

We separate aesthetics and function all the time! Classic cars get less miles to the gallon, are harder to drive, and are environmentally unfriendly compared to a Hybrid but no one looks at a Prius and thinks how beautifully designed it is when compared to a 1969 Ford Mustang.

Without sounding too pro-gun, because I do believe the United States needs to take a long hard look at how easy it is to get a gun, the fact is no gun has ever chosen a target. No gun has ever made the decision to kill someone. A gun is a tool, you can take a gun to a shooting range or to a battlefield. It does not care because it cannot care, tools help accomplish a task but a tool cannot will itself into existence without the help of a human being. We are the immoral ones, not the designs we create.

The AK-47 is so simple even a child can use it!

Let's not single out Kalashnikov because the AK-47 is a "dirty gun". The Colt Peacemaker, by all definitions the classic cowboy gun, is a borderline sex symbol in the United States but you never hear anyone say Samuel Colt is responsible for all those deaths. This is because anytime you see a war torn country, or a child soldier, they are carrying an AK-47. This isn't due to how easy it is to use, or how accurate they are (not very), but due to the simple fact that they have been in constant production since 1949 and are abundantly available, if it was an American made Smith & Wesson would they get the same bad wrap as the Kalashnikov? Probably not.

Now don't think I'm some gun nut or some moral-less bastard who believes we should design more efficient ways to kill one another, I just don't believe that designers should be held responsible for how their designs are used.

Is Albert Einstein responsible for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to the Einstein-Szilard letter urging President Roosevelt to start a nuclear weapons program?


Windows 10 nVidia Drivers

If you have updated to Windows 10 and have an nVidia Graphics Card (in my case, two 970s) and are having issues with installing driver software follow these steps.

Before we begin, download the latest drivers from nVidia here, extract them somewhere you can locate easily, but do not install yet!

  1. Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings (on the left hand panel)

  2. Once there under the Hardware tab select Device Installation Settings and make them match the image below.

  3. Navigate to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager and uninstall and drivers of devices with a "!" icon, it will likely say "Display" as the device.

  4. On the Device Manager select Action > Scan for hardware changes, then you should see the graphics card (in my case, GTX 97)0 under "Display adapters". Right click the device and select "Properties", change to the "Driver" tab and click "Uninstall". Make sure to select "Delete the driver software for this device", then click okay.

  5. Restart your machine.

  6. Now when your computer has booted you should have generic drivers, meaning your display resolution will be quite small. Now using the files we downloaded and extracted, run the installation now.

  7. If all went according to plan your drivers should have installed correctly and now you need to restart your machine, after the restart you should be all good to go!


Google Rewards is an Invasion of Privacy That You Agreed To

Google Rewards is an Android app that pays you to take surveys. Most of the payouts range from $0.05 all the way up to $1.00, just for taking simple surveys. But as the old adage goes, if you're not paying for the product, you are the product.
Here's how the story goes: I take my lunch break and walk to a local restaurant, on my way I change my mind and decide that I want Jimmy John's, so I change my path and walk to Jimmy John's, grab my Turkey Tom (no tomato) and then walk back to my office. A few minutes later I get a notification of a new survey available.

I answer the survey and get my few cents reward, but not without getting the feeling that Big Brother Google is up to something. It's known that Google is trying to improve Google Maps walking paths with it's Virtual Reality MMO Ingress, and this is the same vein. Since I walked to Jimmy Johns an unusual way, Google wants to know that route.

Google says this data is anonymized, which very well may be but in the end Google got the data it wants, another walking route to my local Jimmy John's.