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What if? Designers and researchers must challenge the dark side of technology

22 February 2023

What if? Designers and researchers must challenge the dark side of technology

How do we create future technologies and at the same time maintain a critical approach to the many new possibilities? A workshop on speculative design challenged the PhD students to take a critical look at the downside of technology.

Speculative design is the name of a relatively new method and independent research approach, which questions the basic assumptions of technology research: that technology is good by definition, that it changes people’s lives for the better and solves the world’s problems.

Read more (in Danish)

About Confronting Data Co-lab

Confronting Data Co-lab is a collaboration between researchers from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen.

The goal of the interdisciplinary group is to focus sharply on the influence of data-driven technological directions our society is leaning towards – and whether it they are in line with shared societal values.

In their work, the researchers include experiences, skills and perspectives from citizens, society and industry in order to see digital technologies in a larger context.

Phd school Previous events

PhD course: Confronting Data Through Design Methods

PHD Course

Confronting Data Through Design Methods

Join this new PhD course and explore different modes of inquiry with data-applying design methods.

The focus will be on the implications for researchers working in the fields of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Participatory Design (PD) and Critical Data Studies, but the course is open to PhD students from all areas of work and design studies.

Lectures by:

  • Majken Overgaard, who is heading CATCH known for its curatorial focus on the possibilities of imagining new technological futures as activism. She is an external lecturer at ITU and the co-founder of Korridor – a new digital art collective – investigating emerging culture and art online right now, such as blockchains, web3 and NFT.
  • James Auger, who is the director of the design department at LMF, ENS Paris-Saclay and co-director of the Centre de Recherche en Design (ENS & ENSCI). He is also an Associate Professor at RMIT (Europe). His work explores ways through which practice-based design research can lead to more considered and democratic technological futures.
  • Naja Holten Møller, who is an Associate Professor at DIKU. She is the founder of the Confronting Data Co-lab, a cooperation of scholars working and acting together in support of the stakeholders we encounter and engage with in our research, focusing on critical public technologies.

The participants gain knowledge of:

  • speculative design as a method
  • how to apply speculative design in practice,
  • and the criteria for evaluating research within this field.

The PhD course is organized by Ass. Prof. Naja L. Holten Møller and PhD fellow Trine Rask Nielsen and Kristin Kaltenhäuser from the University of Copenhagen with support from DIREC.

Previous events

Make your research visible and understood outside of academia

27 september 2022

Make your research visible and understood outside of academia

At this year’s DIREC seminar, we invited PhD students and others interested in making their research visible outside academia to a workshop with Peter Hyldgård who has more than 20 years of experience with science journalism and communication.

Research is the key to our understanding of the challenges in our society, human prerequisites and the abilities of technology. Therefore, it is important that research is made available to as many people as possible.

In the academic world, publications in scientific journals have a very special status, and every year millions of research articles, doctoral theses, books and anthologies are published across the globe and within all disciplines. Unfortunately, very few people read all these publications. It is therefore necessary also to focus on other types of dissemination that can reach a wider target group, as this will contribute to give research a more obvious role in society and makes research more interesting and relevant to the wider population.

At the workshop, focus was on how to tell a good story about your research that everyone can understand – without compromising on the academic content, and how to build a bridge to an audience that does not have any immediate interest in/knowledge of the topic. 

Peter Hyldgård introduced several simple tools for finding a story about one’s research, which can be used in many contexts: When you must seek funding, when you are interviewed by a journalist – or when you must tell your uncle Adam about your work.

The workshop was a mixture of presentations and small exercises, with a slightly larger final exercise where the participants gave a – very short – oral ‘pitch’ of their research.