Reading Response One // Heather Weyda

In the first chapters of Speculative Everything the idea of designing for non-capitalistic needs is presented as a way to provide critique and commentary on our everyday lives. Creating design that isn’t necessarily trying to point out flaws in the way things are, but simply trying to make you think about why things are that way. It’s not designing in order to create a solution, but designing in order to generate and inspire more ideas. This “critical design” is meant to point out and present possible futures as a way to reflect on the directions that society could quite possibly be headed, whether it be good or bad. While arguing that radical design is a vital and powerful tool Dunne and Raby state that there are four reasons as to why design that is imaginative, social, and political have become more rare and somewhat unlikely. The first being that design has been hyper-commercialized and seen mainly as a way to sell products. The second being that recently we have seen many examples of non-capitalistic governments result in national tragedies. It’s hard to convince, or even simply show, people that there are other decent ways to live when they’ve lived in a time where they’ve seen the alternatives fail. Thirdly, society has become more about the individual in the sense that people are more likely to do things because they want to do them and encourages people to look out for themselves rather than society as a whole. Lastly is that people do not dream anymore. It’s argued in this book that we have downgraded our dreams into hopes. People do not strive for greatness they just hope that their life is a good one and it’s kept at that. Not only are these reasons as to why radical design has become more diminished, but I also believe these are reasons as to why we need more speculative design.

While the article Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem? isn’t shy about its bias, it does bring up an interesting idea of what would life be after capitalism. If so many people are unhappy with the current state of our capitalistic society when why isn’t anything being done about it? Does it go back to Dunne and Raby’s idea that the wounds are still too fresh from previous socialist attempts? It’s an interesting concept that in today’s time is almost unfathomable. This article suggests that ideally society will make a shift from putting value on individuals based on the amount of capital they have and put more emphasis on their meaning of life and well-being. It’s also suggested that capitalism is a main source of inequality in that most people believe that it is a largely unfair system. Another point made in this article is that capitalism encourages and rapidly increases the depletion of our resources and the demise of the environment. This argument is continued by saying that we, as a society, put more value on money than we do the planet’s well-being.

I found an interesting website that estimates the percent chance of your job being replaced by a robot. This concept itself is a speculative design. It asks the question of what would happen if AI becomes so dynamic that it will replace our need to work? It presents more questions than answers and allows for the user to ask “what if?”