Reading Response 6 – Sarah Grunkemeyer

“It’s about meaning and culture, about adding to what life could be, challenging what it is, and providing alternatives that loosen the ties reality has on our ability to dream. Ultimately, it is a catalyst for social dreaming.” In chapter nine in “Speculative Everything” by Dunne and Raby, they uncover the implications of multiple of realities.

Today, the world is engulfed with negativity, challenges, and limitations due to political, economical, and social issues that are happening all over. It is hard to think out of the box and imagine a different reality when people can’t imagine or have the capability to believe there can be a different way to live through existing social structures. In paragraph one, Duncombe argues that individuals focus to heavily on reason and they overlook the realities that play in our lives. Reality T.V. shows, social apps, and millions of forms of consumer marketing leads people to live in a fantasy and fabricated world. The question that is applicable to this is, why can’t people embrace this fictional reality that individuals already live in? Is society limited by their own imagination? Can a alternative reality be possible if everyone just stepped back and readdress values and ethics through the “real” fantasy’s that people are affected by everyday?

When looking back at history, many historical moments started with one individual. For example, Bel Geddes was a dreamer when it came to his time period in 1939. He imagined new possibilities through implicating technological and rational ways at the world fair; Highways & Horizons exhibit. Designers and forward thinkers can facilitate a dreaming process that unlocks people’s imaginations like Geddes did. We believe that change starts with one individual; they spread their idea to the people who can’t think outside their everyday life which will lead people to become inspired and influenced and will eventually be apart of what that one “leader” stands for.

I believe, the micro-kingdoms are one of the prominent ideas for our future that anyone has had in the readings thus far. Instead of using state or country, the designer uses the word kingdom to seem more imaginative and futuristic. With this kingdom idea, it allows individualism and millions of small experiment free zones to develop its own form of governance, economy, and lifestyle. Speculative design is key to this attitude as it opens up a dynamic space between possible and preferable futures or earlier state “real or unreal.” This fictional scenario of this mirco -kingdom gives the opportunity for people to follow their social dreams and will become a catalyst for public debate.


During my previous internship, they offered several classes to build our leadership skills and get to know ourselves individually and professionally. As I was there, I took the Meyer-Briggs personality test during one of the classes and I find this relatable to the Political chart by Kellenberger- White and the mirco-kindgdoms. What if this personality test is true to who you really are and it could place you correctly in a specific divisions? What if this test could help individuals with their beliefs and values so that possibilities can be sketched out and imagined? With the prospect of offering a suggestion or proposal to someone, it can inspire and influence them to live and build their own utopian or dystopian society.

Take the test to see what they say about you and your personality type, what kind of kingdom would you live in? Would you want to be around similar people? What is your fantasized world?

Reading Response 5

After this reading this, I went to give “Four Futures, Visions of the World After Capitalism,” By Peter Frase five stars on Amazon.

“Four Futures,” is the first reading in this class that I completely aligned with. Frase puts in clear words that we should think about the future more rigorously especially in the categories, automation and climate change. On page four, Frase calls today, “the second machine age,” that this new phase is causing high unemployment, low wages, and 47% of current US employment is dependent to this machine age. In this society, if robots take our jobs, there must be something else to support us, and this is the first time I think the UBI can come into play and help sustain our future if it crashes due to the second machine age. I am someone who fears technology and its power it has over our individualism and communism. No one knows where this technological age is leading us, I find it venerable; that one mistake in the system, can cause everything to crash and that is why I believe Frase words so relatable.

In this world of cybernetics, there are none to very few regulations in technology. On page 12, Frase says “we must locate our problems not in technology but, but in policy.” After reading that, it allowed me to understand that the government must put laws in place to protect us from the tech world. Technology is designed, engineered, and revolutionized to benefit society and to cause no harm. Since little to none can create and enforce policies in our cyber driven society to prohibit problem causing dilemma’s. The purpose is to look beyond the horizon of the future and the veil of events, and realize that we must live in equality and restructure the way we live and the policies live by.

Can you imagine not having text or email when having to communicate?

The age of cybernetics allows us to connect with people and gather information in an entirely different way. When we need to get a hold of someone or chat without verbally talking, we can do it faster than “the speed of light.” What if our cell phones and computers just stopped working, could people handle the anxiety and responsibility of making face to face contact all the time?

Many of us prefer email or text to communicate because we have time to edit and review the content before we send it, so when it comes to having in person interaction, we tend to not be straight to the point and freeze up. It is important for us and society to put ourselves out there and develop our in-person communication. These skills are linked to social agility and emotional intelligence that is essential factors in developing executive presence.

When it comes to my communication abilities, I do lack the skill of public speaking, I am working on getting straight to the point, but I can make eye contact, I can keep a conversation going, and I feel confident going in and making a point in person than behind a screen. Everyday, I practice to be a clearer communicator and less dependent on a mobile device. I believe that technology is AMAZING but has many downfalls because of the way people use it. As I find myself hanging out with my friends or going out to dinner, I look around and everyone is on his or her phone. Can we not even talk face to face when we are with each other? Because of this, I have done a social media cleanse for over three months now. My friends claim “I am the worst texter on earth,” but that is because when I am with my family or friends, I am with them. I am not with my cell phone. I am not wasting valuable time that I could spend being productive or making memories. If someone needs to get ahold of me so bad, they will call me. Then when it comes to social media, I believe it is a great platform for personal expression, business, and marking. I feel like our generation is less focused on their own life but on what everyone else is doing. We are in need for individualism.

What would your life be life if you took a break from your phone? Probably pretty amazing.

New Tech Research – Sarah Grunkemeyer

Tech Source:

YouTube link:

Who owns your face? The HiMirror is a smart mirror that examines your skin that gives you exact metrics of what you can do to improve the current conditions of your skin. The system uses facial recognition and underlying technology to track and log skin firmness, texture, clarity, brightness, and health over the course of hours and days. The technology is still underway about how beneficial it can be compared to the average skin survey via smart screen at places like Sephora and Ulta.

When assessing the face, the HiMirror analyzes the face is things like skin complexion, spots, roughness, wrinkles, pigmentation, hydration, pores, dark circles and ethnic background. The baseline is to track your skin’s condition, monitor changes, make adjustments to your skincare products, and finding a routine that is best for you.

On the contrary, there are not many regulations set into place about this kind of technology that use facial recognition. The questions I ask is: does the National Telecommunications and Information Association have the power to stop the use and accessibility of our faces from being sold to companies or the government for types of data? Could powerful industry representatives take advantage of HiMirror, and sell millions of misguided information to convince someone that they need a new product every single day and cut down the users confidence and their body image? Could the mirror soon be an enemy of society because the device will see much more negatives instead of giving positive feedback? I feel like this smart mirror has a large sum of dark matter surrounded its creation. We must think deeply on this matter, so that one-day these advanced systems do not own our face and our feelings.


Reading Response 4 – Sarah Grunkemeyer

“Guidelines For Envisioning Real Utopias” by Erik Olin Wright sounds like a great book to read, until you actually start evaluating his proposals. As I was reading this article, I found myself reacting like a defensive pessimist, which made me feel uncomfortable because I tend to think like an optimist. Wright’s recommendation toward an unflawed transformation of a capitalist society into a new approach of living starts to sound improbable. Why do I think as if these ideas are not achievable?

At the end of paragraph one, he says, “ And while class struggles certainly remain a central source of conflict in the world today, there is no longer confidence in their potential to provide the anchoring agency for transforming and transcending capitalism.” I feel like they are great ideas but there will never be a win-win situation for all of these alternatives. The political world will never be a common ground where no one wants is to be equally motivated or same level of greed. There will always be someone trying to be richer and powerful than someone else and with that, I don’t think there can be an enormous amount of change. On the contrary, I do believe that little changes can happen over time but how much will the benefit society if people’s beliefs and values are always evolving.

To relate this reading back to a real utopia, I am choosing, “Universal Basic Income Scheme Set For Trials in Barcelona, Utrecht, and Helssinki.” The reason I picked this is because there is currently one thousand residents for two years to test of they raise above the poverty line as an investigation to see if the use this practice in an innovative and create way. The idea of universal basic income relates back to Wright’s UBI proposal focusing on desirability, viability, and achievability.

My case study I chose to support the success or challenges of this UBI scheme is:

In India, their universal scheme is currently being tested with villages and communities beyond the poverty line. In this article, the founder’s show more than ten successes due to this basic income, but since this is the organization that supports the UBI, they are showing some bias toward the topic. Also, communities that lack any to none resources to live, any source of support can improve their way of living. What they do state is, that “all targeting methods have high errors but old-style paternalism must be rejected and a new progressive system must be constructed.” So what I believe needs to be tested to see if Wright’s UBI proposal focusing on desirability, viability, and achievability can work out is to see if it can work out in a middle or higher class.

Reading Response Three – Sarah Grunkemeyer

Reading Response 3:

 What is dark matter? Dark matter is approximately 83% of our universe and is virtually undetectable. It is essentially every problem in organizations, culture, and the structural relationships that the world will not unlock and fix for many years to come. In the book, “Dark Matter And Trojan Horses” By Dan Hill explores the opportunities designers could have with the inquiring the skills and knowledge of strategic design. Strategic design is about applying traditional design to the “big picture.” This idea redefines how problems are approached and aims to deliver a resilient solution to the dark matter that surrounds our “missing mass.”

This reading is significant into seeing the big picture in design because as an observer to flaws in the architecture of systems in the today’s society, we must generate wider change in our problem solving. We must think in a larger context like Eliel Saarinen speaks of. He says, “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, and environment in a city plan.” Does that thinking process Saarinen developed help you understand the purpose and significant of strategic design? What we design is just a start of a complex net of relationships and by considering it’s intent, can create a successful outcome of this move to overcome dark matter.

Instead of copying and pasting design work, which will only cause more “wicked problems,” we must be innovative. We need to train ourselves and others to see patterns, make connections, and understand relationships because everything is a decision and we must know how to choose the influential one. Figuring out how to make small moves in this complex system of life, we can cause a shift of change. Reflecting on Kevin Slavin, “These are things humans write, but no longer can read.” As designers, we have to know how to read before, during, and after frameworks so that our plans can minimize dark matter.

Personal Source:

The reason I find this source so relatable with this reading is because the issues society is dealing with; healthcare, education, public safety, economic development, Ext, is the cause of dark matter. Every city is facing failure with these problematic systems that are yet to be fully understood or corrected due to a large chunk of ignorance.

In “Dark Matter and Trojan Horses,” John Lanchester is quoted,” Failure wasn’t so much the absence of attention to individual details as it was an entire culture to do with the primacy of business, of money, of deregulation, of putting the interests of the financial sector first. This brought us to the point in which a belief in the free market became a kind of secular religion. The tends of that religion are familiar… all debatable contestable positions – but in Angelo-Saxon world we forget to contest them.”

I find this significant with this article because as designers, we sometimes forget that a good system can be better. Even if people seem content with this religious like practice for such ways in our society, we but challenge them to create a better and stronger way of living.

Reading Response Two – Sarah Grunkemeyer

“In my view it is high time, in the light of decades of declining growth, rising inequality and increasing indebtness – as well as of the successive agonies of inflation, public debt and financial implosion since the 1970s – to think again about capitalism as a historical phenomenon, one that has not just a beginning, but also an end.” How will Capitalism End. By Wolfgang Streeck

Gathering thoughts on such a topic can be challenging at times when I am at a beginner level for my knowledge on capitalism. After studying some articles, I am starting to form my own thoughts on this capitalized/democratic society I have been living in for 22 years (FINALLY)! Streeck’s quote from above communicates where capitalism is going in our society today. Why, because this idea no longer is resonating with a large population of our nation, the younger generation. We understand that a successful civilization is not sustainable with unequal opportunities. Education and health care is not accessible to a significant part of this country, and without those two substantial themes, how can one truly succeed individually and as a whole?

The one thing that capitalism does do, it inspires individuals to be innovative. Capitalism never fails the 1% but everyone else trying to make a living, so the majority of people find themselves motivated to discover a new way of succeeding. These people are fighting for new ways to improve the system which will allow them to enhance their own lifestyle and the group of people that are being affected by this ongoing battle for the, “American Dream.” But then how far can one or a thousand people go to fight this battle? The conclusion that I came to with this reading is that the innovators need to continue to be motivated for reform and to discover something new before capital “Overdoses from itself.”


The problem with capitalism in America is that not everyone has the opportunity to receive an education and healthcare. On the other hand, France has one of the highest fertility rates in the world due to the speculation of the welfare women are getting for their children. The significance of this is that each of these children is provided with opportunities for healthcare, education, and an opportunity to strive at a young age.

In fact, France provides monthly stipends for families starting with the second child, than if you have more children, the mother will receive more money on top of maternity leave. In result of this, France is falling madly in debt because thousands people are taking advantage of this program even refugees. This European perspective is an interesting play on an alternative way of avoiding certain things in capitalism but is the instability and stagnation of this method have a possibility of improving by the innovative people in America so that we can adopt a way to give everyone equal opportunity?