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What We Talk About When We Talk About Ethics in Design

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Eugen L. and 2 others
What We Talk About When We Talk About Ethics in Design


Our next edition of Speculative Futures Berlin is coming up soon! We hope you'll join us at Ellery Studio on July 8th for a talk with Cade Diehm that explores ethics in design.


Can design ethics save design? As the broader design community becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the structures and clients it serves, a growing movement seeks to integrate ethics into design practice. But this prioritizes individual decisions and values over critical analysis of socio-political and economic outcomes. The pop discourse that calls for ethics obfuscates some of the problems inherent in their work, resulting in the celebration of projects that are, at their core, problematic; such as digital wellness, decentralized systems, autonomous cars, and inclusive facial recognition.

Building on the essay “On Weaponized Design,” and an ongoing multi-year research and practice project with Tactical Tech and others, this talk explores how notions of ethics and self-regulation have slipped into the absurd. It examines how the framing of 'design ethics' threatens to neutralize both the critique of outcomes and to limit the potentials of design speculation to contribute to a radically reimagined world.


Cade Diehm is a designer, writer and researcher. His practice focuses on critical theory, human-computer interaction, identity, infrastructure and politics. After prototyping Signal with Open Whisper Systems, he spent four years designing for secure software. He was the head of design at SpiderOak, cultivating design-led information security. In 2017, he joined Tactical Tech as Design Lead, developing an aesthetic framework for the organization’s projects. He has guest lectured at universities in Germany and the UK and has provided information security and/or sensitive design consulting advice to companies, activist groups, and nonprofits in Europe, the US, and Australia.


The event is free of charge. Snacks and beverages will be provided (w/ a donation for beers).


Please note: Speculative Futures Berlin documents events with photos and video. By attending you are consenting to being photographed (images will never be sold or handed off to third parties).
Ellery Studio
Glogauer Str. 19, HH, 4th Floor, Berlin · 10999
How to find us

Ellery Studio is located through the courtyard (in the hinterhaus) on the 4th floor. There is an elevator and the space is accessible for wheelchairs. Please be respectful of our neighbors when entering and exiting the building.

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