The Dark Side of Design


A second Raft podcast focused on dystopian futures, difficult topics, current trends, and outlying elements for designers. Each week the show opens up discussions on philosophical, uncomfortable, and emerging topics for those in the user experience industry.

Episode 7

We want to be controlled

Are we demanding corporations control what we see and what we read? That we no longer want autonomy over such topics? Fake news is becoming more problematic and hotter topic within our daily lives. People are demanding companies such as Facebook do something to censor fake news on their platform. However what happens when we go down this path of asking companies to control what we see and read and give up the freedom to choose ourselves.

Episode 6

All my friends are dead

Starting from, guests Bessy Kim, long time Lets Fix Things host Guus Baggermans, and Joe Fletcher discuss the idea that if a person has more digital touchpoints than physical with friends, do they need real friends at all. They look at what “real” may mean looking forward and if there is a social problem with bots replacing friends.

Episode 5

You're always being rated

Digital ratings systems, such as star ratings at Amazon or Airbnb, are meant to inspire and build trust. But what happens when rating systems are used to control behavior. Worse, what happens when ratings against individuals are not about the individuals themselves, but the experiences around those services. This week we look at the negative effects of ratings and why designing the overall experience now matters more than ever.

Episode 4

The authoritarian blockchain

Blockchain has been proclaimed as market changing technology. A public method to track transactions and exchanges. But what if Blockchain is used in nefarious ways? As opposed to providing freedom through clarity, it can install authoritarian rule through tracking? In this weeks discussion we look at what happens if Blockchain is used to track and manage people and what happens if the chain is controlled by those in power.

Episode 3


Note, if the topic of death or suicide is difficult, this might be an episode to skip. Perhaps we've been asking the question wrong - it's not what happens when you die, but rather what is left of you after you die. As people strive to live forever in some form, the idea of who we are in death has never been more prominent. How we're remembered, and how we are perceived after death is slowly becoming a product to sell. Do designers have a role in creating such a product? Can people alter their lives as they move into their afterlife? If perception is reality, then is what we remember fungible? Should we indeed change history for those who are gone?

Episode 2

When designers decide mortality – from trolley and cars

If designers are still asking for a seat at the table, no seat is more important than that of a person who decides life and death situations. With the rise of self-driving cars, the inevitable decision of who lives and dies will eventually need to be designed. This week we look at the uncomfortable position of designing for situations of death around self-driving cars, why it makes designers so nervous, and why it's also important they are part of the conversation.

Episode 1

Designing for personal digital security

The first full episode opens the discussion on what digital security means for designers and why it's important. Security of digital systems has long been the responsibility of developers and engineers. But now that digital security is a day-to-day topic for consumers, how do things need to change? What needs to be done to ensure that personal data, personal dwellings, and products at large, are safer and more secure.


Welcome to the Dark Side of Design

A short introduction to the new philosophical, dystopian, and reflective podcast from Raft