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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Design for Evil

March 10, 2019

VCFA MFA in Graphic Design alumna Heather Snyder Quinn selected for CHI4Evil—Creative Speculation on the Negative Effects of HCI Research in Glasgow, Scotland May 5.

Heather’s position paper—based on her design fiction (thesis work)—was selected for The Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference under the theme “Design for Evil” in Glasgow, Scotland May 5th. The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction.



Heather will participate in a workshop titled “Design for Evil.” This workshop will convene members of the human-computer interaction (HCI) community to ask, “How might our technologies be used for the purposes of evil? Through exploring the negative possibilities and consequences of emerging technologies, we hope to comparatively learn more about what doing good means to the HCI community.

In this workshop, we will explore the creative use of HCI methods and concepts such as design fiction or speculative design to help anticipate and reflect on the potential downsides of our technology design, research, and implementation. How can these tools help us to critique some of the assumptions, metaphors, and patterns that drive our field forward? Can we, by intentionally adopting the personas of would-be evil-doers, learn something about how better to accomplish HCI for Good?

Goals of this workshop are to deploy the tools and methods of HCI, drawn from a range of empirical and speculative traditions, to support our collective exploration into the potential misuses of our work.

Short stories are from Part 3 of Heather’s thesis:

Google.Gov—Society of the Panoptic Spectacle
• Memory Engrams
• Anti-Surveillance Mask for Authentic Relationships
• Confusing the Biometric Scanner
• Identity Replacement Technology
• Using Automation Against Itself
• Slander in Augmented Reality
• Invisibility Cloak—Hyperstealth Biotechnology
• The Mommy Makeover
• Cloaking Medication
• Tricking the Smart Toilet
• Teleportation Escape
• Interstellar Coded Message Response Recorded from Outer Space