Marek Tuszynski – Tactical Technology Collective

Tactical Tech is a Berlin-based organisation that operates at the intersection of technology, human rights and civil liberties. They provide training, conduct research and create cultural interventions that contribute to the wider socio-political debate around digital security, privacy and the ethics of data.


Efficiency and Madness

“What matters is not technology itself but the social or economic system in which it is embedded,” writing in his 1980 essay ‘Do Artifacts Have Politics?’ Langdon Winner asserts that in different ways technologies embody social relations, and therefore power. In other words, the design of technologies reflects both the specific social and political moment they emerge from, as well as the world views and values of their designers, architects and engineers. In designing digital technologies ‘for the masses’ the politics of the current social moment ‘come through’ and inherent tensions emerge in tandem. This creates products that are both liberating and limiting, convenient and addictive, productive and destructive, and which ultimately foster both efficiency and madness.

Using these parameters, this talk expands on the idea of design as ‘problem-making’—both intentionally and unintentionally. It asks what responsibility creators need to take for the design of their technologies, how contemporary and future technology designs are impacted by the current socio-political moment, and makes the case for why a new approach to teaching and practising technology design is needed.