David Colby Reed Presents Hidden Features: Designing for Democratic Equality Among Future Spacefarers


The New School

The New School

March 11, 2021
7:00pm — 9:00pm ET

David Colby Reed will give a presentation hosted by the New School Policy and Design for Outer Space and the Program in Liberal Studies at The New School for Social Research.

Presentation Title

Hidden Features: Designing for Democratic Equality Among Future Spacefarers

Presentation Overview

Technology designs both presume and shape social and political relations between users and other stakeholders. How might technology designs for space exploration and space economies shape relations between future spacefarers?

This question takes on additional significance in an era in which private space companies assume larger or leading roles in steering the objectives of space exploration, resource extraction, and human settlement. In any long-running private enterprise in space, it will be likely that (public) governance regimes converge on (private) operational and strategic management regimes.

Just as engineers might design for “safety” or “reliability,” policymakers might design for “equity,” or economists might design for “efficiency,” how might space system designers design for the democratic social relations necessary to support self-government in future space societies?

This talk offers a framing of questions of technology, design and social relations, and invites participants to extend these framings to their own work in designing for space exploration. 

Speaker Biography

David Colby Reed is a designer, educator, and technologist.

David is a co-founder of Foossa, the service design and strategy practice, and the Space Governance Collaborative, based at MIT. He has designed public services for the City of New York, storytelling experiences for the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and financial instruments to advance economic security. David is a past Fellow of the Harvard and MIT’s Assembly program, which investigates the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence. David is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), former officer of Manhattan Community Board 6, past trustee of the Awesome Foundation, and a lecturer on leave from the Parsons School of Design.

David has studied cognitive science at Harvard, public policy at NYU, and system design at MIT, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the MIT Media Lab. At the Media Lab, David is a member of the Space Enabled research group, which uses space technologies to advance justice and sustainable development on and beyond Earth.

Registered attendees will receive the Zoom link via email.

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