Conference Paper open access publication

Design for Existential Crisis in the Anthropocene Age

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM),


DOI:10.1145/3083671.3083688, Dimensions: pub.1090288203,



  1. (1) University of Sussex, grid.12082.39
  2. (2) London School of Economics and Political Science, grid.13063.37
  3. (3) IT University of Copenhagen, grid.32190.39, ITU


United Kingdom





What should be our orientation to the socio-technical as climate predictions worsen; ecological crises and wars escalate mass migration and refugee numbers; right-wing populism sweeps through politics; automation threatens workers' jobs and austerity policies destabilize society? What is to be done when it is not "business as usual" and even broken concepts of progress seem no longer to be progressing? We ask how to design for the common good, focusing on human needs for meaning, fulfillment, dignity and decency, qualities which technology struggles to support but can easily undermine. We juxtapose the design of computing that offers hope with that which offers only distraction, propose four modes to design for (being attentive, critical, different and in it together) and conclude with a plea to avoid tools that encourage a blinkered existence at a time of great uncertainty and change.

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IT University of Copenhagen

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Times Cited: 20

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 11.19

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Green, Accepted