“Curb the Black Box: Overcoming Techno-Positive Fantasies” presented by Verdeil, Jochem, Schulz and Völp


Session Title:

  • AI – Generative (panels and round tables)

Presentation Title:

  • Curb the Black Box: Overcoming Techno-Positive Fantasies

Presentation Subtheme:

  • Symbiotic Imaginaries




  • The panel aims to explore the diverse range of symbiotic relationships technology enforces, using examples and a custom interactive black box to demystify the metaphor of “black boxes” and its design aesthetics, discussing how designers can mediate human-technology relationships and strategies for a more mutually beneficial symbiotic world.

    Technology appears as the symbiotic partner in human evolution, both co-constituting and always redefining their relationships that are becoming more complex and entangled nowadays. Throughout history, this relationship was one of symbiotic power-dynamics, mediating and guiding our daily interactions within social, political, spiritual, and environmental contexts. Often glorified in techno-positive imaginaries, many technological objects intervening in our daily life and the life of other species appear as “black boxes” – sometimes mystified, inaccessible or alienating but yet omnipresent.

    The panel aims to outline the spectrum and problematics of the diverse range of symbiotic relationships technology enforces – be it mutual, commensal or parasitic ones. Using a set of technology-examples, and with the help of a custom made interactive physical black box as well as speech recognition algorithm visuals mediating the conversation, the panelists seek to unpack and demystify the metaphor of the “black box” and its design aesthetics.

    Revolving around the agency of designers, the panel conversation responds to the question of how human-technology relationships are being mediated through design and what kind of strategies could be followed to open up pathways of a more mutual-symbiotic world beneficially connecting humans, non-humans and technologies alike.