Background

New digital technologies such as Blockchain and smart contracting are rapidly changing the face of value exchange, and present exciting new opportunities for designers. This workshop will explore the implications of these existing, developing and future technologies using the lens of Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). DAOs introduce the principle that products and services may soon be owned and managed collectively and not by one person or authority, thus challenging traditional concepts of user communities, ownership and power. Designers and data specialists are at the forefront of exploring new ways of exchanging value, using Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracting and the direct exchanges between things made possible by the Internet of Things. These novel technologies mean that concepts of value and value exchange are being challenged in a variety of ways, and, far from being neutral, these innovations are entangled with and are co-producing novel political, economic, social and material arrangements, raising questions of ethics, privacy and the sociopolitical implications of new forms of distributed authority. Examples include The DAO, an autonomous business unit underpinned by smart contracting, and the BitBarista, a small-scale autonomous coffee machine which manages its own service and supply relationships. This one-day participatory workshop will combine presentations, case studies and group work sessions to understand, develop and critique these new forms of distributed power and ownership, and to practically explore how to design interactive products and services which enable, challenge or disrupt these models.

Download the accepted workshop paper here.

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