Technologies of Deception


A forthcoming publication by Yale Law School and MIT press

Co-editor for the forthcoming publication by Yale Law School and MIT press

Tehcnologies of deception↗
In March of 2022, the editors were participants at the Information Society’s Technologies of Deception Conference at Yale Law School. The first of its kind, this conference brought together diverse and interdisciplinary speakers from across the globe to discuss deception in technology including, big tech’s massive power, global implications of disinformation, economic implications of automation, and regulatory barriers, among others. The goal—to begin a dialogue of collaboration—how do we connect the dots between knowledge, decentralize power now and in the future, and work together to solve today's wicked problems,

The authors tackled topics such as deep fakes, militant bots, digital workers, surveilled urban environments, cryptocurrency, online exploitation of children, and speculative design for the metaverse. Embedded in these topics were other threads including—what exactly is deception? We discovered that the technologies are not inherently deceptive, rather the humans behind them are. But it's a loaded proposition because deception is also neither good nor bad. Take subversive tech—when the oppressed challenges the oppressor via hacking or tech misuse to counter unjust systems of power. Systematic issues are inherent in tech and the tensions between the elite and the marginalized are magnified when navigating the spaces of the networked world—both physically and virtually.

The fields of architecture and design, despite claiming to be interdisciplinary in nature, do not step far enough outside their sandboxes, and have not truly grappled with the issues of deceptive technologies. Designers and architects create environments and products that utilize tech, but don’t fully understand how to vet the implications—whether an automated urban lighting system, medical device, or chatbot—the invisible networking and underlying connections have consequences for our agency, privacy, human rights and our planet—whether now or in the future.

The publication begins with 10 original essays from the conference and expands beyond those to break the barriers of our disciplinary silos—creating a resource that presents case studies and provocative visuals from art, architecture, design, social science, law, policymaking, and speculative design. Collectively considering different values and ethics, approaches to regulatory action and the democratization of tech to collectively create a better future for all.