Carl DiSalvo articulates a new way of designing things that, instead of promoting consensus and efficiency, is inspired by the idea of endless antagonism and contestation of social and political norms and arrangements. The goal of this "adversarial design" is not just to build an artifact to fulfill some genuine social need but also to make us reflect on how that need has emerged, how it has become a project worth pursuing, and how it may actually not be worth pursuing at all.
DiSalvo marshals up numerous examples: crime maps that, instead of showing the distribution of crimes on a city map, show which city blocks have the most former residents incarcerated; browser extensions that add information about military funding to the websites of universities or convert all prices on sites like Amazon into their equivalent in barrels of oil; and umbrellas with electric lights that defeat the recognition algorithms of surveillance cameras.
"If we abandon the notion that any one design will completely or even adequately address our social concerns or resolve our social issues," he writes, "then adversarial design can provide those spaces of confrontation -- in the form of products, services, events, and processes -- through which political concerns and issues can [be] expressed and engaged."
from Evgeny Mozorov's To Save Everything, Click Here