Hayes mentioned that there is growing interest in design that has “societal benefits”. I found this a little problematic, because I’m not sure what this means. Everyone probably agrees that design that benefits society is great—fantastic! But what does this mean? I have a few questions, but not really any answers at this point…

What kind of design would not benefit society?

Does anyone actually design things that are specifically meant to be a detriment to society?

(possible answer: critical design)

What is a benefit to society?

How do you define a benefit to society?

Can you measure a benefit to society?

What society are we talking about?

Does this include subcultures within a society?

Does this mean Western society?

How about “developing” countries?

What does “developing country” even mean?

Are we thinking of wealthy members of society here?