Session 5 :: Obligations to the Future

15 mins: Reflection Discussion

Please reflect on your post and comments for the question with your team of 4. 

15 min: Teams answering questions submitted to OLI. 

  • 5-minute discussion 
  • 1-minute reports
I think that in some cases there is an obvious design decision that would most benefit future generations as a whole. However, how might a designer choose between conflicting scenarios that negatively impacts different groups of future generations?
How do you balance the important of designing for the present and the future? For some issues, the solution that would be beneficial for the future might be difficult for the present.
This isn’t about my obligations as a designer, but I question Dator’s assertion that progress is unique to our modern time. Society did progress, and new technology and designed objects have been created all throughout human history. The idea that society as a whole was not progressing anywhere before the industrial revolution completely disregards the immense amount of human progress that laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution, and also completely disregards the non-western societies that were progressing humanity forward even at the times when western society was looking backwards (perhaps during the middle ages). I’d like to see Dator’s reasoning for this claim.

Week 3: Looking at Masdar through the lens of Dator’s readings.

40 mins: Obligations to future generations and Jim Dator’s laws.

(1) Obligation to future generations.

(2) Dator’s three laws.

Download slides for in-class activity here.


(1) Finish Masdar in-class activity (Steps 11-14) Submit a link. 

(2) Do OLI page 15


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