Tag Archives: ethics of design

Designing the Humanity Out of War: VIDEO of How to Kill People

Remember way back when we talked about George Nelson’s anti-weapons tv show from 1960? Well, the magic of Youtube has made this critical gem available to us all.

Now, Nelson was no lonelygirl15 and the production values are miserable by today’s standards but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. Things get really interesting when Nelson pulls out a snub-nosed revolver at 13:10 (just after his shout-out to da Vinci). He also discusses the creation of drones around 18:48. Towards the end of the spot, he even calls out the toy industry for teaching our children about the importance of weapons. But one particular phrase continues to stick with me:

“Modern design has a sleek deadliness

unmatched in all recorded history.”

Nelson’s ideas are no less pertinent for our own time. Designers still create objects for war and nations still allocate a large amount of resources for the creation of novel or improved forms of killing. Those improvements further distance those killing from those killed. But does the safety of greater remove come at a price?

 Thank you to gnelsonfoundation for uploading.

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