• Design

    Design Fiction, Research through Design

  • Course

    Creativity and Aesthetics of Data & AI

  • Coach

    Stephan Wensveen, Matthias Funk & Janet Huang

  • Collaboration

    Ben de Jong, Lars de Langen & Thomas Pilaet

The process and deliverables

In short

Due to the possibility of a video recording being made and shared at any point or any place people may lose control over their own privacy and digital identity. In this pictorial we aim to get interesting insights by using generative models to address this privacy problem. To do so the concept of Iden is created and a world is built around it through videos and scenarios. Participants are asked to reflect on this world in a qualitative  interview (n=8). Through the insights from these interviews several points of attention have been made for future research and design. You can view all videos from our research on iden-ai.nl



Iden is an independent (fictional) company that started with a focus on public privacy and envisioned a world where people could safely take place in public spaces, safe from data-driven corporations and governmental institutions. Iden searches all footage uploaded to the web for their identifiers and replaces the clients identity with a new anonymous identity. This identity is created with generative models based on a client’s biometric markers. 

After the initial deployment phase, Iden decided to implement different levels of service, ranging from basic to fully personalized generative models, the latter being created by altDesigners. Clients have total control over the level of anonymity Iden provides through a digital application. The client can customise their identity, decide whom they want Iden to protect them from and interact with anonymised images of other clients. Additionally, clients could receive bids on anonymised images or videos from other people who want to know their real identity.

Iden has contracts with governments to only share information of a client when a crime is committed. This is why clients of Iden will need to wear a physical identifier, which is a token or a tag that the AI system can scan instead of faces. It is also possible for all users to make bids for revealing fake identities for a price decided by the owner of the tag.


An important part of the research is showing the complexity that results from the proposed core concept of Iden. We expected, based on internal discussions, that the majority of the complexity will be found in societal differences of perspectives on the concept. We decided to use a more qualitative approach which allowed the envisioned demonstrator to be more elaborate and rich in experience. This would allow for a deeper exploration of these perspectives to gather a set of opinions as points of discussion

Learning points

When it comes to finding new ideas and solutions, I believe alternative perspectives allow for unique insights that move any field forward. Using creativity and aesthetics as a lens to look towards data and AI therefore allows for that required new perspective that designers can bring. Previously, I have used the lens of culture to develop parts of AI, but this course has broadened my sense of the multitude of perspectives still to explore. Even though beforehand I was aware of the majority of the topics, I now am able to take part in discussions surrounding the topic in a more
meaningful manner. 

In practice, I got to further explore my skills in creating design fiction scenarios. What made this project especially interesting within that field, is the opportunity to show points of friction. Where I felt my previous work mainly showed one perspective, I now could deliberately display the friction between three different values that were portrayed by creating different scenarios within ‘one universe’ or overarching storyline. Creating such visionary demonstrators or experiences allows for a more critical and questioning narrative that I would like to fit more into my professional identity. 


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