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Design Futures

Boyu Ding

Boyu is an experienced industrial designer with an interdisciplinary background in the study. During the course of Design Future Platform at the RCA, he studied future design methodology with Professor. Carolina and Professor. Oron.Catts. As a senior design student, his curiosity spans different areas of interest from historical events, political & social movements, to emerging technologies. Exploring these areas with hidden connections has empowered him with a shifted perspective and unusual inspiration to envision future social trends.

He insists on basing design practice on solid historical research and current clues and optimizing its viability through multiple technology-driven iterations of prototype testing throughout his design journey. 

The Great Cheater


Throughout his journey of the graduation project, Boyu has worked to implement the core tenet of the Design Future Pathway - Design for unsettling future. His project - The Great Cheater, takes a new approach to envisioning how people will respond in a reality where AI surveillance and management is rapidly deployed and summarizes the unsettling implications of such developments and responses.

Algorithmic Management has become the preferred method for companies to track and manage their employees, ranging from precise rules and regulations, to punching machines and wearable devices. With the rise of Machine-Learning technology, advanced AI management has been increasingly embedded in work environments, keeping a close eye on employee’s behaviour, movement and productivity at all times. This project aims to investigate strategies that workers could use to fight against AI management. It envisions a probable future scenario in which people use Deepfake videos, and Machine Learning Mouse hacks to cheat AI management. It also leads us to explore an unsettling and emerging reality - technology eating itself.

·Technology Eating Itself

·The Design Journey and Iterations




Cybertonia is a futuristic design experiment that envisages a near-future scenario in which data interchange and share between business giants and governments have controlled society's lives. It has become the most potent weapon for value exploitation from public and class domination. To investigate this issue, his mind shifted from the perspective of individual data security that has been widely researched to the view of social activists to consider how they will create a disruptive theory, a provocative wave of thinking, and organizations to challenge the political system and value exploitation. He proposes a way forward and direction of possibilities for future resistance to digital totalitarianism by doing this project. Meanwhile, based on this perspective, to provoke a critical reflection on the relationship between data and society's value.

·Cybertonia Digital Commune

·Iteration 01

·Iteration 02

The Great Cheater — Open-source machine learning objects as a new strategy to respond to artificial intelligence surveillance.
Narrating the Scenario 01 — An employee successfully find deceptive strategies on open source websites and order accessories and 3D printing services according to guidance.
Narrating the Scenario 02 — The ordered open-source components and printed models are delivered and assemble them according to the instruction.
Narrating the Scenario 03 — Import the training codes and configuration files into the objects, and start recording a Driving Source.
Narrating the Scenario 04 — Recording completed; use this object again before he is about to leave work.
Narrating the Scenario 05 — Photo source acquisition completed; the deepfake video is being generated by the ML program.
Narrating the Scenario 06 — Deepfake video generated and ready to cheat; cover the laptop’s camera with the imaging hole.
Narrating the Scenario 07 — Configure the mouse hack object and run the program as instructed; ML program is generating human-like fake data to trick Ai while this employee is dancing.
Narrating the Scenario 08 — The program is still running when this employee is speculating on the stock.
Narrating the Scenario 09 — Because of the open-source strategy, people can even develop some of their own version, the parasitic fungi-liked mouse hack is developed by another user based on the same code.

This project envisions a probable future where a new strategy for tackling AI management is created. During the exploration, it leads us to find that technology is eating itself. One of the most sophisticated technologies becomes more problematic when more people engage with it. The confrontation arises when the three different applications of a single technology encounter in a closed physical space. In this case, the only thing we can trust is non-mediated.


PLA by Filamentive UK; PLA Matte by Filamentive UK; TPU 85A by NinjaFlex® USA


18.5cm x 10.5cm x 11.5cm; 9.5cm x 10.5cm x 11.5cm
Mouse Hack Prototype 01: Constantly Rotating Disc
Mouse Hack Prototype 01: Constantly Rotating Disc — The first version of the prototype creates a random and uncontrolled mouse movement trajectory.
Mouse Hack Prototype 02: Algorithms and External Components
Mouse Hack Prototype 02: Algorithms and External Components — This prototype showcases that the mouse movement is pre-determined by algorithms so that it moves logically.
Mouse Hack Prototype 03: Machine Learning and Database
Mouse Hack Prototype 03: Machine Learning and Database — The refined prototype, based on a movement database, autonomously manipulates the mouse to complete decisions and leave a human-like mouse trajectory.
Deepfake Prototype 01: Acquisition and Transferring
Deepfake Prototype 01: Acquisition and Transferring — The dynamic diagram demonstrates collecting a source photo and a driving video of my own by the open-source device and transferring them to an independent GPU.
Deepfake Prototype 02: Synthesizing and Generating
Deepfake Prototype 02: Synthesizing and Generating — The synthesized deepfake video matches the real-time context(time, light, clothing, etc.). The character in this video fully matches my biometric features.
Deepfake Prototype 03: Participation and Reliability
Deepfake Prototype 03: Participation and Reliability — This dynamic diagram shows the reliability test of the machine learning algorithm generating deepfake videos and demonstrates its mechanism.
Operation Diagram of Object A: Deepfake Maker
Operation Diagram of Object B: ML Mouse Hacker
Deepfake Maker
Deepfake Maker — Convenient assembly from open-source components to the finished object.
ML Mouse Hacker
ML Mouse Hacker — Convenient assembly from open-source components to the finished object.

Development Tools:

Raspberry Pi OS & P; Arduino UNO ;

OV7670 Camera; LCD 3.5inch Display; Servo;

IFTT -Online IoT Platform & Esp8266; Python;

Scenario Diagram — Demonstrate how the Cybertonia Digital Commune works
Prototype 01 : The Process of Achieving Commune's Goal
Prototype 01 : The Process of Achieving Commune's Goal — Collect and filter internet browsing data of commune members and store it in a database.
Prototype 02 : The Process of Achieving Commune's Goal
Prototype 02 : The Process of Achieving Commune's Goal — Harvest and filter out IoT device connections, usage information and initially defining user models.
Animation Deduction: Filtering and Harvesting Data at Home and on Mobile Phones
Animation Deduction: Filtering and Harvesting Data at Home and on Mobile Phones
Prototype 03: The Portable Port and Low Fidelity Virtual Commune

By 2028, digital totalitarianism, dominated by governments and business giants, will have reached its peak with the economic value of data and information being entirely captured by a few politicians and capitalists. For activists and new digital communists, the current digital system and value exploitation pose a severe threat to the individual’s existence and survival. They seek to use their radical behaviour to impact the existing social order and move towards an independent society. In 2030, the digital communists have fulfilled their promise - to build a new paradise where horizontal relationships of trust replace vertical relationships of authority. Fairness, mutual trust, and value-sharing become the paradigm of commune claims and values. The return of exploited value to the commune members is their ultimate purpose. The digital commune’ creators define data as an official virtual currency, stored in a place called both a database and a bank, which is distributed weekly to each member-the creator of value, on an equitable basis. Members can choose to exchange their value with outside businesses or use it within the commune. Digital communitarians see this new form of social organization and ideology as a revolt against the real social order.

Main Research Areas:

Speculative and Future Design Methods; Counterculture Movement in the 1960s;

From Counterculture to Cyberculture; Cold War Political and Societal Background;

From Marxism to the Soviet Union; Politics under Stalin Administration;

Key Internet Moments; the Global Economic Commerce - Bill Clinton 1997;

Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow

Development Tools:

Raspberry Pi OS & P; Arduino UNO ;

IFTT -Online IoT Platform & Esp8266;

TFT & LCD Display; Processing Graphic;

Cargo Website Creation; Arduino Mega 2560;

Join the Commune and Protect, Share and Estimate the Value You Created
Join the Commune and Protect, Share and Estimate the Value You Created — Once you join the commune, it will generate a commune passport, a virtual identification. It will record and protect your data while using external devices, and it will estimate and store the value you created during use.
National Financial Background Algorithm
National Financial Background Algorithm — It is the commune's financial institution and is used to store currency and calculate the total output of the commune and distributed wages.
Commune’s Platform
Commune’s Platform — Communicating with other members, freely making comments to the real world, receiving weekly wages, and swapping value with external business and governments.

A personal background check is required for 1 to 2 months before joining this commune, and at the end of the assessment period, a passport with an individual data ID is generated based on the data that the candidate generated during this period. It is the mark of entry into the commune and mutual recognition between members. Your Internet shuttle journey will then be recorded and protected with a complete value assessment. The information on the value you have created will be stored in a national bank and distributed to each member on a fair and random basis, in every cycle - 14 days. Ultimately this data information, defined as currency, can be exchanged for value with external capital, completing the return of data value.

Passport Cover Page and National Financial Service
Member’s Data Identification, Commune’s Platform; Salary & Value Swap Channel
3D and Physical Model Demonstration 01/02
3D and Physical Model Demonstration 03/04


Photosensitive Resin; Plastic; Glass; Stainless Steel;


14.5cm x 8.5cm x 2.5cm