Evie Cheung’s thesis, Alexa, Help Me Be A Better Human: Redesigning Conversational Artificial Intelligence for Emotional Connection, interrogates the status quo of the artificial intelligence (AI) space, and suggests pathways to use intersectional thinking to imagine new applications for the technology. Her thesis intends to help people connect with themselves and with other humans, through interventions that use conversational AI and natural language processing.
For his thesis, Small But Certain Happiness: Finding Fulfillment in a Low Desire Society, Runshi set out to create simple but delightful experiences that reduce the pressures in the day-to-day lives of Chinese youth who feel incapable of achieving goals in their careers and personal lives, so much so that they have been called the “low-desire society”.
Sophie Carrillo’s thesis Unauthorized Play: Design Provocations for Children in Crisis is a year-long exploration on the potential benefits of implementing more play into children’s lives, particularly for children who are growing up in adverse environments. From her research and conversations, two key ingredients of play emerged: risk and agency. This insight launched her into an exploration of what makes kids feel empowered and fearless. Sophie envisioned several design interventions within the play spectrum, ranging from entirely child-led ones to ones directed by schools and parents.
In his thesis, Density is Destiny: Designs for Shared Experience in the Coming Age of Autonomous Vehicles, André Orta envisions a future of optimized ride-sharing, where increasing the density of passengers per vehicle not only alleviates systemic issues like traffic, but also enables new community spaces to flourish inside the driverless, shared vehicles of the near future.
Micah’s thesis, Attainable: Designing for Academic Engagement Through Sports and Exercise, uses methodologies from sports and exercise as a design toolkit to encourage academic engagement in students. Micah designed interventions that provide students with increased focus, communal support, and career opportunities.
After learning of food deserts and food insecurity in New York, Danish designer Gustav Dyrhauge quickly decided to dedicate his thesis, Food Justice: Through the Power of Knowledge Sharing, to food justice and the problem of food insecurity. He designed workshops, services, and experiences in collaboration with Brooklyn youth, towards the goal of job security, food security, and the celebration of cultural heritage through culturally-appropriate food.
As someone who has suffered from public speaking anxiety her whole life, Eugenia Ramos decided to face her fear and treat her condition as a case study and a personal challenge for her thesis, Public Speaking Anxiety: The Environments That Make or Break Us. She designed a set of tools that help people improve their communication skills, overcome the anxiety caused by public speaking.
For Hannah Rudin’s thesis, Teambuilding America: A Declaration of Interdependence, she set out to tackle the issue of political polarization in America. Using the strategies of contact, action, and future-building, Hannah designs interventions meant to bridge political divides and address polarization within society at large, as well as within the workplace and between family members.
In his thesis, Closer Kin: Building Stronger Family Environments by Design, Kevin Cook explores how children’s outcomes could be improved by strengthening family relationships. Kevin argues that for children facing adversity, products promoting positive socio-emotional validation in the home could make children more resilient, allow space for healthier development, and ultimately reduce future inequalities.
For his thesis, There and Never Back Again: Design in the Next Age of Space Exploration, John Boran Jr. designed for “a future that is still far enough to be exciting, but close enough to design for: going to Mars.” John designed practical tools as well as products that addressed the emotional wellbeing of travelers to, and inhabitants of, Mars.