DI Webinar – Raphael Kim, London

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Navigating Imaginaries of DNA-Based Digital Data Storage

DNA-based digital data storage technology enables a system of encryption, storage, and retrieval of digital data, in the form of synthetic DNA molecules. Driven by distinct attributes of DNA, the technology is hailed as a potential solution for the issues around exponential global data production.

In this talk, a brief overview of the technology will be given, followed by a summary of recent research study in collaboration with Dr Conor Linehan (University College Cork) and Dr Larissa Pschetz (University of Edinburgh), investigating the potential social, cultural, and ethical implications of DNA data storage.

In the study, we hosted a series of online workshops, soliciting 15 participants to engage in grounded speculations on plausible futures of DNA data storage. Themes drawn from the resulting imaginaries and discussions were situated within existing HCI literature, to generate an initial set of design opportunities and challenges for DNA data storage. Early analysis suggests that the system could be designed to 1) facilitate meaningful interactions that are intangible and molecular, and 2) foster better human relationship with more-than-human entities. Furthermore, we highlight the imperative for cross-disciplinary collaborations and pedagogy, to ensure fair and high quality access to the technology.


Raphael Kim is an interaction designer and researcher, investigating human relationships with emerging biological and digital technologies through making, speculation, and DIY biology. In 2020, he gained his Ph.D. degree from Media and Arts Technology programme, Queen Mary University of London, with a thesis titled “Effects of Microbial Integration on Player Experiences of Hybrid Biological Digital Games”. Raphael is currently a visiting lecturer at Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art.

Twitter: @kim_raphael

Website: https://raphael.kim

Running Order

16.00 – Welcome by Larissa Pschetz

16.05 – Talk by Raphael Kim

16.50 – Q&A

17.00 – End

* Please note that this webinar will be recorded *

Online on Zoom