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Selling Freedom

Join the Design Museum for an evening panel discussion to explore how Californian design has created, and undermined, the pursuit of freedom.

What to expect

Networked objects and smart devices continue to grow exponentially, transforming the world as we know it. Inside today’s smart homes where fridges talk, and lighting, heating and music can be turned on via our phones, we are close to achieving ubiquitous connectivity. But what do we actually know about these connected products and the data they generate?

Relying on artificial intelligence, big data and inter-connectivity, the ethical and practical questions raised by these devices are vast and pressing. Just as they once promised to create a utopia of leisure, now they are more fraught with uncertainty than ever before.

Join the Design Museum to discuss the promised freedom of smart technologies: Do they liberate us to pursue what really matters, or do we become slaves to the machines we create?

Oculus Rift

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Google Glass

Go Pro

Go Pro

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard


David Edgerton

David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at King’s College London. He is the author of ‘The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900’ and numerous works exploring the elusive and confusing notion of ‘technology’.

Judy Wajcman

Judy Wajcman is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, and a Visiting Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute. She has published widely on the social relations of technology. Her recent books include Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism and The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organization, and Social Temporalities.


Justin McGuirk

This event is chaired by the Design Museum’s Chief Curator, and co-Curator of the ‘California: Designing Freedom’ exhibition, Justin McGuirk.

Booking information

Adult £10, student/ concession £7.50, Members £9

For a five day priority booking period Members have access to a limited number of tickets that are available at a 10% discount before tickets go on general release.

Other talks


“Designed in California” is the new “Made in Italy”. While California’s mid-century modernism is well documented, this is the first exhibition to examine its current global reach.