Tarot cards of tech

The Tarot Cards of Tech are a set of provocations designed by Artefact to help creators more fully consider the impact of technology. They will not only help you foresee unintended consequences-they can also reveal opportunities for creating positive change.

Scale and disruption


The scandal

What’s the worst headline about your product you can imagine?
  • What about your business model would concern users most?
  • In what scenarios could your product cause harm or endanger people?
  • If your product was used entirely opposite of how it’s intended, what does that look like?

The smash-hit

What happens when 100 million people use your product?
  • What would mass scale usage of your product reveal or cause?
  • How might a community change if 80% of residents used your product?
  • How could habits and norms change?

The radio star

Who or what disappears if your product is successful?
  • Who loses their job?
  • What are other products or services are replaced?
  • What industries, institutions, or policies would be affected?

Mother nature

If the environment was your client, how would your product change?
  • What feedback would the environment give about your product?
  • What is the most unsustainable behavior your product encourages?



The siren

What would using your product “too much” look like?
  • How does your product encourage users to engage, and how does it make it easy to disconnect?
  • How does your product respect people’s boundaries and the other parts of their lives?
  • In what situations might it be inappropriate or distracting to use your product?

The BFFs

If two friends use your product, how could it enhance or detract from their relationship?
  • How does your product change or create new ways for people to interact?
  • Does your product fill or change a role previously filled by a person?

The superfan

How would a community of your most passionate users behave?
  • What “rules of engagement” does your product rely on, and how might these be subverted?
  • In what ways might the community be an asset? In what ways might it become a liability?
  • If your product involves discourse, what does positive and negative communication look like?

The big bad wolf

What could a bad actor do with your product?
  • What would predatory and exploitative behavior look like with your product?
  • What product features are most vulnerable to manipulation?
  • Who could be targeted with your product?

Equity and access


The forgotten

When you picture your user base, who is excluded? If they used your product, what would their experience be like?
  • Whose perspective is missing from product development?
  • Pretend the opposite of your assumptions about your core user are true—how does that change your product?

The service dog

If your product was entirely dedicated to empowering the lives of an underserved population, what kind of impact could you make?
  • Who could your product most directly benefit outside of your targeted users?
  • How would your product change to better serve them?

The catalyst

How might cultural habits change how your product is used? And how might your product change cultural habits?
  • What context would an alien from outer space need to use or understand your product?
  • What social norms, etiquette, or traditions could change because of your product?

The backstabber

What could cause people to lose trust in your product?
  • What could make people feel unsafe or exposed?
  • What mechanisms are in place for listening to your users?
  • How will you recognize larger patterns in feedback so that action can be taken?