This paper turns to one of HCI's central value systems, i.e. its commitments to usefulness and the ideal that technology enables social progress, productivity, and excellence. Specifcally, we examine how the seemingly positive ideal to make technology useful - i.e. to build systems and devices that advance social and technological progress - masks various forms of violence and injustice such as colonial othering, racist exclusions, and exploitation. Drawing from ethnographic research, we show how design and computing methods from design thinking to agile theory and entrepreneurial approaches in tech production and higher education are the latest techniques in the cultivation of useful bodies on behalf of the state, the corporation, the university, and the economy. Aligning with feminist, critical race and critical computing commitments, this paper ofers a genealogical approach to show how injustice and violence endure, despite and because of a narrative of progress and positive change.