Assignment #2

Fear of Deciding Alone

 

Inspiration

Recently I have been thinking a lot about my nearly unconscious reliance on some technologies to make or recommend decisions for me. I use Google Maps to move around the city constantly and have genuinely followed recommendations from sites such as Amazon to purchase things I was never planning to buy. Using these decision support AI's is not necessarily a negative thing, they help me save time and can help me make more "correct" decisions throughout my day, but there are potential abuses and societal outcomes that deserve to be looked at critically about the rise and subtlety of decision assisting AI's.

Mark Rolston, of argodesign, recently wrote an article about our growing dependence on these AI's, their ethical and societal implications, and what designers can do about it. In his article, besides introducing me to the term FODA, he presents interesting questions about what a reliance on validation from technology could bring us. 

 

Some questions

Who has control over the support being given to us and what are their motives?
With decisions increasingly based on probability and statistics how can we be anything more than normal?
What happens to risk, or the humanistic notion of what is true, when everything is statistically based on everyone else?
Does removing the “imperfections” of being social humans and replacing it with digital advisors who aggregate, average, and assuage, remove our autonomy?
How do we as designers intervene and bring back an elements of “messiness” and individuality?
How do we make:
‘human centered answers that resist corruption’,
and celebrate necessary human imperfections?
How does a removal of human imperfection and idea of individual truth affect how we interact with one another? How does it change understanding and empathy?
 

A Project

There are so many directions to take from these questions and Rolston's article. I chose to focus on playing with who is in control of the support we get and what are their motives, while also trying to insert moments for human messiness and empathy. To play with this I used the most prevalent decision support in my life, the Directions in Google Maps.

 

Building it

 
Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 11.36.57 PM.png
 
 

Direct Google Route  vs. Walking Past Starbucks on the Way

 

Problems and What Next

 
 

This was a great start and look into creating a tool that provides control over someone's decisions and how they can be positively or negatively manipulated as a result. Now that I have this as a foundation I want to insert shifting way points that are based off of more subtle human factors and not off of the more tangible Foursquare data such as Venues and Reviews.


Skylar JessenComment