16 July 2012

The Machine and The Ghost

Be the first to share

Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things
Peter-Paul Verbeek
University of Chicago Press, 2011
183 pages
(Amazon link)

Christine Rosen has written a very long and excellent book review / reflection in The New Republic on the recent book on the moral dimension of technology by Prof. Peter-Paul Verbeek (pictured) of the University of Twente in The Netherlands.

Interaction designers ought to reflect on the fact that Verbeek locates morality not just in the human users of technology but in the interaction between us and our machines. In this affair, human beings no longer hold the autonomous upper hand when it comes to moral agency; rather, Verbeek argues, we should replace that notion with one that recognizes “technologically mediated intentions.”

In a world where new technologies seek to seduce us by invoking the language of self-improvement and where smart algorithms subconsciously bypass our emotional and cognitive “imperfections” in order to make us more efficient, those interested in behavioural change should be aware that this also brings about an increase in moral laziness and a decline in individual freedom. “Freedom, Verbeek says, “is a hollow promise in the absence of agency and choice.”

And all of us would be intrigued to read that Enlightenment principles of human autonomy are according to Verbeek “no longer sufficient grounds for moral thinking in an era whose technologies are as ubiquitous and powerful as our own.” Rosen also quotes Alex Pentland who argues in Honest Signals, his book about sociometers, “We bear little resemblance to the idealized, rational beings imagined by Enlightenment philosophers. The idea that our conscious, individual thinking is the key determining factor of our behavior may come to be seen as foolish a vanity as our earlier idea that we were the center of the universe.”

Be the first to share
22 November 2017
[Book] Making Cities Smarter
Making Cities Smarter - Designing Interactive Urban Applications by Martin Tomitsch Jovis Publishers March 2018, 208 pages Abstract More than half of the world's population is now living in cities, and this number is predicted to rise. This means that …
15 November 2017
[Book] Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation
Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation by Francesca Foglieni, Beatrice Villari and Stefano Maffei (Polytechnic University of Milan) Springer International Publishing, 2018 VIII, 115 pages This book provides accessible, comprehensive guidance on service design and …
3 September 2017
[Book] Think like an anthropologist
Think Like An Anthropologist by Matthew Engelke Pelican, August 2017, 339 pages [Start reading - Amazon link] How does anthropology help us understand who we are? What can it tell us about culture, from Melanesia to the City of London? Why …
31 May 2017
 Intervista a Todd Harple di Intel sul tech-fashion
Ripostato da Medium - English version Il mondo del fashion sta diventando sempre di più digitale — e non si tratta solo di dispositivi da indossare, ma anche e soprattutto di abbigliamento, realizzato con tessuti in cui sono …
8 May 2017
Why service design is the new black — Intel’s Todd Harple on fashion tech
Reposted from Medium - Versione italiana The world of fashion is becoming increasingly digital — and not just wearable devices, but with clothing made from fabrics that actually integrate sensors and technology that can monitor and measure the …
28 April 2017
[Book] Quantitative Ethnography
Quantitative Ethnography David Williamson Shaffer Boswell Press Available April 2017 > Download Introduction > Watch video presentation This is a book about understanding why, in the digital age, the old distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research methods, between the sciences and …
21 April 2017
[Book] The Stuff of Bits – An Essay on the Materialities of Information
The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information by Paul Dourish MIT Press, May 2017 264 pages Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale …
5 April 2017
[Book chapter] Behavioral economics and health
Behavioral Economics and Health Judd B. Kessler and C. Yiwei Zhang Oxford Textbook of Public Health 2014 Behavioral Economics combines the insights of Economics and Psychology to identify how individuals deviate from the standard assumptions of economic theory and …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

30 November 2017
New European study on e-Government initiatives

The latest eGovernment benchmark report of the European Commission shows significant improvement on cross-border availability of digital public services and accessibility of public websites from mobile devices in EU Member states. The study also indicates a need for improvement in transparency of public services delivery and use of supporting technology like eIDs or eDocuments. Performance […]

20 November 2017
Experientia and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo announce innovative partnership

Wide ranging partnership also covers collaboration with design schools and public events on service design “Finding the way forward for independent design means building new business models for service design consultancies in the age of the company buy-out.” Michele Visciola, President, Experientia PRESS RELEASE It seems the business world is finally realising that service and […]

26 October 2017
Epic storytelling with video

Another EPIC conference come and gone, and no, we’re not using “epic” in the way under-10s use it about cool things on the internet. EPIC is the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, one of the most important annual events for practitioners of anthropology, ethnography and related disciplines. Ethnography is one of Experientia’s key methodologies, underpinning […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Service design intern

Service Design Intern: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy Experientia, an international experience design consultancy, is looking for service design interns for our Turin, Italy office, to support research, concept development and design. The ideal candidate will be a holistic thinker and designer, with a systems approach to enable complex service offerings, driven by an understanding […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Senior Service Designer

Senior Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) We are looking for service designers with outstanding design skills, methodical thinking, and experience in designing complex service ecosystems using a human-centered design methodology.   Required 2-5 years’ experience in service design and/or user experience design University and/or advanced degree(s) in Service Design, Interaction Design, User […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Lead Service Designer

Lead Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) Experientia is seeking a Senior Service Designer to lead service design projects from the Turin, Italy office (*) or the Lausanne, Switzerland office. The Senior Service Designer will have experience leading a team of behavioral analysts and service modelers in research and service design projects lasting […]

See all articles