Towards an ethics of persuasion

As design becomes more sophisticated in influencing user behavior, it’s important that we start to think critically about the ethical boundary between persuasion and outright manipulation, argues Stephen P. Anderson.

“You can’t discuss a topic like seduction or what motivates people without some awareness that, no matter how playful or well-meaning your intentions are, these things will certainly be abused. So I’m often asked this question on the subject of ethics: “When is it okay (or not okay) to influence someone’s behavior?”

Here’s my simple response: Don’t take on projects that you wouldn’t personally use yourself or recommend to your friends and family.

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