“If we lose our human values by having everything mechanized, then machines will dictate our lives.” —The Dalai Lama
Facebook was recently reprimanded for performing a psychological experiment on 700,000 of its members. In order to create a more ‘positive’ experience for its users the company tested the effects of negative content in people’s feed in order to better understand how it affected their posting behavior.
Article: Furor Erupts Over Facebook’s Experiment on Users http://darius.me/UWAZ
To better understand how negative content affects a persons ability to distinguish between perceived and imagined events (something called ‘Reality Monitoring’.) Here is a good study on ‘The Effects of Emotional Content on Reality-Monitoring Performance in Young and Older Adults’ — http://darius.me/Nt1R
There has been speculation that Facebook may have actually cost someone their life by distorting their perceived reality to such an extent that the person lost their sense of purpose and direction in life.
In many ways Facebook’s ‘experiment’ shows that ‘Value Sensitive Design’ is a far better approach than ‘Participatory Design’…
Participatory Design substantively embeds democratic values into its practice and brings to the table important techniques, such as Future Workshops. However, when applied in diverse contexts, Participatory Design may not provide enough guidance when divisive constituencies argue on the basis of narrowly conceived self interests and hostile prejudices: after all, at least in principle, Participatory Design values each participant’s voice, even those that appear uncaring and unjust. Value Sensitive Design is a theoretically grounded approach to the design of technology that accounts for human values in a principled and comprehensive manner throughout the design process. Early interest in computer technology, values, and design emerged in the work Norbert Wiener (1954) and others. ( Source: http://darius.me/9tBt )
“…even when the individual believes that science contributes to the human ends which he has at heart, his belief needs a continual scanning and re-evaluation which is only partly possible. For the individual scientist, even the partial appraisal of the liaison between the man and the historical process requires an imaginative forward glance at history which is difficult, exacting, and only limitedly achievable…We must always exert the full strength of our imagination.” -Norbert Wiener (founder of the CPSR Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility) — Some Moral and Technical Consequences of Automation http://darius.me/uXnP