Why Interactive Media Professionals Need to Think About Ethics 9 June 2011 Charlie Mulholland
Welcome  (Or why do bloody designers always change stuff?)
Agenda <ul><li>What is ethics? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do interactive media designers* need to think about ethics? </li></ul...
What is ethics?
Ethical does not always mean “legal” Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3032/3098344728_6393a0b2b0_b.jpg
Not all unethical behaviour is illegal  Source: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1397/5103209989_1b80ed5dd4_b.jpg
Not all laws raise really serious ethical issues
Not everything legal is ethical
Ethics is not the same as a moral system Source:http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/3918806912_cd01fdc7d2_b.jpg
Moral systems consist of values (or ideas of the good) Source:  http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2698/4206363731_d405df68fa_...
“ Ethics begins when elements of a moral system conflict”  (Deni Elliot)
The trolley problem 1 You 
The trolley problem 2 You  A fat bloke 
Community or individual autonomy? Source:  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3396/3215375530_44dd1cb6f8_b.jpg
Truth or harm?
Transparency or privacy?  Source:  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/ico_speaks_to_facebook_on_facial_recognition_te...
Freedom of ideas or desert?
Ethics is about finding  your  way through this maze
But why do interactive media designers need to worry about ethics?
Design decisions are based on values
Values in the goal of the artefact Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3579/3855182335_8c09bc7731_b.jpg§
Values in the quality of the artefact Source:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcNeorjXMrE
Source:  http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2719/4191632639_8774b0e3d6_o.jpg
Values in the processes used
Values in the actual design decisions
So in effect designers are doing ethics for others
Whose idea of what is valuable do/should they use?
Some thoughts on how designers might do this
Use ethical decision models?
… Given the design process probably not!
Examine your own values
Understand different ways of thinking about ethics
Research stakeholders values
Use appropriate tools
Persuasion
Nudges
Scripts
Okay, this is all very well Charlie, but why should we bother?
First the bad news: ethical thinking gives us choices not answers
We may not like any of the choices
But as designers we must choose Source:  http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5007/5262645427_a47dba0232_b.jpg
Doing ethics is inspiring Source:  http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2786/4325390829_dfdaf61030_o.jpg
We can explain our choices to ourselves as designers
Further information <ul><li>Reading - Approaches to Ethical Dilemmas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rechtvaardigheid  – Michael J. ...
Thank you for your attention Twitter: @charliem5 Email c.mulholland@hva,nl Source:  http://farm1.static.flickr.com/72/1901...
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Why interactive media professionals need to think about ethics 090611

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Lecture to students of CMD AMsterdam on why interactive media professionals (designers) need to think about ethics when doing their work.

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  • Why this slide – Excel 2008 “stole” a number of features from me (macros &amp; print preview) that started me thinking about how designers make decisions. In this case I was thought it through and I decided that Microsoft was more interested in another type of user than me. Was this decision deliberate or accidental? If it was deliberate did they really have the right to do this to me – I was miffed. If it was accidental, then they were pretty crap designers!
  • Structure of presentation: What is ethics? Why designers need to think about ethics? How might they do this? Why bother? Argument: based on the idea that designers (at least sometimes) do ethics for their users, this is quite a responsibility and needs to be handled with care – thus designers need to be aware and think about ethics.
  • Dismiss two misconceptions of what ethics is and then outline quickly one view of what it actually is.
  • ▼ Ethics is not the same as the law
  • ▼ What we consider unethical might not be illegal - Lying to a friend or betraying a confidence might be unethical, but it is usually not illegal
  • ▼ Laws do not always concern ethical issues - Parking laws in Amsterdam may not raise serious ethical questions (unless you are a libertarian US politician or Jeremy Clarkson)
  • ▼ Laws are not always &amp;quot;ethical” - Slavery was legal, but was not ethical
  • • We have a morality (a moral system if you will) that acts as a sort of heuristic ( vuistregel ) to help us decide which acts are right and wrong in &amp;quot;normal&amp;quot; circumstances Often based on normal language use call an act unethical when it goes again our moral system, but this does not mean that ethics is the same as our moral system
  • A moral system consists of a web of values, in most situations this web acts as a sort of heuristic for our decision making – we do not need to think to hard about every act – which is a good thing! However, on occasions the values we have in our moral system clash – this is one of the places where we need to DO ethics
  • Ethics is needed when the values within our moral system clash internally (such as choosing which kidney patient to save when there is only one compatible organ to transplant) or with each other (e.g. choosing between telling the truth or saving a life if a contract killer calls and asks where your brother is in order to kill him)
  • Here you can choose to kill one person rather than five by flicking a switch – would you do it?
  • Here you can choose to kill one person rather than five by flicking by pushing the person off a bridge – would you do it? Is your answer different from the trolley problem 1? If so think about why.
  • Building an extra runway at Heathrow brings up ethical dilemmas – it might for example bring about the conflict between what’s best for the “community” (local people or the world if you believe that air travel is a major cause of climate change) and the individual’s right to free movement (autonomy)
  • Consider a situation where you can either tell the truth and hurt someone&apos;s feelings or lie and spare them the pain
  • Facebook has introduced a new feature – automatic face recognition. If you are tagged and someone uploads a new photo of you, then it is automatically tagged. The default option is on – you have to opt out!
  • All ideas are free so it’s okay to download films, music and software or do the people that turn ideas into reality deserve some reward?
  • ▼ Ethics is a thinking process allowing us to reflect on how we might act in conflict situations
  • Now this is all well and good – a nice topic for a philosophy lecture, but why are we as future designers being asked to think about this? Design is not value neutral - I would say that it is because by designing you sometimes (always?) do ethics and you do this for others not yourself . A designer often has to chose between conflicting values when designing or researching for design. This choice is made based on some (conscious or unconscious) conception of what is good – or “the good”. By doing this choosing, designers impose the values and conception of the good on others – this is not uncontroversial!
  • There are two min ways that designers make decisions about values in their work: - By embodying the good in the artefacts they design - By embodying them in their processes
  • The AK-47 was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov a Russian WWII tank commander to ensure that the Soviet Army would never be defeated again. You could argue that values he built into the product were honorable (patriotism if it doesn’t go too far can be a positive value). However, his design was so successful that it has become the most deadly weapon in the world (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/24/AR2006112400788.html) .
  • The Ford Pinto was a compact car with “good” fuel economy launched in 1971. At a very very late stage the Ford designers discovered that there was a risk that in the event of a back end collision, the car would catch fire (due to the position of the fuel tank). Ford executives calculated that the cost of fixing the problem would be around $137.5m. They then estimated that around 180 people would die and 180 would be injured leading to a total compensation cost of $49.5m ($200,000 per life and $67,000 per injury). They used the cost benefit analysis to argue that they should not fix the quality problem. In the end 500 people died and many more were injured before the car was recalled
  • The Ford Pinto was a compact car with “good” fuel economy launched in 1971. At a very very late stage the Ford designers discovered that there was a risk that in the event of a back end collision, the car would catch fire (due to the position of the fuel tank). Ford executives calculated that the cost of fixing the problem would be around $137.5m. They then estimated that around 180 people would die and 180 would be injured leading to a total compensation cost of $49.5m ($200,000 per life and $67,000 per injury). They used the cost benefit analysis to argue that they should not fix the quality problem. In the end 500 people died and many more were injured before the car was recalled
  • Marc Steen of TNO describes a Human Centred Design project carried out with the Dutch police – a decision was made to focus on improving communication between emergency police and community police. This decision led to a idea of what was important when evaluating the user’s input and resulted in filtering out information that could have been important to the project. The decision to use UCD involves saying that the user has more value!
  • A paper (or plastic) cup is an example of an idea of the good embedded in the design of the object. The design suggests “throw me away I am not reusable”. Many coffee machines and takeaway coffee outlets do not make it easy for the user to use more sustainable coffee cups (for example their own ceramic cup), this is partly responsible for increasing landfill and overuse of resources.
  • To design means making decisions about values – designers have to decide what is more valuable? Design would be impossible without making these decisions, but designers need to be aware that by doing this they are doing the user’s (and perhaps their client’s and/or society’s) ethical thinking for them! This, I believe is important.
  • Designers therefore use certain ideas of “the good” in their work. These might be their own ideas, designers for example might feel that values such as beauty or balance or elegance are more important than liberty or accessibility. These might be the ideas of their client, such as efficiency or profit. Or they might be the ideas of the prevailing ideology. Whatever their source they tend to impose an idea of the good on the user. As a liberal in the Mill tradition my conception of “the good” tends to be biased towards individual autonomy as long as it does not cause harm to others. As a result embodying one conception of the good (and it associated values) in a design feels uncomfortable (to me). However, I know that in reality designers have to do this! So they should consider the ethical implications of their choices. Even if you do not agree with my view of the good, it seems clear to me that given the tendency of values to conflict we should not impose an idea of the good without reflecting on it carefully. So to me doing ethics is an essential part of design.
  • This is work in progress!
  • The classic tool in practical ethics is to use an ethical decision model – a step by step process that will help you identify the issues and uses positions to help you look at the implications. However, I tried this for design and this is what I came up with. Would it work?
  • This is my best info graphic ever (that’s sad but true)
  • So what can designers do to help them deal with having to do ethics for others. Firstly, they need to reflect on their own values and put them in context. Designers tend to value things such novelty, originality, beauty and elegance more than non-designers. Being aware of their own values will help them to be careful when making decisions for others – originality might be important for the designer, but if this gets in the way of user convenience then perhaps it is not the right value.
  • Learn about different ethical theories Virtue - Aristotle Deontological - Kant Consequentialitist - Mill Justice as Fairness - Rawls There is a link to a good book covering these positions at the end.
  • Designers carry out research and this can (and should) include research into the values of the different stakeholders
  • Once the designer starts working on solutions, then it is helpful to think of different ways of building values into artefacts. One categorization is: Persuasion Nudging Directive Scripts Each one has a different effect on the users ability to exercise their own autonomy – Directive Scripts leave the user with very little choice.
  • Persuasion involves making it easier for the user to do something that would benefit them (or others). The important thing is that the persuasion must be done ethically (it must be honest and work with the best interests of the user at heart).
  • A nudge something that makes it easier to do something that would benefit the user (or another) and makes it harder to do something else that may not benefit the user (or another). Nudges still give the user the choice, but they rely on the tendency for people to choose the simplest path to be successful.
  • A directive script is something that is designed to ensure that the user to behave in a certain way. Scripts allow the user little choice, do what want or don’t use the product. Directive scripts give the user less autonomy. This is not per definition a bad thing, but it is important to use directive scripts carefully.
  • ▼ Ethical thinking rarely gives us the &amp;quot;right&amp;quot; answer • It doesn&apos;t even give us clear answers ▼ Usually ethical thinking will give us choices - we still have to decide
  • Quite often we will not really like any of the choices
  • For a designer not choosing is a choice – you have chosen to not deal with the problem, so you have chosen to let the problem carry-on being a problem! So doing ethics is an essential part of a designer’s work, if you cannot avoid it, then at least do it well.
  • Another reason that designer ought to care about doing ethics is that the problems and restrictions raised by doing this can help generate creative and more effective solutions. If you understand the values of stakeholders you might actually find a way to reconcile them and develop a product that resolves dilemmas
  • Finally and perhaps most importantly – as designers if you do ethics with integrity and strive to find the best possible solution then you can explain your decisions to others and to yourselves without the need to feel ashamed. My experience of designs is that few do this sort of work for money or recognition: they do it because they want to make the world better. If you accept that design is about doing ethics for others, then it is important that you actually do this to try to make the world better.
  • Some resources if you want to find out more
  • Why interactive media professionals need to think about ethics 090611

    1. 1. Why Interactive Media Professionals Need to Think About Ethics 9 June 2011 Charlie Mulholland
    2. 2. Welcome (Or why do bloody designers always change stuff?)
    3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>What is ethics? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do interactive media designers* need to think about ethics? </li></ul><ul><li>Some thoughts on how designers might do this </li></ul><ul><li>Why should designers bother? </li></ul>
    4. 4. What is ethics?
    5. 5. Ethical does not always mean “legal” Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3032/3098344728_6393a0b2b0_b.jpg
    6. 6. Not all unethical behaviour is illegal Source: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1397/5103209989_1b80ed5dd4_b.jpg
    7. 7. Not all laws raise really serious ethical issues
    8. 8. Not everything legal is ethical
    9. 9. Ethics is not the same as a moral system Source:http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/3918806912_cd01fdc7d2_b.jpg
    10. 10. Moral systems consist of values (or ideas of the good) Source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2698/4206363731_d405df68fa_b.jpg
    11. 11. “ Ethics begins when elements of a moral system conflict” (Deni Elliot)
    12. 12. The trolley problem 1 You 
    13. 13. The trolley problem 2 You  A fat bloke 
    14. 14. Community or individual autonomy? Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3396/3215375530_44dd1cb6f8_b.jpg
    15. 15. Truth or harm?
    16. 16. Transparency or privacy? Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/ico_speaks_to_facebook_on_facial_recognition_tech/
    17. 17. Freedom of ideas or desert?
    18. 18. Ethics is about finding your way through this maze
    19. 19. But why do interactive media designers need to worry about ethics?
    20. 20. Design decisions are based on values
    21. 21. Values in the goal of the artefact Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3579/3855182335_8c09bc7731_b.jpg§
    22. 22. Values in the quality of the artefact Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcNeorjXMrE
    23. 23. Source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2719/4191632639_8774b0e3d6_o.jpg
    24. 24. Values in the processes used
    25. 25. Values in the actual design decisions
    26. 26. So in effect designers are doing ethics for others
    27. 27. Whose idea of what is valuable do/should they use?
    28. 28. Some thoughts on how designers might do this
    29. 29. Use ethical decision models?
    30. 30. … Given the design process probably not!
    31. 31. Examine your own values
    32. 32. Understand different ways of thinking about ethics
    33. 33. Research stakeholders values
    34. 34. Use appropriate tools
    35. 35. Persuasion
    36. 36. Nudges
    37. 37. Scripts
    38. 38. Okay, this is all very well Charlie, but why should we bother?
    39. 39. First the bad news: ethical thinking gives us choices not answers
    40. 40. We may not like any of the choices
    41. 41. But as designers we must choose Source: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5007/5262645427_a47dba0232_b.jpg
    42. 42. Doing ethics is inspiring Source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2786/4325390829_dfdaf61030_o.jpg
    43. 43. We can explain our choices to ourselves as designers
    44. 44. Further information <ul><li>Reading - Approaches to Ethical Dilemmas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rechtvaardigheid – Michael J. Sandel (http://www.bol.com/nl/p/nederlandse-boeken/rechtvaardigheid/1001004007574351/index.html) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Michael Sandel is an excellent teacher and the above book is based on his lectures at Harvard – you can watch these at http://www.justiceharvard.org/ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Reading - Design Tools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Persuasive Technology – B.J. Fogg ( http://www.bol.com/nl/p/engelse-boeken/persuasive-technology/1001004000738144/index.html) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nudge - Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein (http://www.bol.com/nl/p/engelse-boeken/nudge/1001004006450765/index.html) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design With Intent – (http://www.danlockton.com/dwi/Download_the_cards) </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. Thank you for your attention Twitter: @charliem5 Email c.mulholland@hva,nl Source: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/72/190169989_308029fa25_b.jpg
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