Design Against Productivity

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My presentation at the MIT Media Lab Advancing Wellbeing Series, November 14, 2015.

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Design Against Productivity

  1. 1. palaces in time designing against productivity Sebastian Deterding (@dingstweets) MIT Advancing Wellbeing Series, November 24, 2015 c b
  2. 2. <1> the thieves of time
  3. 3. john maynard keynes »Technological unemployment ... means in the long run that mankind is solving its economic problem. Thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, ... to live wisely and agreeably and well.« economic possibilities for our grandchildren (1930) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  4. 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8344872@N05/5166095952
  5. 5. Remember when e-mail was fun?
  6. 6. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/11/hyperemployment-or-the-exhausting-work-of-the-technology-user/281149/
  7. 7. nointernetweek.org
  8. 8. nationaldayofunplugging.com
  9. 9. http://www.strikingly.com/hibernate
  10. 10. http://thedigitaldetox.org/
  11. 11. technology
  12. 12. Give us our time back!
  13. 13. we are the thieves of time
  14. 14. henry david thoreau »There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root« walden (1854) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  15. 15. who are the thieves of time?
  16. 16. <2> better calvinism through technology
  17. 17. horatio alger »Now, in the boot-blacking business, as well as in higher avocations, the same rule prevails, that energy and industry are rewarded, and indolence suffers. Dick was energetic and on the alert for business, but Johnny the reverse. The consequence was that Dick earned probably three times as much as the other.« ragged dick, or, street life in new york with the boot blacks (1868)
  18. 18. benjamin franklin »In short, the Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, Industry and Frugality; i.e. Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary Expences excepted) will certainly become Rich« advice to a young tradesman (1748) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  19. 19. max weber »The peculiarity of this philosophy of avarice appears to be ... the idea of a duty of the individual toward the increase of his capital, which is assumed an end in itself. Truly what is here preached is not simply a means of making one’s way in the world, but a peculiar ethic.« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 51)
  20. 20. max weber »If we thus ask, why should ‘money be made of men’, Benjamin Franklin himself … answers in his autobiography with a quotation from the Bible, which his strict Calvinistic father drummed into him again and again in his youth: ‘Seest though a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings’ (Prov. xxii. 29). The earning of money is ... the result and the expression of virtue and proficiency in a calling.« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 53)
  21. 21. max weber »On earth man must, to be certain of his state of grace, ‘do the works of him who sent him, as long as it is yet day.’ Not leisure and enjoyment, but only activity serves to increase the glory of God ... Waste of time is thus the first and in principle the deadliest of sins.« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 157)
  22. 22. max weber »the state of grace ... could not be guaranteed by any magical sacraments, by relief in the confession, nor by individual good works. That was only possible by proof in a specific type of conduct unmistakably different from the way of life of the natural man. From that followed for the individual an incentive methodically to supervise his own state of grace in his own conduct, and thus to penetrate it with asceticism.« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 153)
  23. 23. enshrined in productivity apps …
  24. 24. and well-being apps …
  25. 25. and quantified self apps …
  26. 26. and personal aspiration apps.
  27. 27. “technologies of the self”
  28. 28. You’ll see.
  29. 29. http://instagram.com/p/KTOGobADKa
  30. 30. learn to hack your own life …
  31. 31. … from the pros.
  32. 32. http://instagram.com/p/KTOGobADKa crunch that crunch! hack that hackathon!
  33. 33. http://instagram.com/p/KTOGobADKa shred that fat! waste not a second!
  34. 34. http://instagram.com/p/KTOGobADKa burn that midnight oil, burn it!
  35. 35. win that game of productivity!
  36. 36. save those seconds!
  37. 37. max weber »Not leisure and enjoyment, but only activity serves to increase the glory of God ... Waste of time is thus the first and in principle the deadliest of sins.« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 157)
  38. 38. gotcha.
  39. 39. But why? what drives us?
  40. 40. this is sparta amazon!
  41. 41. gianpiero petriglieri »The truly talented, we are told, flee obligations to work themselves into the ground. And yet they appear to love opportunities to do so, if presented in the guise of solving big problems, learning, and pushing themselves further.« is overwork killing you? (2015)
  42. 42. gianpiero petriglieri »I (Over)Work Therefore I Am. ... Work becomes a passionate pursuit and a form of self-expression. In a workplace that has co- opted the accoutrements of romance and religion, where CEOs have visions and passionate managers are work martyrs, productivity is not the only aim. Passion, after all, has no concern for efficiency and martyrdom has never been about getting things done. Both have always been about expressing virtue and devotion. And people have long endured pains and trials to claim a valued self, with the belonging and expression it affords.« is overwork killing you? (2015)
  43. 43. erving goffman »Many gods have been done away with, but the individual himself stubbornly remains as a deity of considerable importance.« interaction ritual (1967: 95)
  44. 44. max weber »Work hard in your calling. ... This peculiar idea, so familiar to us to-day, but in reality so little a matter of course, of one’s duty in a calling, is what is most characteristic of the social ethic of capitalistic culture, and is in a sense the fundamental basis of it. It is an obligation which the individual is supposed to feel and does feel towards the content of his professional activity, no matter in what it consists« the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (1930: 54)
  45. 45. gotcha.
  46. 46. <3> calvinism and its discontents
  47. 47. issue #1 more productivity ≠ more well-being
  48. 48. issue #2 more work = less well-being
  49. 49. longer work hours less productivity more stress less time for sleep good food exercise positive experiences socialising family less focus, critical thinking, creativity; more errors more work- family conflict less well-being metabolic syndrome heart disease weight gain hypertension sleeplessness anxiety depression immune suppression Perlow & Porter, 2009; Solovieva, Lallukka, Virtanen et al., 2013; Yamada et al., 2013; Bannai & Tamakoshi, 2014; Goh, Pfeffer & Zenios, 2015
  50. 50. longer work hours less productivity less well-being what keeps this engine running?
  51. 51. longer work hours less productivity less well-being inequality & precariousness McNamara, Bohle & Quinlan, 2010
  52. 52. longer work hours less productivity less well-being inequality & precariousness what keeps this engine running? McNamara, Bohle & Quinlan, 2010
  53. 53. longer work hours less productivity less well-being inequality & precariousness secular calvinism the alger myth
  54. 54. Implicit theory of social changeresponsibilisation of self
  55. 55. “when discipline is reinforced, revolution cannot fail!”
  56. 56. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/small- painless-behaviour-change backgrounding systemic root causes
  57. 57. Chetty et al. 2014, 2014a
  58. 58. benjamin franklin »In short, the Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, Industry and Frugality; i.e. Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary Expences excepted) will certainly become Rich; If that Being who governs the World, to whom all should look for a Blessing on their honest Endeavours, doth not in his wise Providence otherwise determine.« advice to a young tradesman (1748) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  59. 59. benjamin franklin »In short, the Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, Industry and Frugality; i.e. Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary Expences excepted) will certainly become Rich; If that Being who governs the World, to whom all should look for a Blessing on their honest Endeavours, doth not in his wise Providence otherwise determine.« advice to a young tradesman (1748) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  60. 60. longer work hours less productivity less well-being inequality & precariousness secular calvinism the alger myth what keeps this engine running?
  61. 61. the capital sin of acedia issue #4
  62. 62. josef pieper »At the zenith of the Middle Ages, ... it was held that sloth and restlessness, ‘leisurelessness’, the incapacity to enjoy leisure, were all closely connected; sloth was held to be the source of restlessness, and the ultimate cause of ‘work for work’s sake’.« leisure: the basis of culture (1952: 23) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  63. 63. josef pieper »Acedia means that a man does not, in the last resort, give the consent of his will to his own being; that behind or beneath the dynamic activity of his existence, he is still not at one with himself, ... he is a prey to sadness.« leisure: the basis of culture (1952: 24) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  64. 64. http://instagram.com/p/KTOGobADKa issue #5 the death of imagination
  65. 65. ben horowitz »Technology means ‘a better way of doing things.’ Making a better way of storing information, a better currency, or a better way of making friends means improving on thousands of years of human experience and is therefore extraordinarily difficult. ... The technology startup world is where brilliant people come to imagine the impossible.« can-do vs. can’t-do culture (2014) http://recode.net/2014/01/01/can-do-vs-cant-do-culture/
  66. 66. marc andreessen »The key attribute of disruptive innovation is a new product for a previously underserved market – typically cheaper than existing product. This is inherently pro- consumer ... It’s about creation – new products, new choices, for more people. ... Disruptive innovation shrinks inequality, by bringing to lower-income consumers things that only richer consumers had access to before.« what disruption is really about (2014) http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/02/marc-andreessen-teaches-startups-what-disruption-is-really-about-in-17-tweets/
  67. 67. gianpiero petriglieri »Seen this way, overwork is not defined by the amount of our day work occupies but by the amount of our selves tied up to it. We “over”work not when we work too hard but when working becomes less of a means and more of an end. When meditation, exercise, sleep, holidays, and even parenting, are cast as tools to make us better workers.« is overwork killing you? (2015)
  68. 68. instrumentalising well-being
  69. 69. <4> maieutics
  70. 70. josef pieper »Is there a sphere of human activity ... that does not need to be justified by inclusion in a five-year plan and its technical organization? … Can man develop to the full as a ‘worker’ and nothing else; can a full human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence?« leisure: the basis of culture (1952: 19–20) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  71. 71. What for?
  72. 72. »If, then, there is some end of the thing we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this), … clearly this must be the good and the chief good.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1.1094a)
  73. 73. »Now such a thing happiness, above all else, is held to be.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1097b)
  74. 74. Not seeking pleasure & avoiding pain
  75. 75. εὐδαιμονία Well-being, flourishing, the good life: »the exercise of the rational faculties of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several, the best and most final one.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1098a)
  76. 76. »If we understand the ergon of a human being as self-concordance, then self- knowledge and the perfection of the analytic, navigational, and motivational competencies (to realize it) are the virtues.« Hope May aristotle‘s ethics (2010: 148)
  77. 77. leisure
  78. 78. »It is clear that the virtues relating to leisure are essential; since, as has been said repeatedly, peace is the end of war, leisure of business.« Aristotle politics (7.1334a)
  79. 79. josef pieper »The point and justification of leisure are not that the functionary should function faultlessly and without a breakdown, but that the functionary should continue to be a man – he should not be fully absorbed in the clear-cut milieu of his strictly limited function; ... he should continue to be capable of seeing life as a whole and the world as a whole; that he should fulfil himself, and come to full possession of his faculties, face to face with being as a whole.« leisure: the basis of culture (1952: 31) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  80. 80. longer work hours less productivity less well-being economic precariousness secular calvinism less time for reflection
  81. 81. <5> economies of leisure
  82. 82. http://www.flickr.com/photos/geraldford/8468746385 athens was built on slaves
  83. 83. the political unconscious of technology criticism
  84. 84. john maynard keynes »Technological unemployment ... means in the long run that mankind is solving its economic problem. Thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, ... to live wisely and agreeably and well.« economic possibilities for our grandchildren (1930) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  85. 85. they are the thieves of time
  86. 86. longer work hours less productivity less well-being economic precariousness secular calvinism less time for reflection less time for political action
  87. 87. josef pieper »‘Deproletarianizing’ would mean: enlargening the scope of life beyond the confines of merely useful servile work, and widening the sphere of servile work the the advantage of the liberal arts [which are an end in themselves]; and this process ... can only be carried out by combining three things: by giving the wage- earner the opportunity to save and acquire property, by limiting the power of the state, and by overcoming the inner impoverishment of the individual.« leisure: the basis of culture (1952: 40) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_17/b4225060960537.htm
  88. 88. livingprinciples.org where are our economic equality design principles?
  89. 89. where is the equitable proposition design template?
  90. 90. where are the campaigns that make worker rights sexy?
  91. 91. where are the financial innovation hackathons?
  92. 92. shareleap
  93. 93. <6> technologies of leisure
  94. 94. http://www.flickr.com/photos/geraldford/8468746385
  95. 95. http://www.flickr.com/photos/50879678@N03/8537472528
  96. 96. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben30/3159380406
  97. 97. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chajms/21010
  98. 98. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanitas
  99. 99. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanitas
  100. 100. re-minders
  101. 101. speed up slow down reduce seams interrupt abundance constraint behaviours Intentions doing receiving improve “how” ask “what for”
  102. 102. Marc Hassenzahl »With an aesthetic of convenience, you will never instil change. What you need, rather, is an aesthetic of friction.« towards an aesthetic of friction (2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehWdLEXSoh8
  103. 103. seeyourfolks.com
  104. 104. seeyourfolks.com
  105. 105. http://designinghappiness.wordpress.com/
  106. 106. https://www.readyforzero.com/
  107. 107. https://www.readyforzero.com/
  108. 108. http://kotaku.com/30-years-later-one-mans-still-trying-to-fix-video-gam-1490377821
  109. 109. What vision of The Good Life do you want to live?
  110. 110. sebastian@codingconduct.cc @dingstweets codingconduct.cc Thank you.

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