söndag 1 april 2018

Books I've read (December-February 2017)

I read the four books below 15 months ago, between mid-December 2016 and mid-February 2017. All four books touch on "design" in one way or another. They more specifically treat problematic aspects of design or problematic effects of design and I primarily read them as background readings to an (not yet published) article I was writing. The asterisks (*) represent the number of quotes that can be found further down in this blog post. Here's the previous blog post about books I have read.

************ Jonas Söderström works as a usability consultant and the second edition of "Damn shit system!" [Jävla skitsystem!] was published in 2015 (the first edition of the book was self-published in 2010). His book also has a very long subtitle, "How a lousy digital work environment stresses us at work - and how we can take back control". 

This is a great book. It's insightful and funny in a dreadful way. It has example after example of the Worst System Ever - systems that are so incredibly bad that teachers and doctors and military officers and case administrators choose to quit look for work elsewhere. It would be funny if it wasn't for the terrible anguish and pain that these systems cause.

Where the book really shines though it that it explains for the layman how come systems that Suck Big Time  are developed in an easy-to-understand language. Söderström also proposes that bad cognitive work environments, that stresses people out and makes them ill, should be treated in the same way physically unsafe work environments are treated - as occupational hazards. Söderström suggests that working in a sound cognitive environment and having appropriate and suitable tools to solve the tasks at hand is something that labor unions should put at the top of their agenda. From the book cover:

"Good system and good technology gives us users control. They are useful, helpful and intuitive. but the difference between what we are forced to use in the workplace is huge - and growing. Those systems are instead often difficult to understand, unpredictable and ugly. They decide what you should do - not the other way around. They control your way of working - not the other way around. They demand more and more administration of you - instead of letting you do your job. This book explains why this happens and what to do about it."

******************************** Anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll’s 2012 book “Addiction by design: Machine gambling in Las Vegas” was almost 20 years in the making and touches upon most design-related aspects of slot machines and machine gambling; from the architecture of casinos and marketing to mechanical engineering and data mining. Slot machines are nowadays the work horses of the gambling industry and almost all of the industry’s profits come from them. The second perspective in Schüll's book (besides design) is that of addiction. It is hard not to think of the design of gambling machines as evil design as the very purpose of these machines is to separate people from their money as efficiently as possible while making them feel happy (or at least not unduly unhappy) during that process. We are talking about life savings here including college and retirement funds. While the parts of the book that talks about design are fascinating, the parts that touch upon addiction are horrifying. From an Internet site for gambling addicts, a female gambler asks:

“Have others experience the same inability to move? Why does that happen? Can anyone explain the paralysis? The hypnotic effect it has on you? This is not my imagination; for me it was very real - I could not get up off my seat. Do you understand how powerful that is? I didn’t even have the strength to go to the bathroom!”.

Schüll adds that interviews with casino slot floor managers gave that machine gamblers could be “so absorbed in play that they were oblivious to [...] fire alarms that blared at deafening levels” and the she herself saw casino surveillance tape of “a group of gamblers unaware of their immediate surroundings, each other, and even a dying man at their feet”.

This is a substantial book - 300 pages of text and more than 100 pages of notes to back the text up. From the back cover:

"Slot machines, revamped by ever more compelling digital and video technology, have unseated traditional casino games as the gambling industry's revenue mainstay. ... Natasha Dow Schüll explores the dark side of machine gambling - a solitary, rapid, continuous form of play that has less to do with the competitive thrill of winning than with the pull of "the machine zone," as gamblers call the trance-like state they enter. *Addiction by design* takes readers from industry conventions and casino floors into gamblers' everyday lives, from the strategic planning of game algorithms to Gamblers Anonymous meetings and regulatory debates over whether addiction to slot machines stems from the consumer, the product, or the interplay between the two."

******* Melissa Gregg's (2011) "Work's intimacy" had a compelling proposition but I felt it didn't deliver all the way. The basic idea is that we've been sold a vision of digital technologies at work as emancipatory tools that will liberate us from the shackles of time and space, but for most (low-level) jobs, those technologies have instead blurred the lines between work and leisure so that we increasingly are "on the job" 24/7. Work has invaded time away from work so that we "work light" also when not at work (and when not getting paid). This thesis is interesting but the book just didn't deliver - for me - but I know colleagues of mine who liked it better that I did. 

The basic hypothesis does however fit with a number of other books I've read about the general speed-up of work and leisure and how what we hoped would liberate us has instead trapped us and decreased our autonomy. From the back cover:

"Drawing on her extensive research, Gregg shows that new media technologies encourage and exacerbate and older tendency among salaried professionals to put work at the heart of daily concerns, often at the expense of other sources of intimacy and fulfilment. New media technologies, from mobile phones to laptops and tablet computers, have been marketed as devices that give us the freedom to work where we want, when we want, but little attention has been paid to the consequences of this shift, which has seen work move out of the office and into cafés, trains, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. This professional "presence bleed" leads to work concerns impinging on the personal lives of employees in new and unforeseen ways."

*************** Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby's (2013) "Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming" is a pure design book and it might very well be the the most design-ish book I've ever read. It has smart and evocative individual sentences that are stacked and sometimes adds up to something that becomes if not unintelligible, then at least hard to understand for me. The book also has lots of nice color images of crazy, provocative, weird design projects by Dunne & Raby and many many other artists and designers. 

It's a bit hard for me to know what make out of this and how I will use what I read in the book but it was... interesting. Beyond arguing and reasoning, how do you provoke or show "possible worlds"? Through art and through design, says Dunne & Raby. And I agree but it's still not my thing. Not yet at least, but I am intrigued by the "fictional worlds, cautionary tales, what-if scenarios, thought experiments, counterfactuals, reductio ad absurdum experiments, prefigurative futures" they present in their book. From the book cover:

"Today designers often focus on making technology easy to use, sexy, and consumable. In Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby propose a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas. For them, design is a means of speculating about how things could be - to imagine possible futures. This is not the usual sort of predicting or forecasting, spotting trends and extrapolating ... Instead, Dunne and Raby pose "what-if" questions that are intended to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want (and do not want). Speculative Everything offers a tour through an emerging cultural landscape of design ideas, ideals, and approaches. Dunne and Raby cite examples from their own design and teaching and from other projects from fine art, design, architecture, cinema, and photography. They also draw on futurology, political theory, the philosophy of technology, and literary fiction."


On the broken promises of powerful tools:
"For almost twenty years we have been promised the same thing time after time. With the new IT system, the job will be easier and faster. But all around Sweden there are now people who try to understand why it feels like exactly the other way around. Why do stress levels increase all the time? How can I do my job when I also have to do all the new tasks that are required? The really big spectacular failures are just the tip of an iceberg .... To constantly feel there is less time to do the actual job well decreases the self-esteem."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.23-24.

On each crappy system being a singular event:
"Nevertheless, there are no overall conclusions based on all these repeated failures. Each disaster is considered a singular event, an unfortunate deviation. The management or the supplier routinely promise that the next version will solve the problems. Or the problems are trivialized and blame is assigned to the staff."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.24.

On administrating being added to and displacing other tasks at work:
"Many of the new systems assign work to us that we do not perceive as part of our actual work, our core professional competence. Things that go beyond what we were educated for, what we were employed to do, maybe even far from what we chose to do in our lives... Teachers want to teach - but now have to order office supplies themselves. Dentists have been educated to fix our teeth, but in the public health care sector they themselves have to take care of calls, cancellations, payment routines and patient bookings, and now also a complicated system for compensation of their costs. Nurses want to provide care but have to write reports about broken doors through a computer system. Doctors want to diagnose and treat, but now need to handle increasingly complicated documentation procedures.”
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.46.

On how requirements are elicited for IT systems:
"Although "requirements elicitation" is an important part of most IT projects, most demands on the future system will instead come from high-flying visions of how things should be in the future - formulated by the management or worse, by hired management consultants. But management do not always know how the work really is done. And management consultants usually don’t care."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.69.

On who suffers from bad IT systems:
"There is nothing wrong with having an ambition to streamline services or the public sector. ... But in practice [so much] has to be reported to the controlling systems that important work-time is lost ... And the processes and systems together become so rigid that the flexibility disappears. Those hardest hit are work in the first line of operations - directly with customers, patients, students or citizens."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.74.

On cognitive injuries at the workplace:
"When the physical environment is poorly adapted to humans, it causes damage to the body, for example injuries due to strain. When digital systems are badly adapted to how people work, it causes strain on our thinking... This is one of the most important negative effects of bad IT systems. We may call this a cognitive burden. It is the memory, the ability to concentrate and perception that suffers when we try to remember and handle numerous commands, passwords, illogical menus, buttons, infinite sequences of mouse clicks..."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.141.

On good IT systems as a workplace challenge of utmost importance:
"The problem [with poorly functioning IT systems] is large, and larger than many other workplace problems. This was confirmed by a survey of TNS Sifo during the spring of 2015. When 1027 women and men in Sweden, aged 25 to 64, were asked about what they valued most at their jobs, "well-functioning, hassle-free IT systems" was placed first. Almost 9 out of 10 (87 percent) said that that was what they value the highest."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.146.

On who creates bad IT systems:
"why then are systems that do not take reality into account developed or introduced? The most common answer to that question is spelled "bad specifications”. "Unclear goals" is another favorite. "Ever-changing requirements" is a third. But these explanations also create new questions: Why was the specification bad? Why aren’t goals clearly formulated? "
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.157.

On an increasingly complex world leading to progressively worse IT systems:
"As more and more systems are connected and dependent on each other, changes at one end can mean that people are forced to make changes also at another end. And that may be due to changes in law, corporate acquisitions, spin-offs, changes in other technical systems, decision in the European Union, politicians who want to push through a reform before their term ends... With more and more systems and more  and more dependencies, it is easy to understand why the systems later turn out to be inadequate and incomplete."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.171.

On growing pains vs grave child neglect:
"The term *Growing pains* is often used to exculpate problems. But IT systems do not go bad because they are infected with a transient disease, but rather due to ignoring tried and tested principles of development. It is rather similar to grave neglect of children than to growing pains. "
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.213.

Tips for pursuing a career as a whistleblower:
"It may be tempting to contact the media ... It may be justified, but you should always try to influence internally and take advantage of opportunities that are available. An alternative is to get in touch with media but require anonymity. Journalists should protect their sources The Swedish Radio operates the Radioleaks service (upload.radioleaks.se) and the magazine Ny Teknik [new Technology] operates the site TechLeaks (www.techleaks.se). It’s also possible to start an anonymous blog and disseminate your critique through it. Authorities are not allowed to investigate who as leaked information, except in cases where the information is labeled ”qualified confidential” or in matters relating to the security of the nation"
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.273-274.

On administration vs ”real” work:
"Division of labor and specialization are good inventions. They took our societies away from small scale craft labor. Getting rid of administrative specialists is not a good way to go forward. It's unreasonable that researchers, principals, policemen, teachers, doctors, therapists and others spend more time administering and less time doing their ”real” work. The number of work life self-service solutions must be limited. We have to stop throwing administrative tasks on the employees. Only solutions that really can be shown to have a positive effect on efficiency should be accepted. A holistic employee perspective must govern - not administrative or technical special interests."
Söderström, J. (2015). Jävla skitsystem!, p.187.

On today’s complex gambling machines:
"The one-armed bandits of yesteryear were mechanical contraptions involving coin slots, pull-handles, and spinning reels. Today’s standard gambling machines are complex devices assembled on a digital platform out of 1,200 or more individual parts. ”game design is a process of integration, assemblage,” as one game developer told me. This process involves up to three hundred people, including script writers, graphic artists, marketers, mathematicians, and mechanical, video, and software engineers – not to mention designers of auxiliary components like touch-screens, bill validators, and machine cabinets.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.4.

On the dominance of gambling machines:
"Until the mid-1980s, green-felt table games such as blackjack and craps dominated casion floors while slot machines huddled on the sidelines, serving to occupy the female companions of ”real” gamblers. Often places along hallways or near elevators and resevration desks, rarely with stools or chairs in front of them, the devices occupied transitional spaces rather than gambling destiantion. By the late 1990s, however, they had moved into key positions on the casion floor and were generating twice as much revenue as all ”live games” put together. … in 2003 …over 85 percent of industry profits came from machines.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.5.

On Las Vegas as the new Detroit:
"In the 1980s, cultural critic Neil Postman said that one had only to look at Las Vegas to understand America. In the mid-1990s, casino tycoon Steve Wynn turned this pronouncement around, remarking that ”Las Vegas exists because it is a perfect reflection of America.”… Some have called the city ”the new Detroit” to signal its status as capital of the postindustrial economy … Running alongside the debate over whether to view the city as a shape-shifting marvel of human inventiveness and technological sophistication or as a dystopic instantiation of consumer capitalism.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.7.

On Las Vegas’ 20-year boom:
"Throughout the 1990s … one corporate-financed, corporate-run megaresort after another was constructed along the Stip. Tourist visitation to the city increased fourfold between 1980 and 2008, reaching 40 million. This boom in business drew job seekers in droves, and the local population more than quadrupled over the same period – from 450,000 to 2 million. Either directly or indirectly, most residents rely on the gambling industry for their livelihood. For its part, the industry relies on residents not only for its workforce but also, increasingly, for revenue. A full two-thirds of those who reside in metropolitan Las Vegas gamble.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.8.

On the inner state of gambling addicts:
"Relatively few discussions of gambling addiction … take into account the role of modern slot machines … machine gambling is distinguished by its solitary, continuous, and rapid mode of wagering. …it is possible to complete a game every three to four seconds. … The game of craps … can produce a state of high energy and suspense punctuated by euphoric wins whose thrill depends largely on social feedback. The solitary, uninterrupted process of machine play, by contrast, tends to produce a steady, trancelike state that ”distracts from internal and external issues” such as anxiety, depression, and boredom. … ”You’re in a trance, you’re on autopilot,” said one gambler. … As Mollie and Sheridan told us earlier, it is not the chance of winning to which they become addicted; rather, what addicts them is the world-dissolving state of subjective suspension and affective calm they derive from machine play.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.17-19.

On the profession of creating addiction:
"members of the gambling industry invest a great deal of resources and creative energy into … products that can extract maximum ”revenue per available customer,” or REVPAC. Of this all-consuming objective they talk freely and explicitly among themselves – on conference panels, in journals, and in the aisles and meeting lounges on exposition floors. How to get people to gamble longer, faster, and more intensively? How to turn casual players into repeat players? Despite the fine line between these objectives and the solicitation of addiction behavior, most industry members manage to maintain a cognitive disconnect between the two, distancing their script for profits from its potential harmful effects on consumers.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.21.

On deferred survival instincts:
"It was not uncommon, in my interviews with casino slot floor managers, to hear of machine gamblers so absorbed in play that they were oblivious to rising flood waters at their feet or smoke and fire alarms that blared at deafening levels. As the casino surveillance tapes showed, the activity can keep a group of gamblers unaware of their immediate surroundings, each other, and even a dying man at their feet.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.35.

On building casinos to confuse:
"While modernist building sought to facilitate *communitas* through high ceilings, wide open space, bountiful lighting and windows, and a minimalist, uncluttered aesthetic, casinos’ low, immersive interiors, blurry spatial boundaries, and mazes of alcoves accommodated ”crowds of anonymous individuals without explicit connection with each other.” Like other popular communal spaces, casinos catered to the desires of everyday Americans to be ”together and yet separate.” Venturi and his colleagues elaborated: ”The combination of darkness and enclosure of the gambling room and its subspaces makes for privacy, protection, concentration and control. The intricate maze under the low ceiling never connects with the outside light or outside space. This disorients the occupant in space and time. One loses track of where one is and when it is.””
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.36-37.

On the interior design of casinos:
"[Friedman] insists that monotonous surroundings are the best: ”Machines should not be hidden or camouflaged by attention grabbing décor, which should be eliminated to the greatest extent possible so as to allow the equipment to announce itself.” … Instead of turning attention away from machines, every aspect of the environment should work to turn attention toward machines, and keep it focused there. From ceiling height to carpet pattern, lighting intensity to aisle width, acoustics to temperature regulation – all such elements, Friedman argues, should be engineered to facilitate the interior state of the machine zone.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.40.

On the sound of gambling:
"Another acoustic element that must be carefully regulated to encourage play is music. A company called Digigram provides background music that can be scheduled by time of day, depending on the shifting demographics of a property’s clientele. Casino managers, Digigram suggests, might play ”something slow or mild in the middle of the day for one group of customers and then maybe build up the tempo throughout the day when there’s a high occupancy of customers.” … The company cites studies showing that consumers’ walking speed, time spent, and money spent in retail spaces are all highly influenced by sound.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.48.

On going through the gambling motions as an exact science:
"the painstaking efforts of the gambling industry to organize the kinesthetic and temporal elements of machine play into a streamlined economy of production emulate techniques of behavioral management associated with nineteenth-century factories and related modern disciplinary environments (schools, armies, prisons). … gambling consultant Cummings writes of ”pruning dead time or unproductive motions from various phases of play [to get] more play into each time interval.” Like the management of machine workers’ actions, the management of machine gamblers’ actions aims to compress the greatest number of physical gestures into the smallest unit of time.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.56-57.

On experience engineering:
"”If the chase lights on the slot signs are running too fast, they make people nervous; if they run too slow, they put them to sleep. If the machine sound is too loud, it hurts the players’ ears; if it’s not loud enough, the energy level of the room suffers.” …To prevent visual overstimulation, shrewd designers avoid signage that is too showy or bright, or that rises too high above machines, potentially drawing patrons’ attention up and away form them. Likewise, they avoid signage bulbs that flicker too frenetically, too erratically, or too slowly. They take care to softly pixelate video monitors and to reduce their glare. Graphics engineers, whose color palette increased from 256 to millions of distinct colors over a relatively short period, strive for pleasing tones, imagery, and animation – nothing that might jar or unsettle a patron at play.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.60.

On super-advanced touchscreens on gambling machines:
"Immersion Corporation uses haptic feedback technology to ”integrate touch sensation into the human machine interface,” creating ”touchscreens that touch back”. Through touch, players activate electromagnetic actuators behind the screens, each of which carries a specific vibro-tactile profile or ”effect” of unique frequency, waveform, magnitude, and duration. The screen graphics seem to depress and release as if they are active buttons, responding to players with a reflex-rate snap, pulse, vibration, or push back. These effects give players a ”definitive transactional confirmation” for every action they take, creating ”a more intuitive, natural, and multisensory experience” that keeps them playing longer.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.63.

On speeding up gamblers' access to money:
"While interior designers guide players to slot machines by eliminating obstructions in architectural space, machine designers expedite ”continuous gaming productivity” by eliminating obstructions in the physical and temporal flow of the wagering activity. So far, we have examined how buttons, touchscreens, and ergonomics serve this function. Cash handling and access systems, the final auxiliary technologies we will consider in this chapter, do so by streamlining gamblers’ access to money. More precisely, they shrink the time that transpires between a players’s impulse to continue gambling and the means to continue gambling, thus minimizing the possibility for reflection and self-stopping that might arise in that pause.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.68.

On time and magical thinking:
"The uneducated gambler, experts often recount, may walk away from a machine at which he has had no luck, only to become upset when he witnesses another patron win on the very next spin – feeling that the newcomer has ”stolen” what rightfully belonged to him. In fact, they explain, even if an individual had continued at the machine, it is virtually impossible that he would have pressed the button at the same exact millisecond as the subsequent winning gambler, thereby triggering the RGN [Random Number Generator] to generate the identical winning outcome.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.85.

On casting gambling machine losses as near wins:
"Virtual reel mapping has been used not only to distort players’ perception of games’ *odds* but also to distort their perception of *losses*, by creating ”near miss” effects. … game designers map a disproportionate number of … winning symbols … above and below [the central payline] far more often than by chance alone. … By recasting losses as potential wins, near misses … prompt further play. ”Almost hitting the jackpot,” noted the behaviorist psychologist B. F. Skinner in 1953, ”increases the probability that the individual will play the machine, although this reinforcer costs the owner of the device nothing.””
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.92-93.

On being hypnotized by the gambling machine:
"A gambler named Darlene posted the following activity log on an internet recovery site for gambling addicts: […]
”Have others experienced the same inability to move? Why does this happen? Can anyone explain the paralysis? The hypnotic effect it has on you? This is not my imagination; for me it was very real – I could not get up off my seat. Do you understand how powerful that is? I didn’t even have the strength to go to the bathroom! … Why do some of us get caught into a kind of paralysis that blots out time, responsibility, logic, even movement? It’s not normal to ignore the urge to pee, yet that is what happened to me and apparently to some of the rest of us.””
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.102-103.

On tourist vs local casinos:
"The layout principles at work in locals’ casinos … depart in key respects from those of tourist establishments. … Perhaps from overexposure to the staged disorientation of tourist casinos’ interiors, or perhaps because they know already where they want to go, regular prefer direct and easy access to machines. Locals-market casinos are not designed for enchantment; they are designed for convenience and habit.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.113.

On quantified data in the gambling industry:
””relationship management” … is essentially a euphemism for a strategic exchange in which customers relinquish personal data that corporations then use to better market to them and thus gain their ”loyalty.” … Because the ability to analyze and ”touch” players depends on their voluntary participation in loyalty programs, the industry makes a concerted effort to ensure maximal enrollment. A full 70 percent of gamblers use loyalty club cards, and the figure is steadily growing … If a gambler plays without a card, systems … identify that individual so that slot managers can dispatch a casino representative to persuade him or her to sign up for one. … To convince patrons that it is better to be known that anonymous, casinos present player tracking as a convenient service and a means for acquiring the rewards to which they are entitled.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.152.

On tracking and valuing unwitting gamblers:
"A striking example of ”unwitting submission” is found in Bally’s method for tracking players regardless of their participation in a loyalty club. The system incorporates biometric recognition into gambling machines via miniaturized cameras linked to a central database; when a player activates the machine without using a player card, the camera ”captures the player’s image and stores it along with their game play,” creating a ”John Doe” file. Although the casino does not know the patron’s actual name, it can track his behavior over time ”for a total view of the customer’s worth.” ”Invisible to the user,” the system ensures that the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with the uncarded patron will not be lost. To most profitably manage player relationships, the industry must determine the specific value of those relationships.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.153.

On segmenting and valuing gamblers:
"On a panel … one specialist [recommended] that casinos give each customer a ”recency score” (how recently he has visited), a ”frequency score” (how often he visits), and a ”monetary score” (how much he spends), and then create a personalized marketing algorithm out of these values. … Harrah’s statistical models for determining player value, similar to those used for predicting stocks’ future worth, are the most advanced in the industry. The casino franchise … maintains ninety different demographic segments for its customers … Gamblers exhibiting a high play ”velocity” (i.e., those who hit machines’ buttons very fast) are easily convinced to gamble more and thus are especially valuable to the company.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.153-154.

On capturing and maximizing profits from gamblers:
"Player value algorithms set calendars and budgets to predict when and how much a player can be expected to gamble, generating ”behavior modification reports” that suggest what kinds of solicitations he or she might respond to. A gambler ”overdue” for a visit gets a mailer, followed by a telephone call. ”We get him motivated, back in an observed frequency pattern” … Harrah’s has even developed a way to calculate a player’s ”predicted lifetime value,” or how much he or she is likely to lose to the franchise over his or her lifetime. Customer deemed most profitable receive special treatment, including quicker responses from telephone systems that are programmed to bounce incoming phone numbers off a customer database and place callers in the queue according to their value tier.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.154.

Winner of the world record for manipulating gamblers:
"In 2005 Harrah’s came up with a way to measure, act upon, and optimize player value within the span of an individual play session. Enacting a Pavlovian system of real-time relationship management, software feeds a player’s data through an algorithm that calculates how much that player can lose and still feel satisfied, thereby establishing personalized ”pain points.” When the software senses that a player is approaching the threshold of her pain point, it dispatches a live ”Luck Ambassador” to dispense rewards such as meal coupons, tickets to shows, or gambling vouchers.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.154.

On gambling as the cutting edge for surveillance technologies:
"Many surveillance and marketing innovations first used in casinos were only later adapted to other domains – including airports, financial trading floors, consumer shopping malls, insurance agencies, banks, and government programs like Homeland Security. … In an ever-more refined recursive loop, tracked players contribute to the making of machines, spaces, and services that fit them better … The gambler’s affect and behavior at once condition and are conditioned by the system.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.164-165.

On flow in gambling vs in other pursuits:
"Csikszentmihalyi identified four ”preconditions” of flow … Machine gambling, as we have seen, possesses each of these properties: every hand or spin presents players with a small goal; rules are limited and well-defined; bets are made and decided in a matter of seconds, giving players immediate feedback on their actions; reel-stopping features, responsive touchscreens, and multiline, multicoin betting options lend players a sense of potential control over contingency that invests them in the game, and video poker reinforces this effect by introducing an element of actual skill. … Yet [gamblers’] experience differs in a crucial respect from that of the artists, athletes, and scientists who appear in Csikszentmihaly’s writings. For these professionals, flow is life affirming, restorative, and enriching – a state of ”optimal human experience” that enhances autonomy in day-to-day life. Repeat machine gamblers, by contrast, experience a flow that is depleting, entrapping, and associated with a loss of autonomy. What accounts for this critical difference?”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.166-167.

On vomiting and peeing yourself while gambling as a matter of course:
"The longer a gambler perseveres at machine play, the greater the odds are that she will emerge from the encounter drained of energy, resources, and vitality.. This depletion registers in players’ bank accounts and also in their physical bodies. … Twice [Lola] unwittingly vomited on her shirtfront during sessions of play, and once wet herself. [Las Vegas psychologist of gambling addiction] Robert Hunter describes a former patient who prepared in advance for the abandonment of bodily being that accompanied her fugues into machines: ”She was a charming seventy-five-year-old woman whose average gambling time was seventy-two hours; she used to wear double-layerd dark woolen pants so she could urinate a couple of times without anybody noticing.” A retired firefighter with diabetes named Pete recalled a day when he felt his blood sugar level drop while at play but was unable to cash out and stop playing; he stayed three more hours until his credit was depleted, by which point he was slipping into a diabetic coma.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.179.

On the extinction of gamblers:
"intrinsic absorption and an attenuation of bodily awareness is characteristic of many activities, not all of which involve technology per se. ”A chess player in a tournament is typically unaware for hours that he or she has a splitting headache or a full bladder,” Csikszentmihalyi reports; ”only when the game is over does awareness of physical conditions return.” But unlike chess, ritual trance, or the execution of a surgical operation, all of which have natural endpoints, machine gambling is a potentially inexhaustible activity whose only sure end is the depletion of gambler funds. The operational logic of the machine is programmed in such a way as to keep the gambler seated until that end – the point of ”extinction,” as some gaming executive call it – is reached. … As gambling machines become increasingly adept at tailoring their responsive output to the input of particular users, those users are increasingly bound to stay the course that is plotted for them, colluding in their own ”extinction.””
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.180-180.

On gambling as a respite from hypersociality:
"Machine gamblers like Lola frequently connect their preference for the asocial, robotic procedure of machine play to the hypersociality demanded by their jobs – in real estate, accounting, insurance, sales, and other service fields. … It makes a twisted kind of sense that in Las Vegas, a city that the urban historian Mike Davies has called the ”Detroit of the postindustrial economy,” machines are less likely to serve as a means of production from which users become alienated than as a means of relief from the alienation of social labor.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.194-195.

On simple relationships with machines as a reprieve from complicated human relationships:
"Addicts of gambling machines invariably emphasize their desire for the uncomplicated, ”clean cut” exchanges machine offers them – as opposed to relationships with other humans, which are fraught with demands, dependencies, and risks. ”At the machines I felt safe,” Sharon remembers, ”unlike being with a person. I may win, I may lose; if I lose, that’s the end of the relationship. It’s understood, part of the contract. Then it starts again, fresh.” Machine gamblers enter a kind of safety zone in which choices do not implicate them in webs of uncertainty and consequences”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.197-198.

On praying to lose to have the strength to divorce the machine:
"”Sometimes,” Alexandra elaborated, ”there’s even a weird satisfaction – no, not a satisfaction, a relief – when I lose. When it’s all gone, and I have no choice to play anymore, and I can go home and sleep.” … Pete, the retired firefighter, went so far as to pray for the total depletion of his play credits – the only thing that could release him from the clutches of his drive to continue gambling:
”After sitting at the machine for fourteen hours, so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, no money in my pocket, no gas in my car, and no groceries at home, I still can’t leave because I have four hundred credits in the machine. So I sit there for another hour until it’s all gone, praying for me to lose; Please God take this money so I can get up and go home.””
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.225-226.

On the gambling industry’s relation to ”responsible gaming”:
"Whether the gambling industry is sincere in its campaign to promote responsible gambling, or whether the driving impetus behind this campaign (as behind similar campaigns by the alcohol and tobacco industries) is to insulate the industry’s products and practices from blame for problematic consumer behavior, the fact remains that a grossly disproportionate percentage of its revenues happen to derive from precisely such behavior. Gamblers who manage to follow ”responsible gaming codes of conduct,” one study found, contribute a mere 4 percent of gambling revenues.”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.267.

On Las Vegas' rise and fall:
"From 1995 to the mid-2000s, Las Vegas maintained the highest new job growth in the country. … Newcomers to the city have been described as ”castoffs of de-industrialization” and ”a prolonged wave of new Okies” who, displaced from their rust belt vocations, ”retooled themselves in the Nevada desert as hotel cooks and maids, if not construction drywallers and carpenters or casino craps dealers and parking valets”. Las Vegas’s dependency on tourism, construction, and the housing market made the city more acutely vulnerable to the 2008 recession than any other state (in 2010, Las Vegas had the highest unemployment rate in the country).”
Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design, p.315.

On work as identity:
"This book shows the extent to which new media technology encourages and exacerbates a much older tendency among salaried professionals to put work at the heart of daily concerns, often at the expense of all other sources of intimacy and fulfilment. The growing magnetism of mobile communication devices is one of the strongest indications that there is now a significant number of people for whom paid employment is the most compelling demonstration of virtue, accomplishment, and self-identity that society makes available.”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.xi.

On work breaking out of the office:
"For any number of years now, new media technology has been marketed as giving us the freedom to work where we want, when we want, in flexible arrangements that apparently suit the conditions of the modern office. But little has been written to illustrate the consequences of this development, where work has broken out of the office, downstairs to the cafe, in to the street, on to the train, and later still to the living room, dining room, and bedroom.”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.1.

On networking as the essence of the modern job:
"if salaried jobs have always relied on networking skills for reputation management and career progression, increasingly there are fewer material and psychological rewards for engaging in these practices. In fact, as subsequent chapters testify, job security is no longer attained as a consequence of social networking. Rather, networking is an additional form of labor that is required to demonstrate ongoing employability. … the ”activity par excellence” for workers in information jobs ”is integrating oneself into networks.” … In information jobs, the content of the project is less important than the general fact of activity.”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.13.

On the importance of having a project "in the pipeline":
"In this book, workers without something ”in the pipeline” were the first to suffer during the downturn. But those who survived also suffered costs in the quest to maintain multiple ”projects.” … If the office exists in your phone, how is it possible to claim the right to be away from it for any length of time? Indeed, how do employees assert the right to avoid work-related contact if the bulk of their colleagues are friends? Labor activism is powerless to meet these challenges with its current vocabulary. … Jenny combines notions of professional performance, diligence and anxiety in explaining her approach to answering email: …
”sometimes when you send an email out, if you don’t get anything back, you don’t know whether they’re ignoring it, dealing with it, thinking about it, pending a response – and I want people to know that if they send an email to me, I’m actioning it.””
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.14-15.

On selling the 'flexible workplace' though advertisements:
"to actually enjoy the ”freedom” of being away from the office and the surroundings of another city was to breach the expectation of personal productivity [in these advertisements]. … Telcos and hardware providers were equally concerned to showcase the many non-office locations where work could be performed: a bust stop (Telstra), the bus itself (Vodafone], a cliff face (Sony), the beach (i-mate), a catamaran (Telstra), a building site (Telstra), a park (Bigpond), a cafe (Telstra), a hairdresser’s (Telstra) – even nude (Vodafone) … Other advertisements featured a pregnant woman telecommunity from home with the tagline: ”Because she’s having a baby, not a lobotomy.” … The advertisements’ emphasis on terms like ”convenience” and ”flexibility” … obscured recognition of the fact that access to ”unlimited email” at all hours of the day may not be good for all employees”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.32.

On me making you (and me) feel a lot of guilt:
"As children grow up in homes with work-focused parents, part of their education is to witness the labor regimes that will be necessary to secure their destiny as middle-class professionals. Middle-class kids become accustomed to white-collar habits from an early age, learning from experience that households are always also workspaces. The mainstream adoption of the home office as a normal expectation indicates that for growing numbers of people, the private sphere now takes on some of the utilitarian considerations of the public.”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.136.

On eternal insecurity in the modern organization:
"The fallout in Jodi’s workplace … underscores how agreeing to unrealistic workloads out of loyalty to the team is no protection against cost-cutting measures that are decided much higher up. Indispensability is an illusion in an era of strict efficiency targets and mass outsourcing of jobs, where company flexibility comes at the expense of the individual. The bind of today’s white-collar professional is to be invested in work as and when required but without the reciprocal assurance from employers that commitment will be rewarded. Such a scenario risks losing the goodwill of employees permanently”
Gregg, M. (2013). Work's intimacy, p.165.

On wicked problems and speculative design:
"it is becoming clear that many of the challenges we face today are unfixable and that the only way to overcome them is by changing our values, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. … design’s inbuilt optimism can greatly complicate things … Rather than giving up altogether, though, there are other possibilities for design: one is to use design as a means of speculating how things could be – speculative design. This form of design thrives on imagination and aims to open up new perspectives on what are sometimes called *wicked problems*, to create spaces for discussion and debate about alternative ways of being, and to inspire and encourage people’s imagination to flow freely.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.2.

On wicked problems and speculative design:
"it is becoming clear that many of the challenges we face today are unfixable and that the only way to overcome them is by changing our values, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. … design’s inbuilt optimism can greatly complicate things … Rather than giving up altogether, though, there are other possibilities for design: one is to use design as a means of speculating how things could be – speculative design. This form of design thrives on imagination and aims to open up new perspectives on what are sometimes called *wicked problems*, to create spaces for discussion and debate about alternative ways of being, and to inspire and encourage people’s imagination to flow freely.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.2.

On discussing the future we want:
"What we are interested in, though, is the idea of possible futures and using them as tools to better understand the present and to discuss the kind of future people want, and, of course, ones people do not want. They usually take the form of scenarios, often starting with a what-if question, and are intended to open up spaces of debate and discussion; therefore, they are by necessity provocative, intentionally simplified, and fictional. Their fictional nature requires viewers to suspend their disbelief and allow their imaginations to wander, to momentarily forget how things are now, and wonder about how things could be.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.2-3.

On crafting ideas:
"To find inspiration for speculating through design we need to look beyond design to the methodological playgrounds of cinema, literature, science, ethics, politics, and art; to explore, hybridize, borrow, and embrace the many tools available for crafting not only things but also ideas – fictional worlds, cautionary tales, what-if scenarios, thought experiments, counterfactuals, reductio ad absurdum experiments, prefigurative futures, and so on.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.3.

On conceptual design:
"Once designers step away from industrial production and the marketplace we enter the realm of the unreal, the fictional, or what we prefer to think of as conceptual design – design about ideas. It has a short but rich history and it is a place where many interconnected and not very well understood forms of design happen – speculative design, critical design, design fiction, design futures, antidesign, radical design, interrogative design, design for debate, adversarial design, discursive design, futurescaping, and some design art.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.11.

On critical design:
"We coined the term *critical design* in the mid-nineties … It grew out of our concerns with the uncritical drive behind technological progress, when technology is always assumed to be good and capable of solving any problem. Our definition then was that ”critical design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions, and givens about the role products play in everyday life.” … Its opposite is affirmative design: design that reinforces the status quo.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.34.

On darkness as an antidote to naive techno-utopianism:
"Critical design can often be dark or deal with dark themes but not just for the sake of it. Dark, complex emotions are usually ignored in design; nearly every other area of culture accepts that people are complicated, contradictory, and even neurotic, but not design. We view people as obedient and predictable users and consumers. Darkness as an antidote to naive techno-utopianism can jolt people into action.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.38.

On excellence in critical design:
”Dark design is not pessimistic, cynical, or misanthropic; it is a counterpoint to a form of design that through denial does more harm than good. Dark design is driven by idealism and optimism, by a belief that it is possible to think our way out of a mess and that design can play an active role. … what is excellence in critical design? … A critical design should be demanding, challenging, and if it is going to raise awareness, do so for issues that are not already well known.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.43.

On the true function of speculative designs:
"By moving upstream and exploring ideas before they become products or even technologies, designers can look into the possible consequences of technological applications before they happen. We can use speculative designs to debate potential ethical, cultural, social, and political implications.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.47.

On David Attenborough, the counterfactual industrial designer:
"What if David Attenborough had become an industrial designer rather than a wildlife filmmaker, who, still fond of nature, established the Attenborough Design Group to explore how animal behavior could be used to equip technology products with survival instincts: a Gesundheit radio, which sneezes periodically to expel potentially damaging dust, and *Floppy legs*, a portable floppy disc drive that stands up if it detects liquid nearby? The project opens new perspectives on sustainability by suggesting that if products were equipped with sensors they could dodge danger and survive longer before ending up in a landfill. They would also have the added benefit of creating strong emotional ties with their owners because of carefully designed animal-like behaviors that encourage people to project emotions onto them.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.82-83.

On speculative design props:
"Speculative design props ... are physical fictions, departure points for sophisticated imaginings never meant to be viewed as ”real,” or to reflect reality. …For some, the term *prop* means a fake object … This is not the issue; its purpose is to facilitate imagining. … It is the emphasis on transporting the imagination that distinguishes them from other object types including products, prototypes, and models.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.92.

On the difference between believe and make-believe:
"There is a very important difference between inviting viewers to ”make-believe” and asking them to ”believe.” … Asking people to believe can very quickly lead to faking, trickery, and hoaxes. We also avoid parody and pastiche that pretend to be real. We prefer to acknowledge that a prop is a fiction by slightly exaggerating its unreality and signaling that it is an invitation to imagine, speculate, and dream. It takes imagination from the viewer and goodwill but the alternative seems unfair and possibly even unethical. For us, fooling the viewer into believing something is real is cheating. We prefer viewers to willingly suspend their disbelief and to enjoy shifting their imagination into a new, unfamiliar, and playful space.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.94.

On the lack of bold ideas in this day and age:
"With a few government exceptions, such as DARPA – where some of the most imaginative, boldest, and admirably ridiculous thinking is to be found, invisibility cloaks and holes in time, for example – and commercial exceptions such as Google’s X Lab, which is currently working on space elevators and asteroid mining, it feels today as if the era of big ideas and fantastic dreams has passed. Much of today’s dreaming around technology is shaped by military priorities or a short-time, market-led view of the world based on standardized consumer dreams and desires.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.168.

On Eneropa, Isles of wind, Solaria and Biomassburg:
"we are interested in exploring how the consequences of different political system might affect things such as food production, transport, energy, and work, ideally with surprising and unexpected outcomes or how different political systems could create very different experiences of everyday life. *Eneropa* … is part of a study for the European Climate Fundation called *Roadmap 2050* looking at energy strategies for Europe. The main idea is to run Europe on a shared grid of renewable energy. Although the project consists of a substantial report, it is one image that catches our attention, a fictional map of an alternative Europe with regions renamed according to their main source of renewable energy – Isles of Winds, Tidal States, Solaria, Geothermalia, Biomassburg, and so on. It is a simple image for a complex idea but it is effective and can easily facilitate debate and discussion about shifting European identities due to shared energy sources among the public, policy makers, and the energy industry.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.172.

On Hydrocarbon Utopia:
"As Timothy Mitchell writes in Hydrocarbon Utopia, ”The leading industrialized countries are also oil states. Without the energy they derive from oil, their current forms of political and economic life would not exist. Their citizens have developed ways of eating, traveling, housing themselves, and consuming other goods and services that require very large amounts of energy from oil and other fossil fuels.”
Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2013). Speculative everything, p.174.

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