Evil by Design

A presentation at MidwestUX 2019 in in Grand Rapids, MI, USA by Kit Oliynyk

I’ll talk about the ethos of “makers”—how making things and simply being creative for the sake of creativity can be a bad thing, if we’re not willing to be responsible for our legacy and pretend that “design isn’t political.” I’ll showcase studies of companies and products that are making our lives and our society worse—sometimes unintentionally. I’ll talk about dark patterns and how they could cost millions of dollars—and, sometimes, human lives. And I’ll share three areas of transformation where we as an industry can get better:

  • Self-identity: Transform our beliefs to shift from pure craftsmanship to becoming the makers of social good, evolve our definition of success from “moving fast and breaking things” into the sustainability and health of our society.
  • Connection: Engage with as many people as possible in our companies (beyond just tech), overcome our biases through diversity and inclusion, and share beliefs and values that empower our partners and us to care about people, together.
  • Future-proofing: Ask questions to one another to collectively identify the emerging risk zones for our products and services using a variety of tools, including EthicalOS, moral value maps, “worst-case scenario” workshops and more.

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