The Digital Life Episode #72: The Digital Dark

With Jon Follet

Episode Summary
The darker side of human nature rears its head in the digital realm more than we’d care to admit. While the promise of the open Internet brings with it wonderful opportunities for community and communication, it also has a host of problems, whether it’s called cyber bullying, harassment, or trolling. In this episode of The Digital Life, we examine the story of Kathy Sierra, a UX luminary, who for the second time has pulled back from her online life, due to horrific harassment, and her blog post explaining her side of the matter. You can also read her post at Wired online.

TRANSCRIPT
Jon:
Welcome to Episode 72 of The Digital Life, a show about our adventures in the world of design and technology. I’m your host, Jon Follett, and with me is founder and co-host, Dirk Knemeyer.
Dirk:
Hey, Jon. I’m a little down today, but it’s good to be on here with you as always.
Jon:
Yeah. Why are you down?
Dirk:
Recently, just this week, Kathy Sierra who’s on Twitter as Serious Pony and blogs at seriouspony.com has left Twitter and it’s her second moment of publicly extracting herself from the front lines of Internet conversation and thought leadership over the last seven years. It’s surprising and tough. It’s sad.
Jon:
Yeah. What are some of the reasons that she has left social media and Twitter in particular?
Dirk:
Yes, so I mean the most recent, the one just happening now where she’s leaving Twitter, is really a by-product of ripple effects that happened the first time. I don’t know, maybe the best thing to do is to go back to that point. It was in 2006 when Kathy Sierra first exploded on to the UX scene. She had a blog at headrush.typepad.com called Creating Passionate Users. She started kicking out just freaking amazing content. So smart, so on point, communicated well, like the whole nine yards. She rose like a phoenix. She had a background in the tech community, but in UX, at least from my perspective, she came out of nowhere and within a year, she was main stage speaker herself by Southwest and really rose to prominence. In the process of that happening, she was harassed in a wide variety of ways to the point where there were Photoshops of her and/or family members with their heads next to dismembered corpses. She was personally threatened and her children and family were threatened with being raped and dismembered and really terrible crimes. She responded to those threats very understandably by just opting out, by stopping with her blog, by stopping her public speaking engagements and completely pulling out of the public eye. One of the primary perpetrators ended up becoming a hacker media celebrity, and as she tried to extricate herself from all of this, she was watching as this individual was being celebrated and was being seen as this misunderstood jolly rogue. I can’t think … I mean it’s got to be similar … I don’t know. I can’t put myself in any of these shoes, so anything I say down these paths in the show is with the greatest of respect. I mean it has to be, if you’re someone who’s been raped and then you’re forced into contact, into shared spaces with that person, and they’re being lauded as a really great person. I mean it has to be just a horrible disorienting experience to have to go through with that. She wrote a post yesterday called “Trouble at the Koolaid Point” on her new website, seriouspony.com, talking about leaving Twitter and this most recent time and giving some degree of back story around her situation.
It’s interesting that she talks about it was the viewing of how the world was responding to an embracing this person who had victimized her in really gnarly ways as some kind of a leader and seer that made her come back to put up her site at Serious Pony, to get on to Twitter, and try and re-engage with the community. In the process of doing that, she was pulled back into some of the same conversations and the same crap. I don’t want to cover details too much, because I don’t want to misrepresent details, but her post “Trouble at the Koolaid Point” covers things in a lot of detail and it certainly gives you a lot of places where you can spin out and read more, which I had done some previously.

Now, again, with her opting off of Twitter, I’m compelled to dig in even more deeply. I mean there’s so many aspects to this story that’s sad. I mean you have from a user experience perspective which a lot of our listeners, our user experience people, you have somebody who’s really one of the most exciting new voices in the community who was gagged within a year of emerging. Maybe a lot of our newer to the field or younger listeners haven’t heard the name Kathy Sierra. Go to her blog, go to headrush.typepad.com. It’s been orphaned for seven years now and check out that content. I mean she really had smart things to say. She was ahead of her time and she communicated in a great way.

That’s part of it. I mean another part of it is the horror over the kind of things that were happening to her and that those things are being accepted after the fact as okay by virtue of how her abusers are being treated by the media, by people in the user experience and other technology communities. It’s really horrifying and there isn’t a stampede against it. We should have our pitchforks out. If you don’t read this thing and go ice cold, there’s something wrong with you. The fact that these kind of things can happen is an absolute abomination.

Then we also, of course, have the more even meta layer of women. The fact that Kathy is a woman undoubtedly contributed to her being targeted in the first place and to the nature and tone and vociferousness of the attacks that she suffered. This story just hits on so many awful levels and we should be absolutely outraged and appalled and sad. I know, Jon, when you were reading the stuff today, I mean sadness was really what you came away with just really being bowled over.

Jon:
Yeah, yeah. I mean, for better or for worse, I think I probably insulate myself from horrific events. I try my best not to think about just all of the horrible things that can and do happen throughout the day. That “heads down” attitude that, like I said, that’s probably not the best way to go through existence all the time. But I think a lot of us get into that zone, where you’re looking for the next step on the projects you’re working on. And the distance that I have between really horrible and nasty events — not this in particular — but just generally speaking.
I know, for instance, on YouTube, I’m sure you could find the videos of ISIS beheading the American journalist. Like I just can’t bring myself to go and look at that.

Dirk:
No.
Jon:
In the same way, when I was a younger person, in my teens and early 20s, I actually quite enjoyed horror and darkness and whatever and was very into reading horror novels and whatever else. Then just at a certain point, as I got older, the reality of some of that started to creep in and more and more. I’ve just put up blinders, whether that was consciously or not. When I was reading the blog post today that she had written, that “Trouble at the Koolaid Point,” I realized here was someone who has just gone through a decade of suffering harassment.
It just made me feel rotten because I look at the perfect freedom of the Internet as being something good, where we can have an audience and speak to them or people can communicate across large distances and stay in touch with each other and be entertained and buy things quickly. All of those wonderful things about the Internet that I normally associated with it was immediately counter-balanced in the most despicable way by knowing that there is a large geography, that I’m probably not very well familiar with, where it’s driven by hate.

We all know that it exists, whatever you want to call it, the dark net, whatever. But that was just cold water in the face, to realize that this person had experienced that firsthand. Yeah, my immediate reaction was it made me very sad.

Dirk:
In her post, she has a call to arms at the end about, “Hey, we can make a safe community like Twitter, but not free and …” I shouldn’t put it that way because she explicitly doesn’t put it that way, but not a community that tolerates the abuse and harassment of others as she and other people have certainly suffered. She uses as an example a Java community that she, I think, she either states or it’s implied, she is or was a part of. Her point there was, “Look, this is a community with a whole bunch of people. The only rule is being nice. You know what? Everyone is nice.”
The problem is that in the Java community, you have people who’ve engaged that with a professional motive. They’re going in there because they already are interested in and engaged in their careers and they’re trying to learn, they’re trying to network, and they’re trying to build the reputation. You don’t have space literally for people who are just coming out from the corners of the wild who don’t have a reputation, who don’t have much going on in their lives, who can just rain terror on other people.

The challenge with a service like Twitter, the challenge with any kind of broad, open community is that you are inevitably going to get people in there who don’t have reputation, who have plenty of time, and oftentimes young and male and full of testosterone and is weird amalgam of stuff that allowed us to survive and propagate for millions of years or however long humanity has been around at an animal level that are really destructive at a social and civilized level that are going to go nuts.

The biggest problem of all is that these individuals, if you take one of them, and I mean I’ve certainly never done anything like what we’re talking about here, but when I was young and when I was doing asshole things, you get latched on to something. You just plow endless amounts of time into it. You’ve got these people who have all this time have all of these weird chemicals driving them to do bad stuff and they have nothing to lose. They have no reputation. They probably have low self-esteem. Each case is different, so I can’t say that for everyone. You’ve got this mix where that one person can be so destructive. On something on at the scale of Twitter, that one person is going to multiply and suddenly it’s 20.

The problem is how can you police that because most of us, like I’m outraged about the Kathy Sierra thing. If there were some plan to work against those people, how much time could I commit to that? How much effort could I commit to that? The answer is I think I would commit quite a bit more than most people but it’s still would be a small fraction of if somebody goes off on a bender of trying to destroy someone else of what they would be putting in to that effort. It’s a super, super hard problem and it’s one that I don’t know if it’s solvable in open broad global communities. I don’t know.

Jon:
Yeah, I think what the blog post reveals, at least to me, is that there are aspects to our online digital life which are just as miserable as our physical lives. The difference being that there actually is it seems to be a little more transparency on the digital side. If all of these had happened to offline to her, there probably would be much less visibility into it and the level that we know of all these things is directly attributable to the fact that it’s online.
At the same time, it probably also amplified it, because this harassment happens online. And so people who otherwise would never hear about it can join in for good or ill. And in her case, it seems like there has been an awful number of people who joined in for ill.

Dirk:
Yeah. I mean it’s … I don’t know. It’s a lot like the terrorist. I mean they’re all fired up about something and they’re at a point where they don’t have anything to lose that they’re willing to give it all. It’s so hard to combat. I mean what do we need? Do we need like a Delta Force of volunteers or people who are paid who, if bad people go and start trying to destroy good people, that this force comes out and destroys those bad people first in a reactive way? I mean there’s a reason why we have national military.
There’s a reason why humanity has evolved so that there’s local police in one form or another, and essentially, every civilized society. It’s because people, all of us have some badness in us but there are some people who really do a whole lot of bad. That needs to be protected against and combated. It might be naïve of us to think that the kind of individuals who tormented Kathy and her family aren’t out there. I mean they certainly are out there and maybe what we need to be thinking about and talking about is what is our equivalent response to a national military or to a local police?

What does that look like and how do we protect people because … I mean, Kathy, I can’t give her enough credit for the voice, the freshness, the smartness, the wonderful spirit that she brought to the UX community from 2006 to 2007 that’s basically been snuffed out ever since. Just selfishly, as UX people, we should find that acceptable, but more altruistically as good people, we should find it unacceptable. I don’t know. Something has to be done. We’ve got to figure out a solution and we can’t just quietly accept it. I mean we should be mad as hell and we should be really ready not to take it anymore.

Jon:
Yeah, I think as saddening as it is, it’s worth reading “Trouble at the Koolaid Point.” It’s unclear how long she’s going to leave that up on her blog, so we’ll link to it from our transcript, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at. Yeah, it is really still the Wild West as far as the Internet is concerned. Maybe we recognize that and maybe we don’t, but if we recall in American history, the only law in the Wild West was pretty much your six shooter.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much what we’ve got in a lot of cases as much as we’d like to believe otherwise. In our online lives, there is just not, as you pointed out, a general security apparatus to protect people because it’s so diffused, frankly, global that we’re all together in the same mix now, which makes it all that much harder once you choose to engage in a digital life. Unfortunately, that is the sad and depressing side of the digital life that we don’t touch on too much on the show but it’s definitely worth talking about, Dirk.

Dirk:
Yeah, we have to shine a light on it because if it’s left in the darkness, it will continue to fester. It will require effort and courage by those of us who aren’t willing to let that energy rule our community and our world.
Jon:
Listeners, remember that while you’re listening to the show, you can follow along with the things we’re mentioning here in real-time. Just head over to thedigitalife.com. That’s just one “L” in the “digitalife” and go to the page for this episode. We’ve included links to pretty much everything mentioned by everybody, so it’s a rich information resource to take advantage of while you’re listening or afterward if you’re trying to remember something that you liked. If you want to follow us outside of the show, you can follow me on Twitter, @jonfollett. That’s J-O-N-F-O-L-L-E-T-T. Of course, the whole show is brought to you by Involution Studios, which you can check out at goinvo.com. That’s G-O-I-N-V-O-.com. Dirk?
Dirk:
You can follow me on Twitter, @dknemeyer. That’s @-D-K-N-E-M-E-Y-E-R. Email me, dirk@knemeyer.com, and this week, instead of asking you to read me, I’m going to encourage you to read Kathy Sierra. Visit her old blog with wonderful UX content at headrush.typepad.com or go to seriouspony.com and particularly read as long as it’s still posted, she said she’s going to pull it at some point, “Trouble at the Koolaid Point,” but read all of her stuff. She’s brilliant and wonderful.
Jon:
That’s it for Episode 72 of The Digital Life. For Dirk Knemeyer, I’m Jon Follett, and we’ll see you next time.

The Digital Life Episode #71: UX for Emerging Tech: Unintended Consequences

With Jon Follet

Episode Summary
Along with the promise of emerging technologies — such as robotics, genomics, synthetic biology, 3d printing, and the Internet of Things — comes the very real problem of unintended consequences for people and our environment. While we can’t, in any real sense, truly predict the future, we can see how technologies of the past and present — from industrial factories to automobiles to nuclear weapons — have changed the landscape of our world, perhaps in ways that would have astounded the innovators who made those technologies possible.

In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the challenge of unintended consequences inherent in the adoption of emerging technologies and the potential role of user experience in mitigating them.

TRANSCRIPT
Jon:
Welcome to Episode 71 of The Digital Life, a show about our adventures in the world of design and technology. I’m your host, Jon Follett, and with me is founder and co-host, Dirk Knemeyer.
Dirk:
Hey, Jon. How are you this week?
Jon:
I’m doing well. Yeah, lots of work to do, but I’m doing well.
Dirk:
Great. What topics are emerging for us to talk about this week?
Jon:
I think this week, I’d really like to hone in on this broad topic of the future of design, and in particular, designing user experience, designing UX, for emerging technologies. The technologies I’m referring to, of course, include the Internet of things: robotics, synthetic biology, genomics, 3D printing, and additive fabrication, and material science and neuroscience. All of which are having major leaps forward over the recent history, and are just coming to the fore right now where they’re on the cusp of becoming something major, becoming something influential and disruptive for today’s industries.
What I think is really interesting about this moment, not just for designers but for people in general, is that we have all these innovations that are coming to the fore. Historically, when we’ve had those things happen in the past, we’ve seen things like the second industrial revolution in America, and that was when electric power became widespread and the light bulb and the automobile became a mass produced object, which really changed the entire flavor, the entire landscape of our country. You can imagine the 1900s experiencing all these great new technologies at the time and maybe not quite realizing how much modern life was going to change and develop.

I really think in 2014, we’re at another inflection point not dissimilar to that second industrial revolution. We have some of the benefits of hindsight of those historical moments that we just talked about, but also, we have an opportunity to maybe learn a little bit from some of the implementation problems that we had with the automobile. I mean the most notable being that we managed to supply so many people with automobiles that it caused all sorts of carbon dioxide and negatively affected our environment. Not just from autos, of course, but from other results from the industrial revolution.

Dirk, what are your thoughts on that moment from both a design and a humanistic perspective?

Dirk:
So much for these unintended consequences, and even an inability to see things when they’re happening. I mean it was a 100 years, give or take, after the automobile began being mass produced to the point when any kind of a popular level beyond just arcane scientists or very leading-edge activists, the people really understood the full scope and scale of the disaster that was brought upon us from just the automobile as a signifier of all these different transportation technologies as well as industrial production technologies that burn fossil fuels and contribute to the travesty that we’re driving head-first into at the moment.
The question of what are the unintended consequences of what’s to come are things that will be really hard to see other than for people who seem like they’re way out there for quite a while. The other interesting question is will those unintended consequences even have an opportunity to occur? Will we have massive scale power generation to the degree that will enable the digital emerging technologies that we see coming in 40 years? It is very non-zero that in 40 years, we no longer will have this. That the power we take for granted to light our bulbs and make our refrigerator hum and make our AC keep us nice and toasty, that play right now with everything that’s happening with the environment.

As interesting and intellectually exciting as this moment is in digital emerging technologies, there is a real question of whether the mistakes from the past and current paradigm will, long-term, render obsolete the path that we are currently right in the middle of professionally for people like you and me.

Jon:
Yeah. You raised a couple of good points there. Part of the promise of synthetic biology, for instance, and biotech generally speaking, is that some of the answers around sustainable energy solutions could come from that fields. You have biodiesel that would be produced by a modified organism like an e. coli bacteria that is especially manipulated in the lab to generate this diesel fuel. Now, as you raised the point, all of that takes energy. These bugs all need to consume something, they need to be produced in a certain way. They need to be protected from the environment outside. This process needs to be scaled up to an industrial-type solution.
All of those things walk hand in hand. “Can you produce this biofuel at less of an energy cost than you’re replacing with the fuel itself?” becomes a real sustainability question for some of this emerging tech.

Dirk:
Yeah, yeah, definitely so. The conversations around digital emerging technologies are interesting and important to have, but particularly when you frame them in the backdrop of the second industrial revolution. I can’t help but to jump to the question of is it even going to matter? Is it even going to happen ultimately or is it going to be like an early rushed Soviet era rocket that starts taking off on the pad and then plummets back down leaving a lot of destruction and not the ability to restart very quickly in its wake.
Jon:
Yeah, and I think there are so many reasons why that false start could happen. I mean you’re talking about technologies and then accessibility to those technologies is not guaranteed. On a certain level, it’s terrific that robots can work with us collaboratively to produce things quicker in factories or that we can 3D prints all sorts of objects right now and in the future, maybe even start 3D printing things like organs for replacement in our bodies when we wear these things out.
The question then also becomes one of access. In this Soviet era rocket crash that you just described, there is also, within that paradigm this class difference where certain people will have access to wonderful, miraculous technology and the rest of us will be underneath that rocket ship as it crashes down. There’s definitely a social aspect to this as well because there’s no guarantee that there’s going to be egalitarian access to these technologies or even access based on merit, like if you’re a young kid who is smart enough to work with these, there’s no really guarantee that you’ll have that access. I think we take those kinds of questions for granted when we’re ruminating about these future possibilities.

There are ultimately design … Inclusively, these all could be considered design problems of a sort.

Dirk:
Yeah. I mean they are design problems. The example that you chose opens up real unintended consequence questions for me. I mean we look at things like, “Oh, the printing of organs as these good things,” but let’s take health tech out to the nth degree, and let’s say, cancer is cured and organs can be hot swapped in and out and the whole nine yards. Where that ends up, and I’m no expert here so the number I choose could be ridiculous, but for the sake of a hypothetical example, let’s say everyone now suddenly is living to 200 years of age.
The modeling around what that would do to the world population would be frightening indeed. A lot of the problems that we are foisting upon the planet have to do with overpopulation as much as they have to do with burning fossil fuels and all of these other things. In our own well-intentioned attempts to pursue something closer to immortality for ourselves, selfishly for the one or the people we care about, we are unintentionally undermining the long-term viability and quality of life of the future of the species.

At the macro level, I am really skeptical about all of our attempts to extend life, cure disease, replace body parts. I think it’s really shortsighted, really selfish, and the impact on the human system and the earth system threatens to be absolutely catastrophic and faster than we might realize.

Jon:
To bring that home to a point we made earlier about the convergence of these technologies, we are at the point right now where these advances in technology are going to happen with or without design input, without a human in- … I mean a humanistic human-focused input. Without thought to these unintended consequences, these technologies will march forward under their own, the power of exploration in the name of science or the urge we have as a species to just try to do it just because we can.
I think it’s important to emphasize that from the design perspective, that’s both a challenge and an opportunity if as a systems designer, as a user experience designer, you can think about the total system impact of technologies. I think it’s critical that we get involved in this early, because this is happening now as we speak and the … I mean, maybe the horse has already left the barn, but there really is the need and the challenge to influence the way these technologies get shaped precisely for the reasons that you just articulated.

Dirk:
The thing that we’re fighting against is that human nature is to only react to something after it’s far too late. I think an instructive example of reacting to when changing the trajectory of technology would be with nuclear weapon technology. Once that horse was let out of the barn in 1945, the pursuit and the production of nuclear weapons just went crazy. I don’t have the specific numbers handy but we’re talking about thousands and thousands and thousands of warheads, and many nations pursuing the technology and the whole nine yards.
More recently now, after the Cold War ended, there’s actually been a decrease in the production of nuclear warheads and the production of nuclear weapons of any kind that are capable of eradicating millions of humans. It only happened after this huge arms race happened that collapsed the former Soviet Union, in part, and created arsenals that were big enough to obliterate the whole world many times over. It’s like only way after we had made all these stupid mistakes that we finally say, “Okay, geez, let’s reign it in.” Even still, there’s way too many nuclear weapons.

I predict that the way that these other technologies unfold and how they are used will be very similar. That even as it’s stupid for them to be exploited and pursued, they will be exploited and pursued, and it’s only after really nasty things happen and we don’t have a choice, and we’ll start to go in the other direction. I think if we look back over all of human history and I’ve chosen a more recent example, because I think the cycles of time are closer to where we are today than some more ancient examples, that’s just how we react. That’s just how we function.

Unfortunately, being that the technology and the things that are being produced now are so … Their potential is all global and so significant, that that is a recipe for a tragedy, frankly.

Jon:
Yeah. I wouldn’t disagree with your primary point there which is that generally speaking, we’re very bad at learning from our mistakes and pursuing things that put ourselves at risk. I do think that there are counter examples for less destructive technologies, such as the aforementioned electric power. Although I’m sure you could argue that has advanced the potential demise of our planet through power generation, another unintended consequence. Obviously, also doing a lot of good things along the way versus your example of the nuclear weapon, which really is technology with a single purpose, and the output is, I guess, unless you’re really aiming to destroy planet, there’s no good end game for having so many nukes around.
Growing up in the 80s, I do remember the paranoia and the worry about the consequences of those actions. That being said, there is an even greater change, I think, that will come because all these technologies are intercepting at this point in time. There’s a lot of things that we have an idea about how the Internet of things might develop or how robotics might be used, but then there is all of the cross-pollinated opportunities that present themselves when you think about robots that are responding to connected environments or 3D printing special materials that are based on research with synthetic biology.

The intersection of these technologies make for an even more complicated matrix of outcomes that I’m sure will provide us with a whole array of unintended consequences as well.

Dirk:
Yeah, yeah. Amen, brother, amen. The complexity around it all is at such a level that the prediction is just … It’s going to be hard. I mean hang on, folks, it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here.
Jon:
Yeah. I think we take for granted that … I mean, even having experienced most of the internet revolution and mobile revolution firsthand and just seeing some type of order shake out of all the initial technologies and scaling up and all the unintended consequence of those technologies, there’s an order of magnitude difference, I think, between the communication technologies that we’ve seen deployed in our lifetimes that have sped up and enhanced our ability to collaborate or to communicate.
The difference between that and the potential change that could come with something like synthetic biology or changes that additive fabrication and 3D printing can bring. I think the degree of change potential within the technologies we’re talking about today is so much greater than the communication technologies of the ’80s and ’90s that really did make a big difference in our lives. I think we’re looking at something much, much greater.

Dirk:
Yeah, yeah, no question about it. Underpinning it all is two words that you just used which are speed up and enhance. All of these things, both from the second industrial, really the first industrial revolution, through the things that are happening now, many of them, if you boil down the benefits, it’s about speeding up and enhancing. Certainly, for me, as an individual selfish person, it’s totally rocking that in Columbus, Ohio, I can get a great, fresh sushi whenever I wanted. It’s totally rocking that I can decide I want to go to Egypt and look at the pyramids and the next day I can be there. Like that’s all great.
However, is it great for humanity? Is the cost to give me those conveniences to speed up and enhance my life, is that cost worth it? Just because I can afford it in the context of the money that I have from my participation in the society, the actual cost, the real cost of that on the planet, on the future is just substantial. It’s huge. Are those good things? You said earlier when we’re recording that there are good things that come from this, but I think in most cases, I could make a good argument that those things aren’t good things, that they are superficially good, they make us happy, they give us pleasure, they give us power, but are they good for the holistic? Are they good in the broader context? I think it’s generally no.

Jon:
I think that raises some interesting questions for designers as we proceed forward. Incorporating what is good for humanity in a general sense with our input into technology development or our input into how a product gets deployed or the ecosystem into which it gets deployed. It’s probably a little hard to imagine that we’re going to be shifting our jobs to accommodate these new technologies but I have no doubt that that’s coming. While the things we’re doing today, the skill sets that we have for interpreting user needs, human needs, those baseline skill sets will transfer. I think we’re going to be shifting in a major way to accommodate the advent of these new technologies.
Then it seems from your position, Dirk, that the way in which we face this or make evaluations about what we’re doing will be very difficult in terms of determining whether the outcome of the products we’re creating, the services we’re creating have the benefits that not just for the single person who’s purchasing the service but also for the greater good as well. I’m sure that there’s a design thesis somewhere in there, because that seems like a terribly difficult thing to balance.

Dirk:
Yeah, I mean it’s almost impossible to balance because human nature is selfish, human nature is shortsighted, short-term; human nature is focused on not just the self but the people you care about the most to the detriment of others. That’s just natural. It’s not anything bad or evil. It’s just how we are. I think it’s possible for some of us to see beyond that and put the broader concern first, but no way in hell is it going to be possible for the majority of us to do so. That’s going to result in needing to have a big, ugly crash before you can right the ship.
Jon:
Yes, so I know that emerging technologies is an extremely broad topic and we’ve touched on some of the larger themes affecting that and design today, but in the coming weeks and months, I know that we’re going to dig further into this, not just in a broad sense but more around specific technologies as well and how we’re anticipating user experience will be playing a part in all of those. Part of the reason for that is in December, there’s a book I’m the lead author and editor on called “Designing for Emerging Technologies” which O’Reilly Media is publishing and that has an array of very smart people who were kind enough to contribute chapters to the book. Folks from Intel research, Autodesk research, MIT Media Lab, a lot of great folks who are very kind and came on board this project. Looking forward to seeing that finally made available and published on the street. We’ll be digging into this topic, designing for emerging technologies as the weeks and months progress.
Listeners, remember that while you’re listening to the show, you can follow along with the things we’re mentioning here in real-time. Just head over to thedigitalife.com. That’s just one “L” in the “digitalife,” and go to the page for this episode. We’ve included links to pretty much everything mentioned by everybody, so it’s a rich-information resource to take advantage of while you’re listening or afterward if you’re trying to remember something that you liked. If you want to follow us outside of the show, you can follow me on Twitter, @jonfollett. That’s J-O-N-F-O-L-L-E-T-T. Of course, the whole show is brought to you by Involution Studios, which you can check out at goinvo.com. That’s G-O-I-N-V-O-.com.

Dirk:
If you want to get in touch with me, you can follow me on Twitter. My username is @dknemeyer. That’s @-D-K-N-E-M-E-Y-E-R. Email me: dirk@knemeyer.com, or read me: dirk.knemeyer.com.
Jon:
That’s it for Episode 71 of The Digital Life. For Dirk Knemeyer, I’m Jon Follett, and we’ll see you next time.

The Digital Life Episode #70: BIF10 in Review

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #70: BIF10 in Review With Jon Follet Episode Summary In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the recent BIF10 innovation conference, and some of the notable presentations including: Dan Pink’s new TV show Crowd Source, where social science and design for behavior change meet reality TV, and Rupal Patel’s [...]

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The Digital Life Episode #69: Redesign Democracy

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #69: Redesign Democracy With Jon Follet Episode Summary Today’s democratic system in the United States is largely the same as that instituted in 1789 under our first president, George Washington. This much-celebrated system is based on the original democracy from ancient Athens, established almost 2,000 years earlier. Fast forward to 2014. [...]

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The Digital Life Episode #68: The Right Way to Hire a Digital Studio

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #68: The Right Way to Hire a Digital Studio With Jon Follet Episode Summary In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the right way to hire a digital studio — from skipping the RFP to starting with a test project to making sure company culture matches up between designer [...]

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The Digital Life Episode #67: Why UX is a Hot Commodity and Automating Knowledge Work

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #67: Why UX is a Hot Commodity and Automating Knowledge Work With Jon Follet Episode Summary In this episode of The Digital Life, we delve into the reasons that user experience has become the “it” field of the moment. Is it the desire for great design, created by companies like Apple? [...]

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The Digital Life Episode #66: Critiquing Infovis, Exploring Behavior Change in UX, and Celebrating BIF10

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #66: Critiquing Infovis, Exploring Behavior Change in UX, and Celebrating BIF10 With Jon Follet Episode Summary In this episode of The Digital Life, we critique CNN’s sad information visualization, dig into design for behavior change as a new frontier for UX, and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Business Innovation Factory [...]

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The Digital Life Episode #65: Data Crunching the World Cup

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life Episode #65: Data Crunching the World Cup With John Follet Episode Summary In this episode of The Digital Life, we launch our new weekly format, with founder Dirk Knemeyer’s return to the co-host chair. We also take a little journey into the back story behind the data rich information visualization and long [...]

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The Digital Life: Episode #63

by Dirk August 25, 2015

The Digital Life: Episode #63 Apple, Google, and the State of mHealth With Jonathan Follet Episode Summary In a perfect world our health information provider would be a non-profit that worked with every technology provider, creating a single open platform that was easy and available to all. In reality, health is becoming the battleground of [...]

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Elena 5.6 & Soren 3.35

by Dirk August 8, 2015

So often, I step outside of myself and realize: “THIS is the best time of my life.” And my children are such a big reason for that. My nuclear family, to include my own parents and then my wife and all of my children, are all kind, sweet, thoughtful people. It is a lovely core [...]

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