Workshop Details

Personalization promises better experience, but it often gets us wrong in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it's laughable, like a wayward ad for socks that follows us around the internet. Sometimes, it's perplexing, like when one friend shows up in your feed all the time while others languish in obscurity. At its worst, it's biased and discriminatory.

Maybe the AI will automagically make it better, but how can we know when so much of it is black box? In this workshop, we will forge a new path for personalization by experimenting on ourselves and empathizing with each other to come up with legible personalization.

In the first part of the workshop, we will engage in a little Indiana (it's no Ohio, but still) Jones style self-archeology--unearthing ad preferences, analyzing our Netflix or Instagram or Spotify suggestions without shame, and applying Magic Sauce to delineate our data doppelgangers.

In the second part of the workshop, we will research the marginal practices and strange rituals people have around personalization. Then, run some experiments to test the limits of personalization, what transparency really means, and how to support agency.

In the third part of the workshop, we will stage a positive intervention. Working through a new framework, we will develop personas that account for our new distributed, interconnected digital selves and design legible personalization to give people agency.

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How to Design for Well-Being

Talk Details

We design technologies to make life easier, to help tiresome chores go faster, and to add value to people's lives. We strive for seamless interaction. We obsess over the details. We believe that we are making the world a better place.

And yet it seems that technology is chipping away at our well-being. It's demanding our attention in all the wrong ways. More than that, there are real social and emotional costs.

What if, instead, we could design for a positive impact on our personal and collective well-being? This session will walk through some of the core principles of designing for happiness, a framework for translating short-term emotions to long-term values, and positive patterns that can reframe our approach to design.


Pamela Pavliscak is Founder of Change Sciences, an insights and innovation firm, and faculty at The Pratt Institute, where she studies our emotional relationship with technology. Pamela works with organizations, ranging from IKEA to TIAA to the USDA, to design for wellbeing. She has spoken about emotions and technology at SXSW, TEDx, Web Summit, among other conferences. She serves on a global initiative to develop the IEEE standard for ethics and AI. Designing for Happiness, her book about how to create a tech future that contributes to our wellbeing, will be published by O'Reilly in fall 2017.