Imagining the Cool-ag: or, freedom considered harmful

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Linehan, Conor
Kirman, Ben
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Association for Computing Machinery, ACM
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This short paper makes an argument about our lack of comfort, as researchers, in developing a science, and a technology, for enacting control over behavior. We present a design fiction about a smart prison, in which behavior change is facilitated via always-on IoT-facilitated monitoring. This fiction may be read simultaneously as a constructive application of behavioural science to an appropriate context, and as a dystopian attack on personal freedom. We argue that the implementation of ubicomp systems that are intended to facilitate behavior change (i.e., almost all ubicomp systems), will inevitably lead to questions over personal freedom. We draw parallels to the reaction of society to the field of behavioural psychology, which has an expressed goal of gaining prediction and control over behavior. Ultimately, if we are to realise the potential of ubicomp to change society positively, we need to become comfortable with enacting control, or in other words, taking responsibility.
Freedom , Behavioural psychology , Ubicomp , Design fiction , Internet of Things (IoT)
Linehan, C. and Kirman, B. (2019) 'Imagining the Cool-ag: Or, Freedom Considered Harmful', Proceedings of the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 19-20 November, Association for Computing Machinery, Article 41 (4 pp). doi: 10.1145/3363384.3363485
© 2019 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in HTTF 2019: Proceedings of the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019,