ARTIFICIAL FREE WILL
MY PARSONS DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY SENIOR THESIS:
CHOICE PARADOX & DATA COLLECTION
CONVENIENCE OVER SECURITY
DOES TECHNOLOGY CHOOSE FOR US?
We are the product.
To clarify, it is the change in our own behavior and perception--that is the product.
Big Data has better predictions of what we will do and who we are.
Its these models that predict our actions, and whoever has the best model wins.
I created an interactive website that evokes the frustration of the choice paradox concept, and targets the indecisive generation that it overwhelms.
Along with the choice paradox, I expose the data exhaust we constantly share for convenience over our own security. This website represents how the amount of personal data being collected by the internet is used to “help” guide us into making decisions, and later (with machine learning being able to process the data) to predict our decisions and perhaps direct them.
This experiment is to encourage people to become more of an active player in their decision-making, and become aware that each user is a product of collective intelligence. Our free will to choose is being altered by technologies’ accumulation of personal data and choice architecture, to strategically direct us to choose artificially.
The Choice Paradox is a situation where there are too many choices or options, resulting in one of two outcomes:
1) no decision at all because the subject overwhelmed or
2) the subject ends up choosing but never fully satisfied, because another choice could have been slightly better.
“Data is the new Oil”
The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. The oil of the digital era.
“Artificial Free Will”
The idea that our free will to choose is being manipulated by data collection, choice architecture and collective intelligence to “suggest” if not direct our choices.
Are you indecisive?
Would you choose convenience over security?
The website is designed to evoke the frustration emotion of the choice paradox, by presenting overwhelming content for an indecisive generation.
It also spreads awareness of the risk of clicking “accept” on each digital platform, which leads us to share our personal data publicly.
By exposing how technology can decide for us in low- and high-stakes situations, it is designed to show the absurdity of the internet choosing for us at all.
I want users to be aware of their data exhaust and to become proactive in their decision-making, while they still can.
Pre-Covid Original Thesis Exhibition Idea:
May 11th, 2020 was the original Parsons DT thesis exhibition, where I was planning on displaying my interactive website on a podium. Behind the podium would be a wall with the description, statistics, and video compilations of examples our data exhaust everyday.
We adapted to publishing the exhibition online, visit: