Skeptech was the world's first event to question the tech industry, raise awareness about some of its problematic behavior, and describe positive ways of building, managing, and using technology to actually make the world better.
Summary of the talks:
• In my introductory remarks (minute 4 of the video), I listed four main problems posed by today's tech industry: Security, Privacy, Arrogance, and Manipulation. (If only it had a good acronym, right?)
• Douglas Rushkoff (author, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus) argued for why we should join "team human." At roughly minute 31 of the video: "When I say, 'humans are special, we have awareness, we have consciousness,' my west-coast friends say, 'Oh, Doug, you only say that because you're human.'" (Douglas's podcast: Team Human)
• Natasha Dow Schull (author, Addiction by Design) presented her concept of "ludic loops" - specifically, how apps and social networks employ design patterns from addictive Las Vegas slot machines in order to "hook" their users. At 1:04 (minute 64) of the video, Natasha describes the Snapchat Streaks feature, which tracks the number of consecutive days two friends have chatted: "The mechanism becomes the point. This becomes about maintaining the streak, not the friendship."
• Vicki Boykis talked about life in Stalinist Russia and how there are some uncanny parallels to online life today, like conformity and self-censorship. Go to 1:12 (minute 72) of the video to watch her talk from the beginning.
• Liz Berg, Assistant General Manager of WFMU, described how the station continues to create meaningful community with and among its listeners – and then Liz gave specific suggestions for how your team can do the same. Go to 1:38 (minute 98) of the video to watch Liz's talk, called "User Engagement Do-Over."
• Ken Freedman, Station Manager of WFMU, spoke about "The Fine Art of Troll-Whispering," pointing out that trolls pre-date the web – and he listed specific ways that any team can combat or neutralize trolls. Send this to any team that claims to build community online! 1:49 (minute 109) of the video. Watch it.
More Skeptech info, and all speaker bios, at skeptech.info.
Next Skeptech event: Mark your calendar! On Thursday, October 26, we'll return to WFMU for the next Skeptech event – in person and via livestream.