Ethical Design – Civic Play

For those that don’t know me, you may not know, that I used to want to be a Doctor. I struggled for a long time about what I wanted to do with my life after realizing that medicine doesn’t always allow you to heal people the correct way. (Or in my eyes, what would be the correct way.) So… I said peace out – let’s do something creative.

In the last few years, though, I realized that my desire to help is stronger than my desire just to make new stuff. And I realized that the tools that I had at my disposal – namely my fingers ability to type on a little keypad – was just as powerful at shaping and healing the world. More so, after the dawn of sites like Facebook – I came to understand that it’s every designer’s duty to design products ethically, with social responsibility, and with cultural understanding.

That is to say — the software tools people use in their everyday lives has more effect on them than doctors. And it’s my responsibility to make sure that effect is positive!

I recently applied to a phD program. My proposal was to study how games that have both a physical and virtual component can help rejoin broken communities and create positive social interactions. Specificially, imagine a world where things like park playgrounds are connected… how can this help people learn and create tighter communities? Well… the feedback I got was that that my ideas were “too idealic”.

Today, two and 1/2 weeks after the interview inwhich I got this interrogation, I read any article:

“Constance Steinkuehler is on an 18-month assignment at the White House, studying the civic potential of video games.”

Dream big. And big things happen.

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