This session, proposed by Dan Ariely and Sarah Szalavitz, will investigate the relationship between morality and user engagement online, as well as in real life. Prior to the presentation, we will ask friends and the SXSW community to participate in an experiment to explore how the choices we are offered by user experiences and online communities "game" the outcome--or whether we are making choices at all, if our brains can't resist seeking Mayorships on FourSquare or growing farms on Farmville. During the session, we'll first offer the survey to attendees, share our findings from the results we already have, and then explore the implications for online behavior, user experience, and morality. We'll consider how cognitively irresistible user experiences are created, as well as its on both our online and offline identities. Further, we'll explore how the predetermination of user behavior by choice optimization and social design, can encourage cheating, both by users and designers. Finally, we'll look at the impact the flexibility of our morality in our various identities and behaviors could have on the future of the choices we'll both offer and be offered.
11th–15th March 2011