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Medium | 04.10.15

Back Stage at the Machine Theater

Karen Levy, Tim Hwang

D&S fellows Karen Levy and Tim Hwang ask after the ethics of design theater.

Excerpt: “A machine’s front stage performance gets enacted through design. Just as a human provides front stage cues through her appearance and behavior (for instance, by talking with a certain degree of formality, or wearing a uniform), design provides signals for how the people around a machine should understand and interact with it. Sometimes these cues are relatively forthright: press this button to start, plug me in here. But just as humans can provide social cues that mislead others about their ‘true’ nature, the design of a system or artifact can invoke deception: a machine, like a person, can lie, omit, or mislead.”

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