As a consequence of the pandemic, we spend more time using digital technologies which are constantly evolving to persuade us in new, unexpected ways. But what does this persuasion entail and how does it work? This interdisciplinary discussion will explore the two-way interactional process of humans and persuasive digital technologies. It will touch upon the nature of this interaction, the persuasive systems that we predominantly engage with, the psychological effects of these systems, and ways for us to steer the technologies that are designed to steer us.
In this discussion, we will playfully explore the goals and intents of the cyborgs (cybernetic organisms), us humans have become. A cybernetic organism extends its physical and cognitive abilities in the world by integrating or interfacing with different technologies. The technologies we use, however, are never neutral but influences our thoughts and actions. They can thereby be considered persuasive systems. Persuasion, the act of intentionally influencing other people, is omnipresent in society. At work or home, in business, politics or academia, persuasion is not only unavoidable, but it is also a central part of interpersonal interaction. Everyone persuades and is persuaded all the time. The technologies which people use to persuade more effectively are constantly developing, creating new expected and unexpected ways to persuade. New forms of digital products and services lead to new forms of persuasion, which require new or modified design methods. Sometimes, the influence is bidirectional, and we now engage in mutual learning processes with machines, algorithms and computer programs.
As a consequence of the pandemic, we spend more time using digital technology. It begs the question: what happens when we expose our hearts and minds to the influence of persuasive systems? What persuasive systems do we engage with, which systems do we use to leverage our agency in the world? How can we better steer the technologies designed to steer us? These questions and many others will be explored with openness and curiosity at this interdisciplinary discussion.