What if we could harness the best parts of boys’ play while rechanneling impulses of aggression and hyper-competition? What if we, as a culture, nurtured boys to play differently? What if we asked that toys for boys guide social development the way we have begun to expect from toys designed for girls? Boy 2.0 is line of toys designed to appeal to boys that encourage empathy, collaboration and conflict-netralization. One example is WeeSplat–a reinterpretation of the toy gun in the form of a snake that coils around the boy’s arm with a sticky, tentacle-esque tongue that can be fired out to capture game tokens. Playing collaboratively with a friend enables new features like lights and sounds that aren’t available when playing solo. By capitalizing on the kinds of play in which boys are already engaging, BOY 2.0 is a product line that will facilitate social change and be a satisfying product.
Boy 2.0 Project Team:
- Göde Both, University of Paderborn
- Marisa Cohn, University of California-Irvine
- Madeline Elish, Columbia University
- Kavita Kulkarni, NYU
- Silvia Lindtner, University of California-Irvine
- Sumitra Nair, Virginia Tech
Boy 2.0′s design challenge: Dark Values and Design for Hesitation
When we design with values in mind, there is a natural tendency to engage the pro-social or aspirational values on the positive end of a spectrum. There are entirely different sets of values – the negative, anti-social, destructive, abusive, abandoning, neglecting, disenfranchising – that are often invoked in cautionary or failure narratives of designed technologies and systems. But, can we design for these dark values with intention, even if only to learn and recognize the processes by which they come into the world? How would you go about designing a technology that embodies the values of control, subtle shifts to rob users of their agency, or subverts human and social values to convince people to behave against their own interests? Moving back toward the theme of responsive and responsible design, how can we design technologies to incorporate moments for hesitation, and opportunities to cultivate a sociotechnical reflexive practice? Each act of design involves acts of inclusion and exclusion. How do we make those explicit in the process of design? Your challenge is to design a piece of technology or software that embodies “Dark Values” or creates a space for hesitation in practice or process.