Lecture on January 21th, 2021
Twitter is a Bad Game
Prof. Dr. C. Thi Nguyen (University of Utah)
About the lecture
Twitter makes conversation into something like a game. It scores our communication, giving us vivid and quantified feedback, via Likes, Retweets, and Follower counts. But this gamification doesn’t just increase our motivation to communicate; it changes the very nature of the activity. Games are more satisfying than ordinary life precisely because game-goals are simpler, cleaner, and easier to apply. Twitter is thrilling precisely because its goals have been artificially clarified and narrowed. When we buy into Twitter’s gamification, then our values shift from the complex and pluralistic values of communication, to the narrower quest for popularity and virality. Twitter’s gamification bears some resemblance with the phenomena of echo chambers and moral outrage porn. In all these phenomena, we are manipulating our ends for pleasure. And we are permitting the technology – and the institutions behind it – to control the content of our values. We are outsourcing our values.
About the speaker
C. Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. He writes on aesthetics, social epistemology, games, trust, echo chambers, porn, and social media. His first book is Games: Agency as Art (OUP).
photo credit: C. Thi Nguyen, cropped
Thursday, 21. January 2021, 18:15-19:45
– delivered in digital form –
Register here to get access to the lecture:
programme "Taming the Machines" in winter 2020/21 [pdf]