Bull Session194 podcasts

Bull Session


November 26, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Anonymous, in the wake of their declaring war on the terrorist group, ISIS.

This conflict represents something entirely new in 21st century warfare, and is strongly related to the transformation of power in the digital age. Both of these groups are new types of organizations — nimble, distributed, and asynchronous — they present their adversaries with few primary targets. They both rely heavily on digital tools to inspire others to join a movement.

Will Anonymous’ war on ISIS ultimately be harmful or helpful? While stopping the ISIS propaganda machine would be of great benefit, removing terrorists from Twitter and other social networks will make it more difficult for national intelligence agencies and security firms to track them. And, in response to the campaign by Anonymous, ISIS will no doubt change its online tactics to defend itself.

As we watch this cyberwar unfold, we can only imagine how it is a precursor to future conflicts where the boundaries blur between the digital and physical worlds.

Anonymous Takes on IS
Cyber War: What Can Anonymous Really Do to ISIS?
Is Anonymous’ War on ISIS Doing More Harm Than Good?

Bull Session

Apple Software UX

November 19, 2015          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we chat about Apple and the state of its software design. Is Apple off the rails? Is Google nipping at its heels? You could argue that Google is getting better at design at the same time Apple is getting worse.

An interesting article on Fast Company by Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini, “How Apple is Giving Design a Bad Name” sets the stage for this discussion. With the mobile iOS, Norman and Tognazzini argue that Apple has abandoned some of the fundamental principles of good design including discoverability, feedback, and recovery.

In contrast, Google is doing some interesting things with its Android OS. Experimental design is part of the conversation and the company is unafraid to evolve in the open.

How Apple is Giving Design a Bad Name
Google Design


Bull Session

Fantasy Sports and Big Data

November 5, 2015          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life we chat about fantasy sports, big data, and the user experience.

It’s an interesting time for fantasy sports, to say the least. With 57 million players in the US and Canada, the industry is seeing booming growth. However, both the Justice Department and the FBI are investigating two of its biggest players, FanDuel and DraftKings. In particular, the Justice Department is looking at whether fantasy sports fall outside of a Federal prohibition on Internet gambling, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which outlawed online poker and sports betting. Is it a game of skill or gambling, pure and simple?

And, on the digital side, we ask, what are the implications for fantasy sports, when your big data product is derived from the activities of athletes whose personal licensing is, at least for the time being, entirely controlled by larger interests, the sports leagues and players associations themselves?

Betting on the Fantasy World
Pierre Garcon files lawsuit against FanDuel on behalf of NFL players
Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban, Ted Leonsis Betting $44 Million on Sportradar’s Data

Bull Session

Dark UX Patterns

October 22, 2015          

Episode Summary

On the podcast this week, we chat about dark UX patterns, those dirty UI tricks that some designers use to get people to do things they never intended to do — like purchase products or services they don’t need.

UX designer Harry Bignull has brought attention to this problem with his curated pattern library at Darkpatterns.org. Scams like the “bait and switch” have been around for hundreds of years, but in the digital world, whether its online or via a voice UI, the potential for deceit at scale is so much greater.

Lots of big brands use dark UX patterns. For instance, most recently LinkedIn was subject to a class action lawsuit, with an award of $13 million in compensation for a deceitful UI workflow that resulted in spam related to “expanding your professional network”.

We discuss the proliferation of dark UX patterns in every kind of digital communication and commerce.

After Lawsuit Settlement, LinkedIn’s Dishonest Design Is Now A $13 Million Problem


Bull Session

The Volkswagen Software Scandal

October 1, 2015          

Episode Summary

This week, on The Digital Life, we chat about the Volkswagen scandal and the increasingly important role that software plays in controlling our physical world.

Last week, Volkswagen, the biggest automaker in the world, got caught cheating on its diesel engine emissions tests. The automaker installed software, a “defeat device” in its cars to make them appear cleaner while they were being tested. As a result, the company faces $18B in fines in the US alone.

While this is probably not the first time software has been used to circumvent regulation, the VW scandal is so high profile that it feels like a game changer. In this, the digital and physical worlds are colliding in ways we haven’t seen before. What is the responsibility for software in the real world? And what is the responsibility of design and user experience?

Bosch warned Volkswagen about illegal software use
Volkswagen: The scandal explained
Volkswagen scandal…in two minutes