Canine Centered Design and Engineering

FFFUTURES #9, Oct 12, 2020

FFFUTURES shares notes relevant to minds building future scenarios and extended realities. If you’d like to sign up, you can do it here.


In gaming, the length of an RPG is one of its most significant selling points. People who are eager to play the game rejoice when they learn the main campaign will take "at least 80 hours to complete".

Some ask for more:

"I've been waiting for this game for 5 years, they should've aimed at minimum for 120 hours."

"Maybe you can hit 100 hours when you count the side quests."

"The expansion better add 20 hours to that."

And that time is just for one game. Most gamers have completed dozens of games of similar lengths. And let's not forget about MMOs, which are in an entirely different category among time-demanding entertainment: these games have a lifespan of years.

There are also games with infinite replayability. For example, the ones in the recently invented genre of Battle Royales, like PUBG, or Fortnite.

We can also find infinite replayability in traditional card games. However, there’s a heightened sense of engagement in the mix between boardgame + videogame. The digital medium opens very unique opportunities in the traditional format.

The core elements that create an absorbing environment, other than gameplay, are progression trackers, artificial scarcity of cards, drop rate, rarity, and having opponents just one click away at all times.

In this space, I wanted to bring attention to Magic: The Gathering Arena, and the case of a user who recently shared his story about addiction to the game, and overcoming it. You can find that story here.

There are many things to praise and recognize in games like Magic Arena, I do not want to dismiss their impact on the culture. But it’s good to spend time taking a closer look at the mind-bending realities they’re capable of creating. As the author posted on his Reddit post:

As the days passed, I found myself playing more and more, and when I was not playing I was thinking about the game and possible new decks and strategies.

I listened to podcasts about drafting, studied the format, read all the spoilers and guides. I even created a second account so I could draft more.

We can notice (and maybe recognize in ourselves) that state of mind in which every waking moment is a space dedicated to that topic or activity which we are daily pulled by. In the post, many commenters share their own stories about dedicating not hours, not days, but years, to one single game (ie. WoW, DotA, MtgA, Diablo).

And again, this is not the say the game is at fault. But the game designers and developers have an ethical responsibility to consider how to deal with their audience who have addictive personalities, or a tendency to lost track of time and self while experiencing the realities they've created.

👁️ Omnirealities

AR dog goggles could help protect Soldiers

I’m adding this to Omnirealities because this article is about AR, even if it’s not for humans...

“AR will be used to provide dogs with commands and cues; it’s not for the dog to interact with it like a human does. This new technology offers us a critical tool to better communicate with military working dogs.”

I like how the developers mention that this technology “focuses on understanding canine vision and cognition”, which leads me to think that we may not be far away from seeing an adaptation of the Human-Centered Design principles to Canine-Centered ones.

A new technology provides military working dogs with augmented reality goggles that allows a dog’s handler to give it specific directional commands while keeping the warfighter remote and out of sight.

🔮 Future Scenarios

Speculative design and Indian Mythology. A correlation

Anirudh Natuu, Design Director at Globant in India, shares a very interesting take on the correlation between speculative design and Indian mythology.

Image for post

I’m not familiar with Indian mythology, but reading about it piqued my curiosity. Especially because this exercise of looking at the past through today’s lenses ends up uncovering intriguing overlaps, which end up making the journey quite an educational one.

💀 Not a Cylon

Oliver Jenkins, @oliverjenkinsart

Oliver Jenkins, @oliverjenkinsart

Oliver Jenkins, @oliverjenkinsart

🧠 Common Enemy

The Cruel New Era of Data-Driven Deportation

Alvaro M. Bedoya, founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, writes for Slate an informative (and harsh) closer look at how big data is being used to target people, and how the government’s reach got to this point.

For a long time, mass deportations were a small-data affair, driven by tips, one-off investigations, or animus-driven hunches. But beginning under George W. Bush, and expanding under Barack Obama, ICE leadership started to reap the benefits of Big Data.

Why kids need special protection from AI’s influence

This article shares a high-level view of a new set of guidelines from Unicef designed to help governments and companies develop AI policies that consider children’s needs. Definitely a must-read for people doing consulting in AI, or designing products that leverage this technology.

Children, in other words, are often at the forefront when it comes to using and being used by AI, and that can leave them in a position to get hurt. “Because they are developing intellectually and emotionally and physically, they are very shapeable,” says Steve Vosloo, a policy specialist for digital connectivity at Unicef, the United Nations Children Fund.


Principled Artificial Intelligence - Download the graphic map

This is the massive map of “ethical and rights-based approaches to principles for AI” developed by investigators at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. It’s a good way to spend a long time traversing the map and learning about all the other principles published by different institutions and private companies.

Are you hacking with futures and other realities? Do you have comments, stories, or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you. Reach out:

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