Post 10 – Reflection & Proposition

During the one on one design propositions with my colleague, it was apparent that I had not distinguished between white hat hackers and black hat hackers enough and as the issue was about transparency, the advice was to properly introduce white hat hackers and black hat hackers to the audience so that they have a clear understanding between the two before they enter and navigate the space. Other comments were that they felt the proposal was very fitting for the issue and topic that I chose – which is that of online privacy and data security, specifically transparency on hackers. The feedback that I received from my tutor, was that my proposal contains many different spaces and ideas and rather than attempting to fit many different ideas into the space, it would be best to be more specific and portray one idea effectively throughout the space. The idea that was most effective was the splitting of the space into three different “zones” or spaces – black, white and grey, each representing the various hackers and their motives. The feedback was to incorporate more than just a history or timeline or even motives of hackers, but to also portray values such as morals (in the context of white, black and grey morality) and other information that would not be easily and readily available from an internet search. Another notion that was emerged from the discussion was to focus on the relationship between the user and the space and how they can communicate and interact with it, rather than it being a one way conversation.

The design proposition attempts to solve the issue of hackers and their lack of transparency in relation to government laws and public perception through the use of data visualization in a gallery and exhibition space. The avenues of possible change are generally associated directly with the user and audience of the space, in the sense that, due to the nature of the issue, their perception, knowledge and point of view is most important. Thus, it is best to conclude that successful solutions would increase the knowledge and expands the perception of the end user. To support this “change”, the space would be divided into three smaller spaces, black, white and grey. Each smaller space would serve as a point of information as well as a catalyst that evokes emotions and critical thinking on more specific themes such as morality, political correctness and more. As the issue itself is of a global scale, my proposition aims to open these exhibition spaces throughout the world on several different dates. The possibility of change in this process is directly linked to the success of the exhibition “world tours”, as media coverage would be the best way to shed transparency on a large scale. As the notion of “morality” is extremely open ended and is open to individual perception, and rather than forcing upon them preconceived notions of what is morally “white” or “good” and what is morally “black” or “bad”, it would be best to allow the user to make the choice themselves. To remove as much conscious and subconscious social and political values, the users would not need to disclose their identity and questions would generally ask which statement resonates with them the most. Rather than providing a scenario or hacking that occurred and the parties involved and allowing the users to choose, it would be best to display multiple statements that portray the intentions, motives and values of the white and black hat hackers, as it would eliminate any prejudices against a certain group.

To interact with the space, there could either be kiosks throughout the exhibition, or a mobile phone application that allows the user to communicate with the space and also to guide the user throughout the space. Once the user has chosen a statement, the kiosk or application would direct the user to a different space (black, white or grey), where the user would be placed in an immersive experience that reveals which party (white hat or black hat) they chose, as well as providing details on the event that occurred through text, audio, video and imagery. The data displayed would include the event itself, laws, the respective hacker’s motives, values and perspectives at the time and also the stakeholders affected.

In regards to the aforementioned mobile application, an augmented reality type application that utilizes the phone’s camera would be most effective as it is an emerging technology and would also allow information and imagery to overlay on the users screen as they are pointing the camera around. This would allow for a different, unique experience for each user depending on their actions within the space. As such, rather than cluttering the space with information, key points and values should be displayed on the physical space (in the form of projections), whilst the mobile companion application would allow users to access further information. This type of interaction between mobile phones and a physical space would likely pique interest in the target demographic which is teens, young adults and adults, as these age brackets are generally the most technologically literate.

The coloured spaces will also update in real-time in relation to the users’ choices, for example, if many users resonated with the black hat hackers, the black space would grow larger, whilst the other two spaces would grow smaller. As such, the main focus of the space and experience is to provide the user with multiple choices, which ultimately affect the space. To allow a single user to experience multiple perspectives, there should be various scenarios set up throughout the space which also change each day. To stimulate critical thinking amongst the user, the notion of “is there such a thing as a ‘bad’ hacking?” and similar ideas should be raised throughout their experience, as although malicious hackings are often morally viewed as unethical, it could also be argued that security technologies would not have progressed to where it is currently if not for black hat, malicious hackers.

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