experiments in design

I love every taako

You’ve probably heard a lot about our future filled with self-driving cars. In fact, they are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? In our TED-Ed Lesson, The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars, Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.

Here’s an example for you to think about:

Let’s say there’s a motorcyclist wearing a helmet to your left and another one without a helmet to your right. Which one should your robot car crash into?

If you say the biker with the helmet because she’s more likely to survive, then aren’t you penalizing the responsible motorist? If, instead, you save the biker without the helmet because he’s acting irresponsibly, then you’ve gone way beyond the initial design principle about minimizing harm, and the robot car is now meting out street justice. 

The ethical considerations get more complicated here. In both of our scenarios, the underlying design is functioning as a targeting algorithm of sorts.2:44In other words, it’s systematically favoring or discriminating against a certain type of object to crash into. And the owners of the target vehicles will suffer the negative consequences of this algorithm through no fault of their own. 

Could it be the case that a random decision is still better than a predetermined one designed to minimize harm? And who should be making all of these decisions anyhow? Programmers? Companies? Governments? Reality may not play out exactly like our thought experiments, but that’s not the point. They’re designed to isolate and stress test our intuitions on ethics, just like science experiments do for the physical world. Spotting these moral hairpin turns now will help us maneuver the unfamiliar road of technology ethics, and allow us to cruise confidently and conscientiously into our brave new future. 

Check out the lesson here for more ethical quandaries to ponder.

Lesson by Patrick Lin

Animation by the ever-incredible Yukai Du




This book exposes the possibilities, practice and longevity of an image.

Using a  printer  and  scanner  as a image reproduction means this duplication method acts as a tool and process system to develop facsimiles of one another – in this case creating new imagery from an existing image. Each spread becomes an image in it’s own right. Through distortion, scale, cropping etc – these techniques provide the image with a new context that is distanced from the original photo. This process of printing, copying and re–purposing, is a method that should be celebrated.

I have been listening to so much electro swing these past few days I’m getting sick. I also know way too much stuff about Nikola Tesla now.

anonymous asked:

Why does it seem like some games just can't get gun sound effects "right"? As in, they don't sound "powerful" or are so "light"/high pitched, they sound like airsoft guns? Are they unable to use actual recordings of gun sounds, so they have to attempt to recreate them from other sources?

Here’s the issue: Whenever you give the player a bunch of different guns, you need them to feel distinct. They have to exhibit different behaviors from each other or it won’t matter which gun you use. A large part of the gameplay is how the gun makes the player feel, and sound design is integral to that. Normally with weapons, we can differentiate them in the way they look. Animation, weapon model, etc. are all big on making them feel different. However, realistic guns are a little different. They are hard to see from a distance, and most gun-wielding animations are the same. Thus, in order to differentiate guns from each other, we tend to lean more heavily on sound design.

Most guns sound pretty similar to each other in reality. This is primarily because they all fire some standard ammunition.  the game just feels better when the more powerful bolt-action rifle has a deeper, more resonant sound than the rapid fire submachine guns or the assault rifle. Good sound design can help mentally solidify the gameplay differences of the different weapons, even if it isn’t particularly accurate. Your brain associates the game’s sounds with the behavior of the gun in the game, because most gamers lack real life experience with a CZ 75, Steyr Aug, or a FN P90. The amount of damage and kick you expect from a rifle is subconsciously affected by the sort of sound it makes when you fire it.

Because of how difficult it can be to parse the sounds, players also usually won’t be able to tell what sort of guns their opponents are using. One of the most important elements of game design is presenting different types of things to the player such that their brains can immediately differentiate them. This is done by using multiple bits of information to the player that are processed almost subconsciously - movement, silhouette, sound, color, vibration, etc. Even though the sound effects we use aren’t the most accurate, it’s not intended to be. We could get the real recordings if we wanted, but it’s far more important to make them all sound different for gameplay purposes.

Got a burning question you want answered?

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