“Citizen science games” such as Galaxy Zoo, Foldit, and Eye Wire use gamified interfaces to motivate millions of people to apply their time and cognitive skills to solving problems such as protein folding and image recognition, but can these contributions of cognitive skills from game-players be seen as exploitation?

Self-tracking applications with a gamified interface can be seen as acting as a crowdsourced way of generating large-scale health data-sets. But what are the ethical implications of gathering data in this way? Players using a gamified interface often reveal much more about themselves and their situation than they would in any other circumstances. Are players aware that their information is being collated? To what extent can they be made aware of, and so give informed consent, to tracking, experimental manipulation of their data and sales of their data to third parties? To date no best practices have been established.

A workshop being run as part of the CHI 2015 Festival by the Gamification Research Network is investigating these issues. The workshop will kick-start discussions by using a card game devised by David Barnard-Wills, an expert in the politics of surveillance. In Privacy Card Game players build a database of public information about themselves and, at the same time, decide to keep other information about themselves private. The game highlights complex tensions between public and private and will serve as a starting point to initiate discussion about the ethical issues involved in using gamification as a research tool.

For more information about the Gamification Research Network Workshop, visit their website.

CHI 2015 was held on April 18-23, in Seoul Korea and brought together some of the world’s best in multimedia design, cognitive science and artificial intelligence to explore the human factor in computer systems. For more information see: http://chi2015.acm.org


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