Presentation on FreedomBox and Pokemon Go at ActivateTO
On 17 October 2016, I gave a presentation at ActivateTO, a Toronto-based non-profit that hosts a speaker series. It was located at Toronto City Hall which is a very nice venue, very organized with great audio/visual gear (projectors and mics). My presentation included FreedomBox.
The topic that night was Pokemon Go and its implications for society, including its impact on personal privacy, ethics and responsibility of the game developers to their audience, and how game players interact with one another.
My presentation covered community-building alternatives like Loomio and privacy protection like Signal and the FreedomBox, a suite of software for the Raspberry Pi (and other hardware). The idea is that Pokemon Go encourages people to form small communities but that they’re all within the service of one commercialized game development company that has profits as its overriding goal. I pointed out that Pokemon Go had, within a month, started to explore how to inject more advertisements into the game and I predict, at some point (maybe during the winter months) when player engagement drops and there are fewer people playing the game, that they will be look at selling data to marketers and advertisers.
The presentation was great to give and there were quite a lot of people in the audience and I hope I enlightened them as to the other possibilities that exist out there.
I also made a few choice remarks about the ethics and responsibility that software developers have to their users/audience and how in 2016 we can’t ignore basic privacy implications in the code that we create. We have to be far more responsible and communicate more with our users to ensure that we’re doing the right thing.