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Designing for Happiness by Pamela Pavliscak

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1

Technology as a Happiness Project

It’s 2025. You are living in a house. Yes, that house. The pristine, white and glass, ultra-modern, sustainable, smart home of the future. Objects are minimally designed with a layer of intelligence embedded deep within, or maybe with a projected layer of augmented reality. As you wander from one behaviorally and emotionally optimized choice to the next, occasionally enlisting the help of a chatbot here or a robot companion there, you never wonder if you are happy. Your chip implant monitors your brain chemistry, in tandem with a mood bot to give you a happiness boost when needed. You know, quantifiably, that you are happy. 

In the future, we are all better people. We are happy. And all our technology is positive. Well, maybe it doesn’t look quite like this example above though. What does it mean to design for happiness?

We design technologies to make life easier, to make tiresome chores go faster, to add value to people’s lives. We strive for seamless interactions. We obsess over the details. We believe we are making the world a better place. 

Chances are if you are working in technology, you are something of an optimist. Now more than ever before, we want to do good in the world. More than just a motto, we truly want to do no evil.  

Rightly so. Think about how much of our lives are mediated or augmented by something digital. From the basics of getting from point A to point B or asking your partner to pick up some milk at the store to giving ...

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