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Friday, May 15 • 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Sartre and the lab monkey: What philosophy and neuroscience can teach us about UX

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The boundary between “me” and “the world” isn’t. We effortlessly incorporate tools into our own body image: when I use a hammer, I don’t think about how to move my hand in relationship to the hammer, but how to move the hammer in relationship to the nail.

In this talk I will show that the boundary between a user and a product is fluid as tools - such as a mouse pointer or even a button - become extensions of a users body. I'll let Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger explain what exactly happens when tools become part of the body - or cease to be part of us. I'll also present mind-blowing new neurological insights by Atsushi Ikiri and others that show that this is a real process we can observe in the brain.

Taking those findings from philosophy and neuroscience, I will show how this boundary between self and world can be manipulated by clever design (or more frequently, violated by careless design) - and moreover, that establishing this boundary deliberately reduces cognitive load, reinforces users’ expectations and makes products easier to use.

The talk assumes no prior knowledge in philosophy or neuroscience.

Speakers
avatar for Manuel Ebert

Manuel Ebert

Founding Partner, summer.ai
Manuel is a former neuroscientist who worked on sensory augmentation and mathematical models of perception, before changing fields and becoming a UX designer for startups in the Bay Area.Using his multidisciplinary background, he does research at and writes about the intersection of design, psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.He is a founding partner at the Machine Intelligence consulting firm summer.ai, where he helps companies to build... Read More →


Friday May 15, 2015 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Independence