Miguel Sicart's research while affiliated with IT University of Copenhagen and other places

Publications (34)

Preprint
Full-text available
The ethics of Machine Learning has become an unavoidable topic in the AI Community. The deployment of machine learning systems in multiple social contexts has resulted in a closer ethical scrutiny of the design, development, and application of these systems. The AI/ML community has come to terms with the imperative to think about the ethical implic...
Article
This article proposes the concept of “plaything” as an instrument to inquire on the ontology and epistemology of the things we play with. Extending Barad’s (2007) onto-epistemology and Ingold’s (2012) concepts of “things” and “objects,” this article intends to provide a theoretical contribution to the materialist turn in game studies (Apperley, T....
Chapter
This chapter introduces a novel perspective on the ethical agency of players, by extending Huizinga’s concept of Homo Ludens with Floridi’s concept of homo poieticus. This shift of perspective allows first for the ethical inquiry on the moral nature of the player; and second, to the inquiry on the ethics of games in the context of the economies of...
Chapter
This chapter proposes an understanding of the concept of homo ludens from a Philosophy of Information perspective. This chapter argues that players are moral agents who create worlds by playing. The creation of these worlds through play is analogous to what Huizinga described as a ludic drive. Therefore, this chapter proposes a perspective for stud...
Article
This article explores how the concept of play as a vision of software that establishes new relations with digital technologies. This article argues that play has a fundamental role in shaping human engagement with software, and the cultural phenomena that derive from that engagement.
Article
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This article is an inquiry on the role of play in shaping the cultures of the Information Age. By applying concepts from Postphenomenology and the Philosophy of Information, this paper argues that play and computation share a capacity to shape human experience. I will apply the concept of re-ontologization to describe the effect that computation ha...
Chapter
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Why do we play games and why do we play them on computers? The contributors of »Games and Rules« take a closer look at the core of each game and the motivational system that is the game mechanics. Games are control circuits that organize the game world with their (joint) players and establish motivations in a dedicated space, a »Magic Circle«, wher...
Conference Paper
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Fitness trackers promise a longer and better life for the people who engage with them. What is forgotten in their analysis for HCI, though, is how they re-conceptualise the very notion of what constitutes a 'step'. We discuss everyday edge cases illustrating how fitness trackers fail to address goals and ideals of people using them. They merely re-...
Conference Paper
This paper is concerned with designing for immediate play, the experience that a player has when joining a game designed for being played without particular preparation. Museum games, urban games, casual sports, and ad-hoc multiplayer video games are kinds of games that facilitate immediate play situations. After a detailed explanation of immediate...
Article
This piece provides an explanation to the early success of Pokémon GO. It proposes an argument about how this game exemplifies a computational culture of play. By drawing on philosophy of technology (Floridi, 2013) and game design research (Montola, Stenros, & Waern, 2009), this article argues that the success of Pokémon GO is the result of the dev...
Article
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The video game history can be traced to history that goes hand in hand with the history of modern computing...
Article
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A história dos videojogos, pela sua génese e dependência tecnológicas, tem sido habitualmente traçada por comparação com a história da informática...
Book
Full-text available
The video game history can be traced to history that goes hand in hand with the history of modern computing. This story, if not taken only by the bias of the “evolution” of digital technologies, can also (and should) be read from key moments that represent movements and tensions of cultural, economic and social, directly related to each of their ti...
Chapter
What are the values of an object? How can philosophy illuminate the inherent rhetorical, social, political and moral meanings inscribed in any designed technology? And how can we do this without falling in the intentional fallacy, ascribing all responsibility to the designer? Because, as design researcher Nigel Cross has stated, “design is rhetoric...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
"Gamification" is an informal umbrella term for the use of video game elements in non-gaming systems to improve user experience (UX) and user engagement. The recent introduction of 'gamified' applications to large audiences promises new additions to the existing rich and diverse research on the heuristics, design patterns and dynamics of games and...
Article
In this paper, we introduce the concept of abusive game design as an attitude towards creating games – an aesthetic practice that operates as a critique of certain conventionalisms in popular game design wisdom. We emphasize that abusive game design is, at its core, about spotlighting the dialogic relation between player and designer.
Conference Paper
This paper introduces a definition of ethical gameplay as a relevant concept for understanding the moral possibilities of computer game design. Ethical gameplay is the experiential outcome of a player taking choices based on the moral evaluation of a given dilemma. This paper proposes that these type of experience should be designed as wicked probl...
Chapter
In this chapter the authors define ethical gameplay as a consequence of game design choices. The authors propose an analytical model that defines ethical gameplay as an experience that stems from a particular set of game design decisions. These decisions have in common a design method, called ethical cognitive dissonance, based on the conscious cre...
Article
This paper offers an analytical description of the ethics of game design and its influence in the ethical challenges computer games present. The paper proposes a set of game design suggestions based on the Information Ethics concept of Levels of Abstraction which can be applied to formalise ethical challenges into gameplay mechanics; thus allowing...
Article
In this paper I will present an informational model that describes the structure of games, which will be applied to answering the question of the nature and possibilities of the design of ethical gameplay, both for computer games and for non-digital games.
Article
If there is one uncontested assumption transversal to the game studies and game design literature, it is that games should be designed for the player. Common game design wisdom dictates that players must be challenged, but never beyond the so-called "balance" of the game (1; 9), the careful equilibrium between frustration and pleasure (8). Furtherm...
Conference Paper
In this paper I present an analysis of the ontology and ethics of computer games from an Information Ethics perspective. This analysis uses the concepts of Level of Abstraction and Gradient of Abstraction, as defined by Luciano Floridi’s Information Ethics, applied to the specific study of computer games. The goal of this paper is to argue for the...
Conference Paper
Computer games have a long history as entertainment media, but their use for educational or political communication is relatively recent. This paper explores the use of computer games as news media. Newsgames are computer games used to participate in the public sphere with the intention of explaining or commenting on current news. The paper provide...
Article
As the contemporary heirs of popular music or cinema, computer games are gradually taking over the mar- kets of entertainment. Much like cinema and music, computer games are taking the spotlight in another front - that which blames them for encouraging unethical behaviors. Apparently, computer games turn their users into blood thirsty zombies with...
Conference Paper
Despite the emergence of computer games as a dominant cultural industry (and the accompanying emergence of computer games as the subject of scholarly research), we know little or nothing about the ethics of computer games. Considerations of the morality of computer games seldom go beyond intermittent portrayals of them in the mass media as training...
Conference Paper
This article tries to give some light to the ethical issues concerning the relationship of research and industry in the field of computer game research. No conclusive answers are reached. The ethical issues addressed here concerned basically the independence of academic institutions as a key feature for the quality of research. While the most commo...
Article
SUMMARY This workshop will highlight the experiences of res earchers and practitioners who are investigating and designi ng games in the growing field of ethics and games. In the first half of the workshop, we will lead a discussion of best practices for designing and studying games that ena ble the practice of ethical thinking and reasoning skills...

Citations

... Onto-epistemology means "the study of practices of knowing in being" (Barad, 2007, p. 185), and this conceptual duality is brought by Barad in a space of interdependence, by the fact that different material units no longer represent simple forms of being, but become complex structures of knowing, meant to acquire concrete epistemological roles in explaining human-technology relations. Therefore, the concept of playthings recently presented by Sicart (2021) helps to better explain the role of particular playful technologies in offering a cultural and/or social meaning to a material entity. For example, as the author says "Twitter bots… can be described as playthings that result from a playful entanglement with Twitter. ...
Citing article
... Games, as is the case with other media, is a genre of entertainment that have long been concerned with ethics due to the potential for the medium to influence consumers [34,34,63,73]. There have been many discussions regarding ethics in game development, ranging from game content and exposing players to violence [43,66,76] to the role that games can play as vehicles to inspire reflection and thought [41,55,62,64]. ...
... The embedded story was important in all our activities, since our artefact alone was not solving any problems, did not resemble any ordinary technologies; thus, we needed the context to explain what it was we had created to make it relevant to that context. The idea of making technology that does not solve a problem but instead explores a situation has received increasing attention in the form of design fiction research (Blythe et al. 2016;Nielsen and Møller 2020;Sicart and Shklovski 2020) and different contemporary approaches to critical design (Disalvo 2012;Bardzell et al. 2014;Menéndez et al. 2017;Rosner et al. 2018a, b;Bjørn and Rosner 2021). We are inspired by these approaches in our work to include a story within the design. ...
... und auch für spielerische Praktiken im Allgemeinen, die sich immer zwischen aktiver Gestaltung des Geschehens und passiver Hingabe an die Spieldynamik bewegen. 6 Spielerisches Musikmachen als eine der bestimmenden Umgangsweisen mit Musikapps kann als Ausdruck einer allgemeineren Tendenz zu einer spielerischen Haltung in der digitalen Kultur (Sicart, 2020(Sicart, , S. 2081) verstanden werden. Gerade Tablets und Smartphones gelten als "hyperludische" Geräte (Merrin, 2014, S. 14). ...
... Seen from this perspective, games are often understood as a manifestation of play (Sicart, 2014: 4-5), and to engage in play is to acknowledge agency through "a pleasure-centric autotelic experience that is defined by appropriation and personal expression" (Sicart, 2019: 527). Thus, due to play's worldbuilding ethos (Sicart, 2019), to engage in play can also be understood as a form of resistance towards the status quo, to rebel against norms and binaries. ...
... Novel devices, such as the Oura Ring 1 and the Withings sleep tracking mat 2 , offer users the opportunity to obtain detailed insights into their sleep patterns and subsequently to increase their overall well-being. Earlier research has, however, also raised concerns regarding the use of self-tracking technology, including difficulties in maintaining interests [51], the normative nature of these devices and related applications [45], and challenges in converting initial insights into long-lasting habits [47]. Identifying the needs and habits of end-users is critical to inform the design of self-tracking applications and technologies. ...
... Furthermore, in this study of creating play spaces in spaces initially allocated for other purposes, the concept of emergent play is relevant. Emergent play refers to the kind of immediate play (Pichlmair et al., 2017) that emerges and develops from a situation-often in combination with the allocation or change in use of resources into the play activity that is initially intended for utility use-to use Suits (1978) understanding. Emergent play in HCI also refers to the appropriation or change of the technology to suit the play activity, as Desai et al. (2019) point out. ...
... A key facet of most studies that examine the game as a digital artifact, has been the interrogation of the augmented space rendered. While some have questioned the understanding of reality in such interactions (Sicart, 2017), others have expounded on the possible socio-cultural practices emerging from the game's popularity and adoption (Humphreys, 2017). The augmented space is understood by Manovich (2006) as a physical space that is overlaid with dynamically changing information. ...
... Players routinely perform in-game tasks (walking, collecting items, engaging in combat) that are necessary for gameplay objectives but do not engage with players' value systems or provide instances for moral contemplation. Sicart (2012) has defined an "ethical gameplay experience" as one that refers to instances of video game play "in which an agent will take a decision crucial to her progression in the game based on heuristics derived from a moral evaluation of said instance of play" (p. 104). ...
... Although originating in urban planning, the application of the wicked problem concept now appears in a wide array of disciplines, from forestry (Allen and Gould 1986) and natural resource management (Head et al. 2016), applied economics (Batie 2008), healthcare (Periyakoil 2007), national security (Hauss 2015), supply chain management (Russell et al. 2018), fashion (Kennedy et al. 2017), and computer games (Sicart 2013). The wicked problem concept is utilized in the context of urban aquatic ecosystems, from non-point source pollution (Patterson et al. 2013), reservoir eutrophication (Thornton et al. 2013;Le Moal et al. 2019), groundwater pumping (Foglia et al. 2013), climate change adaptation (Kirby 2018), invasive species (Woodford et al. 2013), water policy (Freeman 2007), and often in water supply management (Feldman and Ingram 2009;Frame and Russell 2009;Waring 2012;Bowmer 2014). ...