Last Sunday, a very interesting Dutch documentary “Game of Phones” was aired on the public broadcasting channel. This documentary dealt with how the smartphone appears to turn life into one big game. Where do we see this gamification and what are the consequences? This topic was illustrated from different angles, for example, you see teenagers explaining the social rules in tagging friends on social media, or an Uber driver giving tips on how to get the best scores.
With the introduction of the smartphone 10 years ago, everyone now has a camera in their pocket all day every day. Eef Hilgers, the maker of the documentary, was interested in “FindFace”. This is an app available in Russia, which allows you to upload someone’s picture and find their face on social media channels using face recognition. To better understand what we can read from the face and whether this was technically possible, she went on a skype call with VicarVision. In which we illustrated that from a short video you can extract for example, emotion, ethnicity, age, and heart rate. This indicates how easy it is to get information from people and it poses the question what information people would like to share.
In China the gamification has taken another level; they have introduced a social credit system, where you can get points for leading a “good” life. European legislation like GDPR tries to protect people’s personal data from large companies. These privacy laws would make an app like FindFace impossible to be released in Europe. Besides legislation, public awareness is also necessary. It is important to be aware of the personal information that is out there and that we share. This documentary explores a very important topic and helps bring awareness of the possibilities in the digital age that we life in. See also a very interesting project we participated in, “we are data”, that tries to make you feel what it means when you become data.