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.: June 2009 --> Kevin Kelly: Why Defaults Matter

Kevin Kelly: Why Defaults Matter

» Kevin Kelly has written another brilliant exploration of the interplay between technology and culture, this one on the Triumph of the Default. How should defaults work, what do they really affect, and most importantly, what are their cultural consequences? If that sounds dull or over your head, blame my description. Like so much of Mr. Kelly's work, this is a smart, accessible, and important piece.

[T]he privilege of establishing what value the default is set at is an act of power and influence. Defaults are a tool not only for individuals to tame choices, but for systems designers -- those who set the presets -- to steer the system. The architecture of these choices can profoundly shape the culture of that system's use. Even the sequences of defaults and choices make a difference too. Retail merchandisers know this well. They stage stores and websites to channel decisions in a particular order to maximize sales. If you let hungry students make their desert choice first rather than last, this default order has an impact on their nutrition.

 [ 06.25.09 ]



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