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Discussion on: Papers We Love: Exploring Gamification Among Elderly Persons

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Ben Halpern

I feel like the ethics of privacy may fall out of the scope of the paper specifically around gamification. Only because this is an issue that is much broader than gamification and the paper was pretty short. It wouldn't have hurt to address it, but I feel like the ethical questions most relevant here may surround gamification itself.

Gamification is a form of manipulation and should always be examined pretty closely from an ethical perspective. I actually feel like if done the right way this is a very ethical use of gamification because it's being used as a medical treatment where the benefits will likely be tangible and positive. As opposed to, say, using gamification to create digital addiction for a product, likely impacting the mental and physical health of the use in a negative way.

It seems like older would fall into a class of people who could be highly vulnerable to gamification for the wrong purposes. Along with minors, this is certainly a class that deserves more scrutinized regulation.

Gamification and medicine seems like a pretty interesting topic in general. Like other medicines, the side effects of gamification seem like they might be more worthwhile from an ethical perspective.

I'm with you on the lack of ethical attention in a paper like this being a sore spot. I feel like the ethics of specifically privacy seem more inherent here.

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jess unrein Author

Totally take your point that privacy is out of scope. I'm just very skeptical when people bring up anything having to do with data gathering and medical treatment that doesn't at least nod to further thought needed in this area. I think tech has proven that we often don't think about it at all, so I appreciate acknowledgement that it's a concern.

Definitely makes me want to look into what sorts of gamification products are already available in the medical field.

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Ben Halpern

Yeah I agree. Privacy in medicine and vulnerable groups is hugely important and evergreen an evergreen topic.

Yes, the general lack of consideration for matters of privacy is abhorrent in our industry.

Those software-enabled spin-class-at-home bikes like Peloton come to mind in the health and wellness space, but there is definitely a distinction between fitness and medicine relevant to gamification.