18 Nov 2014

Ben McAllister – The allure of scientism – TEDxSMU 2014

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We live in a culture that worships data. In domains ranging from public policy to product design, data and research are seen as the path to a more certain, scientific future. For designers, this means an increasing pressure to justify every decision with research. But what if instead of opening our eyes, research is closing our minds?

In this talk, Ben McAllister takes a hard look at how data and research shape our view of the world. Drawing from design, economics, and the philosophy of science, he highlights the dangers of “scientism,” a rough approximation of science that offers easy answers, but lacks the rigor of actual science. He challenges us to resist these easy answers and instead pursue work with integrity and a sense of wonder.

Ben McAllister is a Senior Director of User Experience at Comcast. His work focuses on the intersection of design and strategy. At Comcast, Ben is working on applying design principles to improve Comcast’s customer experience. Prior to Comcast, Ben was a Creative Director at frog design, where he worked with many of the world’s leading brands to reshape their business through design. Ben’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Fast Company’s Co.Design, PSFK, and Interactions Magazine.

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