Meditation for Mental Health

“According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can help reduce stress, chronic pain (such as headaches), and blood pressure, as well as help you quit smoking and better navigate a variety of mental health conditions” (CANNING, 2020).

The new direction of my thesis topic brought with it some things that I had to thought about. As I decide on meditation for helping people improve their mental health by preventing anxiety, stress, and depression. The first thing that I decided to do was user research for preventing that there is no interest in users from using something like this. As a second step, I look for what is available in the market, and what people liked about the existing app. As the last step for this semester, I thought about the app structure. With all these steps after a hard semester, I can say that I am on a good way to continuing with the main part of the project that is developing.

            After choosing the new topic for the project the first thing I decide to do was user research to find out if it was or not a good idea. For these, I decided to interview different people that are into the meditation practice, most of them gave me positive feedback on an app. The first thing that I was interested to ask about was if they think that is helpful to use an app for meditation, circa 85% of the interviewers told that yes and that some of them already use an app for it. The user explained to me that they do not want an app that teaches but more an app that has different content for different purposes. The main reason for this is that most of the user doesn’t have much time spend it on the learning process. User expectancies of the app are guided to information capsules for different purposes like sleep, focus, anxiety, stress, depression, mindfulness, and more all these capsules must be thought to improve mental health or to keep it at good levels. The research also shows that having time, difficulties level, and guides meditations can be useful for the app. Another result of the research was that most of the users find the app they use confused and not friendly for using, this means that here I can have an advantage in developing the app. This gave me the impulse to look for what is available on the actual market.

            As soon as you look for the meditations app in your smartphone store, this one will give you a recommendation about which one can be the best for you. These recommendations are based on the number of downloads and reviews, so most users expect that the app they choose is good. In the meditation and mental health market, there are a few apps that show app first when you look for meditation. It is hard to give each app a specific position so I will just mention the app and its main purpose. Calm app lets you choose between your meditation practice. After all, the app provides guided sessions ranging in time from 3 to 25 minutes. And with topics from calming anxiety to gratitude to mindfulness at work—as well as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises—you can choose your focus. Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is primo when it comes to choosing a meditation app.

“This app has many of the most experienced mindfulness teachers on it, and allows you the freedom to pick and choose depending on how long you have to practice, what style you’d like (e.g. body scan, loving-kindness, anxiety/stress-reducing, etc.), or just set a timer and sit without guidance,” Tandon says.  On the other side, the Headspace app offers the widest variety of meditations, with the best-guided sessions for beginners, as well as less-structured programming for pros. Its easy-to-use interface was also the most streamlined.

            Many different sites recommended different structures and base things that this kind of app should have. Now I am still investigating which structure combination can be the best for a rough prototype for trying out with users. In many sites they recommend different structures and organizations but, I look through it and I find things that can be improved to something better. Even due for the moment I can not says clearly what will be or how it will be organized.


A new approach for Mental Health

By the disappointing results from the user research in VR therapy, I got into a crisis point in my research. Where I should decide which direction will be the best for my topic and what I want to have as a result of it. During this rethinking process, I got different approaches to get into a good path for developing the project. The first decision I took was to stay or not into the topic of mental health. The second point I thought was to decide how I want to help, and which way is the best to do it. The last point is to decide on a new starting point to start developing the project. All these processes took weeks to pass through and the result is something that I am happy about.

            As I describe in the last topic of my thesis research I got not the best results during my first user research, this impulses me to think about reapproaching the topic. During the process, I realize that I do not want to get out of the field of mental health. But it was difficult to find something where I can help people without being involved directly in medicine. To be a part of medicine is tactics that prevent me to get into certified permissions, medical regulations, and for that moment the users that will manage the app. This decision put me in the position of prevention of mental illness in a state of treatment. At the same time, it opens the ways to alternative methods.

            As I just mentioned before alternatives methods to prevent anxiety, stress and depression are often used by people to keep their mental state positive. There are various methods in the world that people use some like sports, hobbies, religion, and more. Each method has a different perspective of helping through the process and each of them has different efficiency and effect on our mental health. After a small research, I decided to focus on meditation because it shows the best results on preventing and improving the mental health of people. As it says in the article Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Stress, Depression, and Burnout: A Randomized Controlled Study “Studies indicate that practice of TM reduces the psychological and physiologic response to stress factors, including decreased sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and reductions in elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels” (Perm, 2014).

            Meditation is a kind of practice that has hundreds of years of existence and has a different cultural background. Each kind of meditation has a different purpose on our minds and bodies, which is important to be considered. A meditation process is simple to be taught and to learn what is hard about it is to keep yourself constant on the practice. The meditation practice brings multiple benefits for your health but, it is important to organize the way to do it to get the right things you are looking for. In the next part, I will focus to explain how I will look to achieve this through the use of an app.

Summary of the first semester and ideas changed comes and goes.

At the beginning of the Des&Res class the last semester, I decided to start research in mental health. The main topic of the research was VR for Mental Health, that is a methodology that has gained prestige in the last years, due to the advance in technology. During my research on this topic, I was centre on investigated how it works and what is their main field of application, for this, I read through different articles of medicine relate to these topics. In a second step I follow to get related to the history of VR and how long has it been in the medical field and for whom it was used. Finally, I focus on the design of a VR interface and prototype, with also a user research focus where I found something that changed my topic orientation.

            For starting this research, I thought that VR therapy for mental health can be a key aspect during COVID-19. With this idea in my mind, I start research in VR for Psychotherapy focus on mental health, the focus was to get a better environment for treating special kinds of mental issues. During my research, I found out that VR in mental health can be useful for treating anxiety, stress, and depression. As Nigel Whittle said “VR offers the opportunity to develop more personalized therapeutics, especially in mental healthcare. It is already being used to treat PTSD, phobias, and psychiatric conditions such as conversion disorder and showing excellent results.” (WHITTLE, 2020). VR therapy had shown the last year more results during the pandemic, but even due some users do not trust this kind of technology. Also, VR therapy has been in the market for around 20 years.

            VR therapy started around 1950 for treating different kinds of phobias around people. This treatment used multiple sensors to help the user experience the same sensation that provokes the phobia. But, it was not till the beginning of the 2000s that VR therapy was considered to be useful, in the article The use of virtual reality technology in the treatment of anxiety and other psychiatric disorders the authors mentioned that “The first study to formally investigate the efficacy of VR-based exposure therapy (VRE) focused on the treatment of acrophobia and results suggested that VRE was effective” (Rothbaum, Bunnell, Sae-Jin, & Maples-Keller, 2017) this study was made in the early empowered the technology to continue into a development area in medicine. After this series of studies at this time, VR therapy was used in the military area to treat PTSD to help soldiers recover due to missions. In actuality, VR therapy is managed mainly by three big companies that are: Limbix, Psious, and OxfordVR. All these companies have a focus on VR therapy but, their UI/UX is in my opinion a little bit too old and hard to use. This brings us to the next step that is VR design and user research.

            In the last part of the last semester when I finally got the focus on which kind of path I was getting in, I decided to research design for VR and make user research too. Design for VR is something that I thought will be hard. Surprisingly it was not, VR interfaces and design are still based on the same idea of a normal application for a smartphone or the computer. Not to miss, VR design has one important thing to be careful about and it is sound. VR sickness is one of the major issues due to the therapy and it is provoking usually for a misinterpretation of the sound and the environment, to prevent that to happen, sound designers use 8D sounds. This kind of sound helps the user to identifies themselves in the environment preventing the sickness to happen.

            Into the user research, I have begun it was a disaster and it turns to be disappointing. I researched with 8 psychotherapeutics and most of them found this topic to be negative instead to be something useful. The main reason for them to think this was that they thought it will be more learning and work for them. Even, I told them about the studies and the results, the doctors did not change their minds. Also, they expect that these therapies will be really expensive. This put me into a crisis point for my research where I decided to changed my path to something else that is not out of mental health.

Meditation App in the Market

In this blog entry, I am going to analyse a few apps that I considered the best examples for my project, with the purpose to see why they are successful in their market. Looking through these apps will also help to be critical with a possible app design and to think what could be the best fit for my project.

1. Headspace

Headspace isone of the most well-known meditation apps out there.

“There are hundreds of guided meditations, mini-meditations, sleep sounds, SOS meditations for emergencies, meditations for kids and animations to help you better understand meditation,” says Lindsey Elmore, PharmD, a pharmacist turned wellness expert (she’s known as “The Farmicist”).

2. Calm

Calm app lets you choose between your meditation practice. After all, the app provides guided sessions ranging in time from 3 to 25 minutes. And with topics from calming anxiety to gratitude to mindfulness at work—as well as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises—you can really choose your focus. “There are new meditations every day, progress trackers, and seven-day and 21-day programs for beginners,” Elmore says.

3. Insight Timer

Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is primo when it comes to choosing a meditation app.

“This app has many of the most experienced mindfulness teachers on it, and allows you the freedom to pick and choose depending on how long you have to practice, what style you’d like (e.g. body scan, loving-kindness, anxiety/stress-reducing, etc.), or just set a timer and sit without guidance,” Tandon says.

the app is a go-to because, in addition to the variety of guided meditations, the app has a tracker that allows you to chart your progress and earn badges that keep you coming back for more.


Fans of Aura like it for its daily meditations, life coaching, nature sounds, stories, and music, which are all personalized based on the mood you select when you open the app. There’s also an option to track your moods and review patterns in how you feel, and set reminders to breathe and take breaks for mindfulness throughout the day.


Sattva is a mindfulness app that draws its mediations from ancient Vedic principles. In addition to 6-minute-plus guided meditations, the app features “sacred sounds, chants, mantras and music by Sanskrit scholars.”

Sattva is perfect for anyone looking to get more in touch with the history and origin of meditation in addition to starting their own practice.


Using meditation for reducing stress, anxiety and depression

Virtual Reality Should Be Considered As a Helpful Tool for Mental Health – Virtual  Reality and Mental Health

In the last months, I have research VR in medicine, in specific into the psychotherapy field. I wanted to design environments to treat stress, anxiety and depression using VR as a method. Despite the VR technologies demonstrate it is effective for these kinds of treatments is barely use. Making me think about what is wrong with it.

What I use to reduce stress levels

Trying to get away from the medicine to get a clear view of another way to help people using VR, I decided to ask my self “What I do to reduce my stress and anxiety?”.

7 Tips To Get Started With Meditation - Key Person of Influence

The answer is simple I use meditation. I have practised meditation for more than 5 years and it helps me to keep my stress levels down and it gives me time to cure myself in a different way.

The main problem of these is that people don’t know how to meditate. What I want now is to make a guide VR app for meditation for people that have the intention to learn and to calm down.

Benefits of meditation

There are a number of benefits that come from practising meditation. These can include:

  • Reducing stress. One of the most popular reasons that people meditate is to lower stress levels, and according to science, meditation does just that. According to a 2014 study,Trusted Source practicing meditation can lower levels of psychological stress and is helpful for overall well-being.
  • Improving sleep. If you have insomnia, one study shows that people who meditate are able to improve on their sleep schedules.
  • Helping with addictions. Since meditation typically requires a fair amount of self-awareness and discipline, researchTrusted Source shows that the practice can help acknowledge and avoid triggers.
  • Decreasing blood pressure. Meditation is very relaxing, and that relaxation may helpTrusted Source to lower blood pressure since your body is not responding to stress as often as it usually would.

Types of meditation

Meditation is an umbrella term for the many ways to a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving inner peace.

Ways to meditate can include:

  • Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing.You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.
  • Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
  • Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment.In mindfulness meditation, you broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions, but let them pass without judgment.
  • Qi gong. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Tai chi. This is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. In tai chi (TIE-CHEE), you perform a self-paced series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
  • Transcendental Meditation®. Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural technique. In Transcendental Meditation, you silently repeat a personally assigned mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase, in a specific way.This form of meditation may allow your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.
  • Yoga. You perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.


Mind food | Collection 01

This post will show best practices and interesting projects, products, and services that benefit mental health.

Emotional First Aid Kit

“What if we treated emotional health equally to psychical health? This kit is designed for very different emotional scenarios.” – Rui Sun

Sun, a graduate of the MA Industrial Design program at London’s Central Saint Martins, developed a toolkit to cope with stress and provide comfort.
The purple breathing mask emits calming scents when the user inhales, allowing them to think clearly in intense situations. The Indigo Third Eyeglasses have three lenses to remind the user to use their “third eye” and look at things from a different perspective, while the Blue Stress Buster is a portable speaker that visualizes sound with blue ink. Should the user get involved in an argument, the Green Meditating Stethoscope helps them tune into their breath and meditate, and a Yellow Confidence Booster is a super-light padded jacket that helps people who “lack the confidence to solve dilemmas or address a situation” [1].


Apple iPhone App of the Year 2020: Wakeout!

Moving is proven to reduce stress, makes you feel more energized, and enhances your mood. Lots of people have no time to work out and spend hours a day sitting on a desk. “Wakeouts” are movements that are fun, brief, and can be done just about anywhere, anytime. The app has over 1000 exercises and hundreds of routines designed in a variety of places over 2 years.
Quick Breaks are 1-minute, 4-movement routines that you start with a tap. Active Work Timer allows you to schedule recurrent active breaks to have a healthier workday. Wind Down routines helps you sleep better with relaxing routines before bedtime. Wakeout for Apple Watch lets you squeeze in 30-second Wakeouts right on your wrist. The new iOS 14 widget lets you start 1-minute quick breaks right from your Home Screen. Schedule up to 4 reminders to make sure you don’t stay sedentary for too long. You can also browse the massive library of location-specific movements and filter by mood (energizing, relaxing, intense, or fun), and by length (1 movement, 3 or 5) [2].

Naked Doorway by Marina Abramović


When I first visited an exhibition by Marina Abramović I was shocked – in a very positive way. Her works are dealing extensively with the human mind and intense emotions. Abramović’s performances deal with love, shame, inner demons, and the whole palette of emotions. 0ne of her most popular performances is the naked doorway where two naked persons, a male and a female stand in a doorway staring at each other while visitors should walk through them. I think it helps people to overcome their insecurity about their bodies and sexuality in general. Even though it’s such a brief moment, it definitely has an effect on many people who find it beautiful how this performance creates an intense experience with the outcome of learning to deal with the naturalness of our bodies. Its purity puts the human-being and their relationships in its simplicity into focus, which I find wonderful.


Therachat claims to improve your mental health by offering Journeys which are bundles of evidence-based therapeutic activities to help you achieve specific mental goals. You can learn simple breathing techniques to cope with stress. As a sort of modern diary you can track your emotions to realize how they affect you over time. By reframing your thoughts you could break through common negative thought patterns.

The activity library:

  • Assessments
  • Brainstorming
  • Coping Skills
  • Emotion Tracking
  • Journaling
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychoeducation
  • Skill Building
  • Thought Reframing
  • Trigger Tracking

Therachat can be used by yourself or with your therapist. Using it with a therapist will increase the effect it has on you, so that you get more out of every session. Your therapist will be able to assign you custom activities relevant to your treatment and you’ll be able to securely message your therapist in between sessions.






Virtual reality exposure therapy


Anxiety disorders expressed by avoidance are among the most prevalent mental disorders. Exposure therapy is one of the key components in cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for this problem. The concept of virtual reality could be a groundbreaking success in curing mental illnesses.
Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) allows patients who suffer from fear, anxiety, pain, phobias, brain injuries, addictions, and PTSD to enter a virtual world in which they are exposed to negative stimuli. The idea is to build resilience and emotional strength or distract the patient from their pain. The earlier a patient starts the easier it is to heal. Avoidance behavior can lead to an extreme so that it interferes with the quality of life.

The procedure

It is recommended to see a therapist first who helps you examine the origin and extent of your fears. Talk therapy should be the start of your treatment to prepare yourself for the upcoming experiences.
Embedded in a larger therapeutic treatment VRT is applied in different stages. Users wear a head-mounted display system (HMD) with binocular screens, stereo sound, and a movement-tracking method to follow the shifting VR environment and the user’s head movements. In many cases, the user can move with manual control when appropriate, feel vibrations through a platform, and be presented with olfactory stimuli through a scent machine that uses compressed air to diffuse scented substances.
The carefully designed virtual environment contains stimuli that have been associated with fear and in each state, those stimuli increase in appearance and intensity so that the patient’s body and mind can slowly adapt to the situations. In an exchange with your therapist, further modalities will be considered to cure you just right.

Treating various phobias with virtual reality exposure therapy [2]

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

The efficiency of VRE goes beyond simpler anxiety disorders, given that studies performed with panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorders have also shown VRE to be effective [5].
Combining VRET with cognitive behavioral therapy can make up for profound and sustainable healing. VRET could also help to examine the fears you have in the first place when you’re unable to understand the origin. If a child for example suffers from a fear of school the virtual world can help the child express what exactly frightens him or her. Additionally, the therapist could then try to propose different actions the children could take if they are in such a situation [3].

Curing PTSD with VRET has especially shown an effect for Vietnam war veterans. Soldiers experienced a reduction in their PTSD syptoms after being exposed to various situations that provoke fear such as jungles, helicopters or fighting sceneries.


  • patient and therapist can share the exposure experience
  • the option of applying exposure and control over the stimuli becomes available
  • VR allows the therapist to individualize the exposure for each patient
  • VRET facilitates the evoking of memories that may be difficult for the patient to relive by complementing those mental images with sensory cues
  • VRET is especially attractive for the current generation geared towards digital technology


  • development of computer programs and the necessary computer equipment are costly
  • the possibility of a system failure is always present and could interrupt a therapy session
  • the therapist has to be trained to use a VR system
  • VR concept itself may distract patients
  • the amount of sensory stimulation that can be used in VR is limited by current existing technology


Momentarily, VRET is not as prevalent due to its costs and simple newness. Very few therapists use VRET as of now, while the infrastructure is not expanded. Probably the availability of VR equipment will increase over time not only because of its benefits for psychic treatment but also for the general interest in other sectors, such as entertainment or education.
Clinical trials have repeatedly revealed that its effects persist after treatment and that it constitutes a valid alternative, or useful addition, to traditional exposure therapy. With the increasing prevalence of mental health assistance and the constant evolution of technology, the future possibilities for VR seem practically limitless.






Getting into your mind

To achieve the aim of benefitting mental well-being, behavioral science and its application to design are essential. Understanding how choices are made is crucial to change user behaviors. To do so, I will take a closer look into heuristics and the behavioral design toolbox.

Humans run, and ruin, the world, and behavioral science helps us understand and drive changes in human behavior.

Monica Parker
Founder, HATCH Analytics


To simplify our day-to-day decision making and to speed up thinking, we use cognitive “shortcuts”. There is a great variety of shortcuts, but here are some teasing examples:

Social proof:
Have you ever matched a response of another person to a social media post, even though you didn’t truly feel the same way? The reason for that is, that being social animals makes us constantly search for social proof and the reward of the tribe.

People create judgments only based on their available information. I.e. hearing of multiple plane crashes in the news might make you cancel upcoming flights. Because plane crashes are relatively rare it could be seen as an incorrect evaluation but generally, the availability heuristic also allows us to draw quick conclusions when needed.

If you read the word EAT, how would you likely complete the word fragment SO_P? Even if you don’t intend to, external stimuli such as words or body language prime your idea of something.

Behavioral Design Techniques

Optimal challenge
If you make a task too easy for someone they might not continue and if you make it too difficult you could induce fatigue or surrender. The right balance between difficulty and ease of use engages users and makes them achieve their goals.

To predict and change behavior machine learning utilizes your data and learns about you. Asking for preferences and making recommendations will make up for a personalized experience you are likely to revisit.

Stopping rules
I oftentimes don’t notice how much time has passed when scrolling through Instagram, which is due to the infinite scroll. It is by design that we don’t know when to stop consuming more content. If you want to reduce the habit of the user you can use the stopping rule vice versa.


UX designers have to ensure that products are being created with fairness and positivity in mind. Heuristic and behavioral design techniques should be applied for beneficial purposes to the users only. The last decades have shown us the tremendous power of applied behavioral science to do good. Applications save our time and some products even save lives. But recently shady manipulations have risen to change our behavior just to consume and gain profit for the industry. It is our responsibility as designers to work on our code of ethics to consider the consequential outcome of our designs.


Dance Music Culture Pt. 3 – Mental Wellbeing Issues

In 2018 one event shook the electronic music scene- Avicii had committed suicide, shortly after his close friends reported how happy and inspired he seemed. He retired from playing shows and instead of getting better, it looks like he got worse. The event was quite a shock, but it lead to numerous other electronic musicians to take a break from music and focus on their mental health. Last year Eric Morillo (49) and i_o (30, one of my personal favourites) both committed suicide, along with countless others- the list is too long. What is behind these events? The trend is worrying and uncovers a dangerous truth hidden behind the DJ desks…

Mental health has always been a big issue in the music scene, especially after the rise of popularity in drugs. This is especially prevalent in the electronic/dance scene. The deadliest part of the whole story is the lack of sleep. DJs can sometimes play daily shows up to months at a time, leading to dangerous lack of sleep. They take drugs and drink alcohol in order to keep u with the crowd and also stop themselves from crashing. This is a vicious cycle that leads to many dying and those who survive experience total mental depletion. Burnout, depression and anxiety creep up onto touring DJs, especially on comedown from drugs, and this gets worse and worse with prolonged chemical abuse. On top of that, people in the industry do not seem to have proper support from experts, or refuse to listen until it’s too late.

A big problem in the music industry is that it is heavily populated with 2 high-risk groups- young, inexperienced people and people with previous mental health issues. Living such a high-paced life filled with dangerous temptations will quickly exaggerate mental disorders and on the other side overwhelm the young and developing mind, breeding many insecurities and mental struggles.

Having a public life is a very hard thing to deal with. The most notable example of this is Britney Spears’ breakdown. Though she is a pop star and not an electronic musician, this is quite relevant to this article, as Britney is a musician under heavy public scrutiny. She is a prime example how badly negative press can impact someone’s mental health. On top of that, she is still being controlled by her family and management to an extent. DJs are also heavily directed by their management and this often leads to them feeling powerless, even miserable.

i_o once mentioned in his Tweets how during the times of the pandemic, we can truly see how many people care for us. Those who do will check in on us daily and offer help in any form they can. Unfortunately, one of his last posts on instagram, with a caption “do u ever question ur life” wasn’t taken as a warning sign that he needs checking up on.

This documentary gives an insight behind the scenes and showcases interviews with iconic DJs, like Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Eric Morillo, Seth Troxler, Luciano and other, giving us an insight in how they feel being part of the business:

This second documentary is about the world’s “craziest” DJ, Fat Tony, who claims he had spent over a million pounds on drugs, during his 28 years of using. He clearly shows us how much problems drugs cause to DJs and multiply their mental health struggles:

This article is a reminder to frequently check on your loved ones and make action, don’t just leave them with a few empty words.

Taking back control

The individualization shift of the last decades was caused by three major developments. The first is the increase of wealth by which nearly all demographic groups elevated to a higher living standard. Secondly, shortening working hours brought more spare time in which citizens could pursue their interests, hobbies, political engagement, or further education. Eventually, an educational achievement brought social climbing and cognitive competencies that encouraged us to think about ourselves and our lives more profoundly.

Nowadays everybody has to answer their questions in life on their own instead of just following the path of their milieu like it was in former days. Life, death, identity, gender, physicality, religion, marriage, parenthood, social binding – everything is decided in detail by our selves, which can be overwhelming. Since we do not identify with a set of traditions anymore, everything could’ve been arranged differently, everything is questionable, there is always an alternative. We lost the cultural binding that led our way through the jungle of options.

Now, how can design make a difference here? Well, what if there is something that could help us guide the way through all those options? Help either to see the effects of a decision beforehand or simply help feeling comfortable with already made decisions.

One of the beautiful things about machine learning is that massively large data sets can be processed. And instead of using online profiling data for marketing intentions, it could be used to empower the very person whose profile it is. By creating online profile transparency and offering insight through an interface one would be able to understand themself, to make better decisions, and to understand their effects. Like laying out branches of actions that converge to a butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect basically describes how a small event can have a huge impact later on. Using an interface that computes your personal life could either predict the future or will let you understand your past. I personally find that idea fascinating even though it’s unclear how well machine learning and AI can execute it at this stage. I do not propose a destiny forecast but rather a tool to understand themself and to gain an overview of personal behaviors instead of offering it to companies that then forecast your consuming future for you.


Ralf Dahrendorf: Der moderne soziale Konflikt. Essay zur Politik der Freiheit, Stuttgart 1994