Date Created: April 2021 (Senior Thesis Exploration)
Datapoly is a redesigned version of the popular board game Monopoly. The main difference between Datapoly and Monopoly is that properties have been replaced by Companies and Cash has been replaced by Data. The game aims to make audiences of all age groups understand and experience the incessant data transactions occurring over the internet.
We live in a highly connected society. The widespread internet access and enmeshed networks have allowed humans to connect with one another and also communicate with things. This sort of interaction between humans and technology is called Internet of Things. It require’s people’s smart devices to access their personal and public data through sensors, in real time. For example, one’s smart fridge may detect that they are running out of groceries and automatically contact the grocery store to have the food delivered to their house.
Human data is constantly being collected by companies within every industry, resulting in a decline in human connection. What is the future of human relationships if such technologies become mainstream? How can one’s data be used for or against them? How does one measure the value of Data? These questions don’t have straightforward answers and thus Datapoly aims to create a playful experience that triggers one’s thought process in this direction.
1. Individual organisms are being viewed as data processing systems
2. Dataists say that the output of these data processing systems will be the creation of a new and even more efficient data processing system called the Internet-of-all-things.
3. Machines and artificial intelligence are the architects of this system and thus the system has no surveillance or laws. Once the mission is complete, homo sapiens will vanish.
1. Create something that educated the audience about Humans turning into data processing systems
2. Make it interactive and communal
3. Allow it to be humorous
4. Design it to have long-lasting impact
These rules that I set my for myself led up to the recreation of the boardgame Monopoly. Below one can find images of the final deliverables for Datapoly.
Low Fidelity Prototype / Early Experiments
This prototype didn't explore the breadth of the topic, as its main focus the technology industry. I then decided to have the board include companies (instead of properties) from several different industries.
The game comes with a Play board, Chance and Community Chest cards, Player tokens, Two Dice, Companies as property, Data as currency, and a User Manual. Like most Monopoly games, Datapoly players may end up in a quarrel, however this time it is a fight to secure one’s data!
Apart from playing instructions, the user manual provides a deeper insight on how emerging technologies in different industries use our personal data.
I used GB (Giga Bytes) as the unit of data. While there is no standard way to measure it, a large percent of the target audience is familiar with data in terms of its storage values. The data has been designed in the form of a puzzle in order to depict its complexity in terms of visualizing it. Moreover, human data can be collated and analyzed when it's in tandem with other pieces of data. The multi-colored puzzle on the right is a total of 1500 GB of data and is what each player receives before starting the game.
Title Deed Cards (Companies)
The Title Deed Cards are similar to Property Deed cards in the original Monopoly. They serve as an acknowledgement to the transaction when a player purchases a company. The card has information on how much data they can collect from other players if any of them were to land on their company.
Chance and Community Chest
The Chance and Community Chest spaces on the board contain barcodes. The players must use their smart phone to scan the barcode and access the cards on a browser. Once the card is loaded, the player must do as it says. Cards are randomly generated as the page refreshes.
The game is merely a prototype and not for sale. It is work in progress and I would like to explore ways in which I can enhance the use of digital components within the game.