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Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential

by Rafael A Calvo and Dorian Peters The MIT Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 298 pages
AU$65.00 NZ$68.70
Product Status: Out of Print - This title is no longer available
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On the eve of Google's IPO in 2004, Larry Page and Sergey Brin vowed not to be evil. Today, a growing number of technologists would go further, trying to ensure that their work actively improves people's lives. Technology, so pervasive and ubiquitous, has the capacity to increase stress and suffering; but it also has the less-heralded potential to improve the well-being of individuals, society, and the planet. In this book, Rafael Calvo and Dorian Peters investigate what they term 'positive computing' -- the design and development of technology to support psychological well-being and human potential.

Calvo and Peters explain that technologists' growing interest in social good is part of a larger public concern about how our digital experience affects our emotions and our quality of life -- which itself reflects an emerging focus on humanistic values in many different disciplines. Synthesizing theory, knowledge, and empirical methodologies from a variety of fields, they offer a rigorous and coherent foundational framework for positive computing. Sidebars by experts from psychology, neuroscience, human—computer interaction, and other disciplines supply essential context. Calvo and Peters examine specific well-being factors, including positive emotions, self-awareness, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion, and explore how technology can support these factors. Finally, they offer suggestions for future research and funding.

The book includes sidebars on special topics by:
- Jeremy Bailenson, Stanford University
- Timothy Bickmore, Northeastern University
- danah boyd, Harvard and Microsoft
- Jane Burns, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre
- David Caruso, Yale University and the EI Skills Group
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Claremont Graduate University
- Felicia Huppert, University of Cambridge
- Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California
- Adele Krusche and Mark Williams, University of Oxford
- Jane McGonigal, Institute for the Future
- Jonathan Nicholas, Inspire Foundation
- Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group
- Yvonne Rogers, University College London

Rafael A. Calvo is Associate Professor of Software Engineering and Director of the Positive Computing Lab at the University of Sydney.

Dorian Peters is user experience designer and online strategist for the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and Creative Leader of the Positive Computing Lab there.