Reading Commentary Week#4: Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops by Thomas Goetz

This article has been extremely interesting to read.  Mainly because I’ve never encountered the terminology of “Feedback Loops” before.  I had an idea of what it does and what it was for, but I was never told that’s what it’s called.

Goetz starts off by writing about the speed meter in Orange County.  Coming from L.A. I’ve passed through a lot of those, where most of them would blink out the words “slow down” when you go over the actual speed limit on a particular block.  I for one have slowed down considerably mainly because something made me aware conveniently.  I didn’t have to look at the speed limit posts and also my dashboard to figure out if my speed was correct or not.  I marveled at the convenience as well as the availability of the information.

I agree a lot with what Goetz talks about.  The more I read, the more I realized that feedback loops were interesting and necessary, especially when he explains “giving individuals a clear goal and means to evaluate their progress toward that goal greatly increased the likelihood that they would achieve it.”  As humans we’ve got a lot of distractions and chaos, that we loose balance, as a backlash from our actions.  But at the same time, we’re self-regulating beings.  And in order for us to regulate ourselves, we need to be made aware of it in a “none-threatening” manner so people won’t need to rebel or be passive. Therefore, the idea of feedback loops are helpful guidelines.

How it works really is simple.  It measures.

Behaviors are measured, captured, information is compiled, which then illuminates the human consciousness, person becomes aware or educated and the individual will take a course of action or makes some kind of choice.

I’m glad to have read this article.  Because as a designer, I am a believer in good design that helps and solves problems.  The examples he provided from speed regulators, medical and energy efficiency were inspiring.  And frankly, I hope to be one of these individuals that would come up with something that help solve a problem or at least control chaos.

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