Is productivity-improving technology making us less productive? Digital Artefact Pitch

Contextual essay

My proposed Digital Artefact will engage audiences as Tiktok users have a rising interest in educational videos, called “micro-learning” as the editing tools and creative freedom Tiktok provides its creators makes educational content “engaging and fun.” (Iqbal 2020) Similar content is found on YouTube, but the longer format will allow for me to dive deeper into the Paradox of Choice and tie this research together with relevant elements to my own life, as well as audiences.

I am anticipating that the advancement of communication technology as discussed in lectures will increase the issues raised by the paradox of choice, and my predictions will highlight the “technology-aided desire and technology-riven anxiety” Csicsery-Ronay identifies as a common element of science fiction film (2008).

Production timeline


Csicsery-Ronay, Jr, I 2008 The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, Wesleyan University Press

Donoughue, P 2019, ‘Netflix, “show-verload”, and the paradox of choice in the streaming age’, ABC News, 3 September, viewed 17 March 2021,,-how-do-you-choose/11473294

‌Iqbal, O 2020, TikTok makes moves into education market, BBC News, BBC News, viewed 17 March 2021,  

Schwartz, B 2004, The Paradox of Choice- Why More is Less, Harper Perennial

‌Wroblewski, L 2006 ‘The Sweet Spot on the Curve’ in LukeW Ideation + Design


6 thoughts on “Is productivity-improving technology making us less productive? Digital Artefact Pitch

  1. Emma, this sounds like a very well thought out and interesting project idea! I have indeed heard of the paradox of choice before and I think it is such a fascinating idea that is only becoming more and more relevant in our society as time goes on, so of course, I think this is a brilliant idea to centre your future cultures project around. I noticed you said that you plan on reading The Paradox of Choice- Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz as a part of your research and I wanted to suggest that you also watch his Ted talk on the topic. It is a great summary of his points and might help you with ideas on how to present your research findings in your final video essay format (
    One thing in your pitch which does come across as a bit vague, however, is what exact area you’re looking at applying this theory to? Are you looking at our abundance of choice in terms of social media platforms and their content, streaming services and their content, both or one particular platform? I felt that you touched on this at the start of your video and the end when you talked about Netflix but it was a little unclear if this was going to be where you applied the paradox of choice or if you were going to apply the theory to a range of examples.
    However you are looking to apply this theory, I would recommend watching the Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ” (E4S4), which shows a future in which an algorithm determines your life-long partner, so instead of an abundance of choice in dating, we have no choice and are matched by an algorithm. If you did decide to use this you can easily tie this in with some of Wendell Bell’s nine purposes of future studies (;jsessionid=065DFDA574366FF280C3054A66268305?doi=, discussed in week 3. You have already touched on ‘Probable futures’, though this episode could help you discuss it further. You questioned in your pitch what the future would be like if we keep going how we are right now? This is exactly what probable futures asks us to consider, and you can see this particular episode of Black Mirror seems to make a similar prediction to your initial thoughts portrayed in this video so it may be useful as an example of others predictions to a similar problem.
    Very excited to see what you come up with throughout this project!


  2. Hi Emma, first of all I really enjoyed your pitch video. You made the video extremely clear, and it was visually easy to understand. I enjoyed the introduction and to start with the rhetorical question makes it already very intriguing. The question asked “is technology giving us more time to do the things we want, or making us less productive” is a question which personally has gone under the radar and must be emphasised. I believe when we associate with technology, we only look at the positives it has brought for society. However, when you delve deeper you may find that it is making people more productive, therefore I’m excited to see where your project takes you.

    Just like any social media app, Tik-Tok has its negatives. Even though social media allows for endless possibilities and the allowance for better communication, it can also heavily affect your mental health and therefore productivity. I found a website which emphasises such negatives which comes along with Tik-Tok and especially for teenagers.

    While watching your pitch I noticed that you are doing an auto-ethnographic study for your research which is a great idea. To further understand auto-ethnographic research I will link an overview of auto-ethnographic research including the different approaches and the potential issues which you may come across.

    I may also add that Barry Schwartz does a Ted talk on the topic of his book that you are analysing. This might be an interesting listen whether its before or after you have read the book.


  3. Hi Emma, well done on your pitch!

    I love how you are looking into the future of decision making in your da and centring it around the use of Tic Tok which I have been slightly addicted to since it came out last year. I also love how you started your video with a rhetorical question to hook the viewers’ attention. The question asked “is technology giving us more time to do the things we want or making us less productive” is a question that personally has gone under my radar. I believe when we think about what technology has brought for us, we focus on the convenience it has brought to us instead of the negatives especially around social media and the negative mental health toll it has on this generation.

    I may also add this link to a blog article analysing the book that you have chosen to analyse I hope this helps!

    Associated with our lectures and readings, I feel as though are can easily allow this topic of your digital artefact to focus on different aspects of the future. I feel as though you could dive into the technology of the past and the future of making decisions and relate back to the novel from week 3 Paalumäki Heli 2001. ‘”Imagine a Good Day”–Bertrand de Jouvenel’s Idea of Possible Futures in the Context of Fictitious and Historical Narratives’. Vol. 1: The Papers of the Nordic Conference on the History of Ideas.

    Your digital artefact sounds so interesting, and I can’t wait to see more! Well done!


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