The ethics behind defaults

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Photo by Austin Chan on UnsplashIn the software world, defaults can be defined as the shortest path to the destination, set to relieve users of the extra mental processing, that comes pre-decided for the users, allegedly, in their best interest, by the creators of the application or platform. They often come disguised as pre-populated inputs and pre-checked boxes. But is that all that there is to defaults?

When paired with relevant behavioural insights, the same set of defaults that masquerade as plain pre-filled inputs on a web interface, could be used as a tool for controlling human actions. Sometimes for good, not