Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Initial Workshop Reflection

Our #acmDIS2017 workshop concluded with the presentation of seven short, fictional stories engaging with the issue of how people live with the built environment that interfaces with personal data. How did we get there?

First and foremost by being fortunate enough to have a great set of participants, 17 of them in fact. Thank you all! Participants arrived from across Europe and the US and there was great a cross-section of interests. Following the brief overview presentation by us organisers, these interests were evident in the short 3-minute presentations we exchanged with each other. They ranged from study methodologies to new uses and abuses of personal data, from public visualisations of personal behaviours to addressing building processes and from the use of sensor networks to understand building interaction to a whole host of other concerns. There is still much more to discuss.

Following this, we asked participants to work with mundane sensing and actuation technologies as well as widely available IoT devices. Things like ID card readers, key pads, sliding doors, speech interfaces and EEG head trackers. A wide variety of technologies that can be used to interface people and adaptive buildings today. Teams then used these technologies to design with, to create new interactive building systems, responding to a loose brief provided by us: Consider a specific building type. Consider the types of experiences that people have in this type of building. Design a system that  responds to this context. An initial presentation of those systems followed at around lunch time.

We then challenged the teams to consider specific user groups that would use the new building system and associated services, to think beyond the 'interactive moment' and more long-term, and we challenged teams to address specific privacy and data retention concerns. Teams used these to further discuss and refine their designs.

At this point, we asked teams to split up to concentrate on developing design fiction in pairs, writing a utopian and a dystopian story about each of the proposed building designs. In a nutshell, this is how we got to design fiction. Watch out for future posts that show some of these.

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