Design research has recently turned to theoretical perspectives, including care ethics and posthumanism, to counter the industrial processes that have led to climate crisis. As design theorists and ethnographers of interaction, we researched experimental eco-farming in a community that shared many of these theoretical and ideological commitments. Our goal was not to offer an account of use and provide design implications in support of it. Instead, we chose to identify concrete practices and artifacts that embody the sorts of industrial transformations that we are seeking—even if they are manifest in an imperfect or partial form. We encountered practices focused on community building, local resilience to climate disruptions, experiments in eco-farming, economic survival, and attracting the next generation. One interlocutor translated these concerns into a simple binary, asking, “do we want to live here?” This paper contributes to a design research agenda that might (eventually) provide an affirmative answer.
Guqin is a plucked seven-string traditional Chinese musical instrument that exists for over 3,000 years. However, as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage, the inheritance of Guqin and its culture in modern society is in deep danger. According to our study with 1,006 Chinese worldwide, Guqin as an instrument is not well-known and barely accessible. To better promote Guqin, we developed two interactive systems: VirGuqin and MRGuqin. VirGuqin was developed using a low-cost motion tracking device and was tested in a museum. 89\% of 308 participants expressed an increase in interest in learning Guqin after using our system. MRGuqin was developed as a mixed reality learning environment to reduce the entry barrier to Guqin, and was tested by 16 participants, allowing them to learn Guqin significantly faster and perform better than the current practice. Our study demonstrates how technology can be used to help the inheritance of this dying art.
HCI and STS researchers have previously described the ethical complexity of practice, drawing together aspects of organizational complexity, design knowledge, and ethical frameworks. Building on this work, we investigate the identity claims and beliefs that impact practitioners' ability to recognize and act upon ethical concerns in a range of technology-focused disciplines. In this paper, we report results from an interview study with 12 practitioners, identifying and describing their identity claims related to ethical awareness and action. We conducted a critically-focused thematic analysis to identify eight distinct claims representing roles relating to learning, educating, following policies, feeling a sense of responsibility, being a member of a profession, a translator, an activist, and deliberative. Based on our findings, we demonstrate how the claims foreground building competence in relation to ethical practice. We highlight the dynamic interplay among these claims and point towards implications for identity work in socio-technical contexts.
As Extended Reality (XR) devices and applications become more mainstream, so too will XR advertising\,---\,advertising that takes place in XR mediums. Due to the defining features of XR devices, such as the immersivity of the medium and the ability of XR devices to simulate reality, there are fears that these features could be exploited to create manipulative XR ads that trick consumers into buying products they do not need or might harm them. Using scenario construction, we investigate potential future incarnations of manipulative XR advertising and their harms. We identify five key mechanisms of manipulative XR advertising: misleading experience marketing; inducing artificial emotions in consumers; sensing and targeting people when they are vulnerable; emotional manipulation through hyperpersonalization; and distortion of reality. We discuss research challenges and questions in order to address and mitigate manipulative XR advertising risks.
As crucial public functions are transferred to computer systems, emerging technologies have public implications that are often shaped beyond public influence and oversight. "Smart city" and "modernization" projects are just some examples of such transformations. This paper focuses on struggles over the acquisition, control, and maintenance of these public, digital infrastructures. We focus on the forms of HCI knowledge and practice that proved useful to a coalition of community organizations claiming rights of input into and political oversight over surveillance technology. Their claims were a response to their exclusion from decision-making about smart city implementation in San Diego. We offer tactics "from below" as a way to attune HCI to the needs and practices of those excluded from power over widespread technology infrastructures. Ultimately, we argue that HCI cultivates a variety of capacities beyond design and redesign that can strengthen struggles to shape real-world technologies from below.
We present a vision for conversational user interfaces (CUIs) as probes for speculating with, rather than as objects to speculate about. Popular CUIs, e.g., Alexa, are changing the way we converse, narrate, and imagine the world(s) to come. Yet, current conversational interactions normatively may promote non-desirable ends, delivering a restricted range of request-response interactions with sexist and digital colonialist tendencies. Our critical design approach envisions alternatives by considering how future voices can reside in CUIs as enabling probes. We present novel explorations that illustrate the potential of CUIs as critical design material, by critiquing present norms and conversing with imaginary species. As micro-level interventions, we show that conversations with diverse futures through CUIs can persuade us to critically shape our discourse on macro-scale concerns of the present, e.g., sustainability. We reflect on how conversational interactions with pluralistic, imagined futures can contribute to how being human stands to change.
There is a developing recognition of the social and economic costs entailed in global supply chains. In this paper, we report on efforts to provide alternative, more sustainable and resilient models of production. Community Supported Agricultures (CSAs) address this problem but require new means of exchange which, we suggest, offer a design opportunity for sustainable HCI research. This paper presents a two months participatory observation in a food movement, a German CSA which developed a distribution system involving their own currency. Based on our ethnographic observations, we focus our discussion on (1) the solidaristic principles upon which the movement is based and (2) techniques of mediating between consumers' wishes and the constraints of local agricultural production. By relating to the continued development of CSAs, we identify three interrelated innovation gaps and discuss new software architectures aimed at resolving the problems which arise as the movement grows.
Sustainable HCI (SHCI) constitutes a relatively new research field within HCI. We have identified four literature reviews of the field conducted between 2009-2014. In this paper, we present and discuss the results of a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed conference and journal articles that have been published in the field during the last ten years (2010-2019). To this end, we apply the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to classify and discern high-level goals SHCI researchers have worked towards during this period. This paper contributes to HCI by 1) identifying Sustainable Development Goals that SHCI researchers have worked towards, 2) discerning main research trends in the field during the last decade, 3) using the SDG framework generatively to enumerate and reflect on areas that this far have not been covered by SHCI research and 4) presenting takeaways and opportunities for further research by the larger HCI community.
This paper investigates the practices of organising face-to-face events of a volunteer-run food-sharing community in Denmark. The ethnographic fieldwork draws attention to the core values underlying the ways sharing events are organised, and how - through the work of volunteers - surplus food is transformed from a commodity to a gift. The findings illustrate the community's activist agenda of food waste reduction, along with the volunteers' concerns and practical labour of running events and organising the flow of attendees through various queuing mechanisms. The paper contributes to the area of Food and HCI by: i) outlining the role of queuing in organising activism and ii) reflecting on the role that values, such as collective care and commons, can play in structuring queuing at face-to-face events.
Within Participatory- and Co-Design projects, the issue of sustainability and maintenance of the co-designed artefacts is a crucial yet largely unresolved issue. In this paper, we look back on four years of work on co-designing tools that assist refugees and migrants in their efforts to settle in Germany, the last of which the project has been independently maintained by our community collaborators. We reflect on the role of pre-existing care practices amongst our community collaborators, and a continued openness throughout the project, that allowed a complex constellation of actors to be involved in its ongoing maintenance and our own, often mundane activities which have contributed to the sustainability of the results. Situating our account within an HCI for Social Justice agenda, we thereby contribute to an ongoing discussion about the sustainability of such activities.
In recent years HCI and CSCW work has increasingly begun to address complex social problems and issues of social justice worldwide. Such activist-leaning work is not without problems. Through the experiences and reflections of an activist becoming academic and an academic becoming an activist, we outline these difficulties such as (1) the risk of perpetuating violence, oppression and exploitation when working with marginalised communities, (2) the reception of activist-academic work within our academic communities, and (3) problems of social justice that exist within our academic communities. Building on our own experiences, practices and existing literature from a variety of disciplines we advocate for the possibility of an activist-academic practice, outline possible ways forward and formulate questions we need to answer for HCI to contribute to a more just world.
Working with emergent users in two of Mumbai’s slums, we explored the value and uses of photovoltaic (PV) self-powering digital materials. Through a series of co-design workshops, a diary study and responses by artists and craftspeople, we developed the PV-Pix concept for inter-home connections. Each PV-Pix element consists of a deformable energy harvesting material that, when actuated by a person in one home, changes its physical state both there and in a connected home. To explore the concept we considered two forms of PV-Pix: one uses rigid materials and the other flexible ones. We deployed two low-fidelity prototypes, each constructed of a grid of one PV-Pix type, in four slum homes over a four week period to further understand the usability and uses of the materials, eliciting interesting inter-family communication practices. Encouraged by these results we report on a first-step towards working prototypes and demonstrate the technical viability of the approach.
The relationships that constitute the global industrial food system tend towards two dominant values that are creating unsustainable social and environmental inequalities. The first is a human-centered perspective on food that privileges humans over all other species. The second is a view of food as a commodity to be traded for maximum economic value, rewarding a small number of shareholders. We present work that explores the unique algorithmic affordances of blockchain to create new types of value exchange and governance in the food system. We describe a project that used roleplay with urban agricultural communities to co-design blockchain-based food futures and explore the conditions for creating a thriving multispecies food commons. We discuss how the project helped rethink algorithmic food justice by reconfiguring more-than-human values and reconfiguring food as more-than-human commons. We also discuss some of the challenges and tensions arising from these explorations.