“Remaking Digital Futures” — BDFI Panel

Pan­elist on “Remak­ing Dig­i­tal Futures”, Bris­tol Dig­i­tal Futures Insti­tute’s inau­gur­al symposium.

IX Magazine: (un)making democracy

Video: Ecological Reparation & Blockchain Food Imaginaries

Under what techno­sci­en­tif­ic con­di­tions might the scarci­ty of food be under­stood as con­tin­gent on het­ero­ge­neous actors? And how might the pos­si­bil­i­ties of food abun­dance be approached as a repar­a­tive project of valu­ing their man­i­fold rela­tions? Blockchain promis­es to be an infra­struc­ture that presents both pro­duc­tive imag­i­nar­ies and also chal­lenges to such restora­tive and sus­tain­able work (Sei­dler et al 2017; Rozas et al, 2018).

In a series of work­shops, we crit­i­cal­ly exper­i­ment­ed with these pos­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges. Work­ing with diverse par­tic­i­pants includ­ing com­mu­ni­ty grow­ers, organ­is­ers, artists, and tech­nol­o­gists  we used a vari­ety of play­ful meth­ods to act out fic­tion­al sce­nar­ios set in 2025, when all of Lon­don had been trans­formed into a city farm. For organ­i­sa­tions and par­tic­i­pants, repa­ra­tion meant work­ing in the after­math of social and envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse to bring into being more-than-human-val­ue sys­tems that rad­i­cal­ly decen­tred human knowl­edge and experience.

IX Magazine: Engaging Race

Workshop CSCW 2021: Global Labours of AI and Data Intensive Systems

Panel talk: Prototyping AI ethics futures—Rights, access and refusal

Pan­el talk at 1:00pm–2:30pm, 23 June 2021 (BST), in asso­ci­a­tion with Ada Lovelace Insti­tute, The British Acad­e­my and The Arts and Human­i­ties Research coun­cil.

CSCW 2021 conference paper

A CSCW con­fer­ence paper from this year.

Beat­rice Vin­cen­zi, Alex S Tay­lor, Simone Stumpf (2021) Inter­de­pen­dence in Action: Peo­ple with Visu­al Impair­ments and Their Guides Co-Con­sti­tut­ing Com­mon Spaces, Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Inter­act. 5(CSCW1), New York, NY, USA: Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­put­ing Machin­ery, pdf, doi:10.1145/3449143

Pri­or work on AI-enabled assis­tive tech­nol­o­gy (AT) for peo­ple with visu­al impair­ments (VI) has treat­ed nav­i­ga­tion large­ly as an inde­pen­dent activ­i­ty. Con­se­quent­ly, much effort has focused on pro­vid­ing indi­vid­ual users with wayfind­ing details about the envi­ron­ment, includ­ing infor­ma­tion on dis­tances, prox­im­i­ty, obsta­cles, and land­marks. How­ev­er, inde­pen­dence is also achieved by peo­ple with VI through inter­act­ing with oth­ers, such as in col­lab­o­ra­tion with sight­ed guides. Draw­ing on the con­cept of inter­de­pen­dence, this research presents a sys­tem­at­ic analy­sis of sight­ed guid­ing part­ner­ships. Using inter­ac­tion analy­sis as our pri­ma­ry mode of data analy­sis, we con­duct­ed an empir­i­cal, qual­i­ta­tive study with 4 cou­ples, each made up of per­son with a vision impair­ment and their sight­ed guide. Our results show how pairs used inter­ac­tion­al resources such as turn-tak­ing and body move­ments to both co-con­sti­tute a com­mon space for nav­i­ga­tion, and repair moments of rup­ture to this space. This work is used to present an exem­plary case of inter­de­pen­dence and draws out impli­ca­tions for design­ing AI-enabled AT that shifts the empha­sis away from inde­pen­dent nav­i­ga­tion, and towards the care­ful­ly coor­di­nat­ed actions between peo­ple nav­i­gat­ing together.

CHI 2021 conference papers

Two papers at the CHI con­fer­ence this year.

Sara Heitlinger, Lara Hous­ton, Alex Tay­lor, Ruth Cat­low (2021) Algo­rith­mic Food Jus­tice: Co-Design­ing More-than-Human Blockchain Futures for the Food Com­mons, Pro­ceed­ings of the 2021 CHI Con­fer­ence on Human Fac­tors in Com­put­ing Sys­tems, New York, NY, USA: Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­put­ing Machin­ery, pdf, doi:10.1145/3411764.3445655

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. 

Ceci­ly Mor­ri­son, Edward Cutrell, Mar­tin Grayson, Anja Thieme, Alex Tay­lor, Geert Roumen, Camil­la Long­den, Sebas­t­ian Tschi­atschek, Rita Faia Mar­ques, Abi­gail Sell­en (2021) Social Sense­mak­ing with AI: Design­ing an Open-End­ed AI Expe­ri­ence with a Blind Child, Pro­ceed­ings of the 2021 CHI Con­fer­ence on Human Fac­tors in Com­put­ing Sys­tems, New York, NY, USA: Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­put­ing Machin­ery, pdf, doi:10.1145/3411764.3445290

AI tech­nolo­gies are often used to aid peo­ple in per­form­ing dis­crete tasks with well-defined goals (e.g., recog­nis­ing faces in images). Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies that pro­vide con­tin­u­ous, real-time infor­ma­tion enable more open-end­ed AI expe­ri­ences. In part­ner­ship with a blind child, we explore the chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties of design­ing human-AI inter­ac­tion for a sys­tem intend­ed to sup­port social sense­mak­ing. Adopt­ing a research-through-design per­spec­tive, we reflect upon work­ing with the uncer­tain capa­bil­i­ties of AI sys­tems in the design of this expe­ri­ence. We con­tribute: (i) a con­crete exam­ple of an open-end­ed AI sys­tem that enabled a blind child to extend his own capa­bil­i­ties; (ii) an illus­tra­tion of the delta between imag­ined and actu­al use, high­light­ing how capa­bil­i­ties derive from the human-AI inter­ac­tion and not the AI sys­tem alone; and (iii) a dis­cus­sion of design choic­es to craft an ongo­ing human-AI inter­ac­tion that address­es the chal­lenge of uncer­tain out­puts of AI systems. 

IX Magazine: Global Mobilities

Talk: The Capacities of Interaction