Anja Thieme, Cynthia L. Bennett, Cecily Morrison, Edward Cutrell and Alex Taylor (2018) “I can do everything but see!” – How People with Vision Impairments Negotiate their Abilities in Social Contexts.In Proceedings CHI ’18. ACM Press.
Abstract — Why is it so hard for chatbots to talk about race? This work explores how the biased contents of databases, the syntactic focus of natural language processing, and the opaque nature of deep learning algorithms cause chatbots difficulty in handling race-talk. In each of these areas, the tensions between race and chatbots create new opportunities for people and machines. By making the abstract and disparate qualities of this problem space tangible, we can develop chatbots that are more capable of handling race-talk in its many forms. Our goal is to provide the HCI community with ways to begin addressing the question, how can chatbots handle race-talk in new and improved ways?
Abstract — This research takes an orientation to visual impairment (VI) that does not regard it as fixed or determined alone in or through the body. Instead, we consider (dis)ability as produced through interactions with the environment and configured by the people and technology within it. Specifically, we explore how abilities become negotiated through video ethnography with six VI athletes and spectators during the Rio 2016 Paralympics. We use generated in-depth examples to identify how technology can be a meaningful part of ability negotiations, emphasizing how these embed into the social interactions and lives of people with VI. In contrast to treating technology as a solution to a ‘sensory deficit’, we understand it to support the triangulation process of sense-making through provision of appropriate additional information. Further, we suggest that technology should not try and replace human assistance, but instead enable people with VI to better identify and interact with other people in-situ.
I’m very happy to have been a part of the work leading up to a paper presented at Assets 2017, the ACM conference on Accessible Computing. Reporting on work from a group of us at Microsoft Research, the paper describes an orientation to our studies with the blind and vision impaired.
Cecily Morrison, Edward Cutrell, Anupama Dhareshwar, Kevin Doherty, Anja Thieme, and Alex Taylor. 2017. Imagining Artificial Intelligence Applications with People with Visual Disabilities using Tactile Ideation. In Proceedings of the 19th International ACMSIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 81 – 90. DOI.
ABSTRACT — In his 2015 Research Through Design provocation, Tim Ingold invites his audience to think with string, lines, and meshworks. In this article I use Ingold’s concepts to explore an orientation to design — one that threads through both Ingold’s ideas and Vinciane Despret’s vivid and moving accounts of human-animal relations. This is a “thinking and doing” through design that seeks to be expansive to the capacities of humans and non-humans in relation to one another.
In my contribution, I’ve reflected on Tim Ingold’s provocation at the Biennial Research Through Design conference, and tried to play around with opening up a more generative kind of design. My experiment has been to put Ingold’s ideas of lines and meshworks in conversation with Vinciane Despret’s uplifting stories of animals and becomings. A strange mix, but one that for me at least raises plenty of interesting questions — and isn’t it more questions we need?!
An extended engagement with a community and its data
We present findings from a five-week deployment of voting technologies in a city neighbourhood. Drawing on Marres’ (2012) work on material participation and Massey’s (2005) conceptualisation of space as dynamic, we designed the deployment such that the technologies (which were situated in residents’ homes, on the street, and available online) would work in concert, cutting across the neighbourhood to make visible, juxtapose and draw together the different ‘small worlds’ within it. We demonstrate how the material infrastructure of the voting devices set in motion particular processes and interpretations of participation, putting data in place in a way that had ramifications for the recognition of heterogeneity. We conclude that redistributing participation means not only opening up access, so that everyone can participate, or even providing a multitude of voting channels, so that people can participate in different ways. Rather, it means making visible multiplicity, challenging notions of similarity, and showing how difference may be productive.
See more on the CSCW site here. See an early draft here.
At the CHI conference this year, Clara Crivellaro presented this paper on our amazing work at a regeneration site on the outskirts of London. The work touches on many issues that are important to me, from grassroots participation and housing to inventive methods and technoscience’s productive possibilities.
Clara Crivellaro, Alex Taylor, Vasilis Vlachokyriakos, Rob Comber, Bettina Nissen, Peter Wright
We present insights from an extended engagement and design intervention at an urban regeneration site in SE London. We describe the process of designing a walking trail and system for recording and playing back place-specific stories for those living and working on the housing estate, and show how this is set within a wider context of urban renewal, social/affordable housing and “community building”. Like prior work, the research reveals the frictions that arise in participatory engagements with heterogeneous actors. Here we illustrate how material interventions can rearrange existing spatial configurations, making productive the plurality of accounts intrinsic in community life. Through this, we provide an orientation to HCI and design interventions that are concerned with civic engagement and participation in processes of making places.
Abstract: What does the abundance of data and proliferation of data-making methods mean for the ordinary person, the person on the street? And, what could they come to mean? In this paper, we present an overview of a year-long project to examine just such questions and complicate, in some ways, what it is to ask them. The project is a collective exercise in which we – a mixture of social scientists, designers and makers – and those living and working on one street in Cambridge (UK), Tenison Road, are working to think through how data might be materialised and come to matter. The project aims to better understand the specificities and contingencies that arise when data is produced and used in place. Mid-way through the project, we use this commentary to give some background to the work and detail one or two of the troubles we have encountered in putting locally relevant data to work. We also touch on a methodological standpoint we are working our way into and through, one that we hope complicates the separations between subject and object in data-making and opens up possibilities for a generative refiguring of the manifold relations.