This paper reports on the use and perceptions of deployed A.I. and recognition social-material assemblages in China and the USA. A kaleidoscope of “boutique” instantiations is presented to show how meanings are emerging around A.I. and recognition. A model is presented to highlight that not all recognitions are the same. We conclude by noting A.I. and recognition systems challenge current practices for the EPIC community and the field of anthropology....
EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island
KEN ANDERSON, Principal Researcher, Intel Corporation
LIZ KENESKI, Head of Privacy Research, Facebook Inc.
PETER LEVIN, Principal Researcher, Autodesk
ELENA O’CURRY, Senior User Researcher, Uber
JEFF SOKOLOV, Designer & Researcher, IBM Watson Health
Algorithmic systems are increasingly integrated into the physical and digital infrastructures of our lives. The borders of privacy are being pushed and redefined, provoking new debate about what privacy is. All corporations claim privacy is important, but what does that mean? Panelists will consider what privacy might look like or mean when individuals are tied into multiple networks, both human and AI.
KEN ANDERSON, panel chair, is an anthropologist, who is a Principal Engineer in Next Generation Standards at Intel Corporation. He does pathfinding at the intersection of technology, strategy, and the human experience to drive towards creating technology that enables us to have richer relationships,...
This case demonstrates how ongoing ethnographic research from within a corporation led to the re-segmentation of a market. The first part of the case focuses on how a team of social science researchers at a major technology company, Intel, drew on past research studies to develop a point-of-view on the increasing importance of content creation across a range of populations that challenged the findings of a quantitative market sizing study. Drawing on earlier qualitative work, the team was able to successfully argue for the value of ethnographic research to augment these findings and to show how research participants’ orientations toward technology constituted a more significant, and more actionable way of segmenting this new market than professional status, the differentiator used in the quantitative study. The second half of the case highlights the process of driving business change...
by Your EPIC Board: MARIA BEZAITIS (Intel), ALEXANDRA MACK (Pitney Bowes) & KEN ANDERSON (Intel)
Every year the EPIC Board opens the published conference proceedings with a Conversation—a reflection on key ideas and passions afire at the meeting and a gateway to continuing those conversations together. 11 years of EPIC Proceedings are free in Intelligences: we invite you to search, read, comment and download. EPIC Members can also access EPIC2015 & EPIC2014 conference video.
EPIC2015 was notable for so many excellent reasons. First, the conference took place in an extraordinary city with a vibrant and growing population of EPIC people. Holding the conference in São Paulo enabled an influx of new participants and presenters from Latin America, expanding the community and conversation with new colleagues and stakeholders as well as new ways of thinking about people that develop out of different cultural perspectives.
Second, we celebrated our first double-digit birthday—10 years! Our birthday gave us the opportunity...
Intel ALEXANDRA MACK
Pitney Bowes KEN ANDERSON
EPIC2015 was notable for so many excellent reasons. First, the conference took place in an extraordinary city with a vibrant and growing population of EPIC people. Holding the conference in São Paulo enabled an influx of new participants and presenters from Latin America, expanding the community and conversation with new colleagues and stakeholders as well as new ways of thinking about people that develop out of different cultural perspectives....
Intel CorporationPETER LEVIN
Intel CorporationBRANDON BARNETT
Intel CorporationMARIA BEZAITIS
While ethnography has been integrated into the design research, new product development and corporate strategy, it has been less well integrated into path-finding for new business opportunities. We’ve developed a model for path-finding research that has three core parts: creating a business opportunity hypothesis from social flux, testing and validating the hypothesis, and catalyzing opportunities for the corporation. We provide a case study of how we used the approach around The Data Economy. We highlight three important aspects of the approach: shift of research focus from context to ecosystem; robust action, rather than funnel development for concepts, and present a tool we created called the Business Opportunity Canvas to convey research findings into action. We then highlight the direct implications of this shift for ethnographic projects, from a focus on how knowledge is produced and description of...
Special Session: 10 Years of EPIC
Part 1: ken anderson, Intel
Part 2: Hiroshi Tamura, Re:public Inc.
Part 3: Jeanette Blomberg, IBM
Part 4: Simon Roberts, Stripe Partners
Part 5: Panel Discussion...
MARIA BEZAITIS, ALEXANDRA MACK and KEN ANDERSON From September 7 through 10, EPIC convened in New York City at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus. This year’s conference was hosted by Fordham’s Center For Positive Marketing, a fact that encouraged a conference emphasis on value and values. Our organizing team, led by Tim de Waal Malefyt and Rogério de Paula, brought four keynote talks into the main conference program this year, giving the EPIC community a chance to hear from culture critic Thomas Frank, industry practitioners Christian Madsbjerg (ReD Associates) and Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research), and Professor Dawn Lerman (Executive Director, Center for Positive Marketing and Senior Associate Dean of Research and Academic Innovation, Fordham University). Every year, the EPIC community introduces important new elements and innovations to the conference. Brigitte Jordan created the Authors’ Space, which highlighted new publications by EPIC people and gave the community a chance to interact with authors. Students from...
DAWN NAFUS, ROGERIO DE PAULA and KEN ANDERSON
This paper explores notions of ‘voice’ as it relates to Web 2.0. We begin by tracing the social meanings of Web 2.0 technologies Brazil. There the notions of ‘voice’ as conceived of in the American media are absent, yet significant collective action took place online through a kind of speaking out. Next the paper describes the conflation of voice with a notion of social networks to explain how the American media misread the Brazilian action. This is achieved by an incredible plasticity and abstraction of the ‘Web 2.0’ construct, which flattens otherwise qualitatively meaningful distinctions. This puts us on some ground to raise the issue of how abstractions might become relationships. This, we argue, is evidenced both in terms of how Brazilians might interpret online relationships, and how Web 2.0 hype betrays a politics of abstraction at work in the wider economy....
DAWN NAFUS and KEN ANDERSON
This paper explores discourses of the ‘real’ in commercial ethnographic research, and the transitions and transformations those discourses make possible and impossible. A common strategy to legitimize industrial ethnography is to claim a special relationship to ‘real people’, or argue that one is capturing what is ‘really’ happening in ‘natural’ observation. Distancing language describes ‘insights’ into a situation somehow separate from ourselves, ‘findings’ and ‘quotes’ that we seemingly extract from one context and plunk in another. Whether it is chimps (in Jane Goodall’s case) or consumers (in ours); we know what is going on or not. This model of ethnographic knowing has adopted the naturalistic science discourse of the behavioralist—the neutral observers in an environment. Here we explore how this epistemic culture has been created and its ‘real’ consequences. What we do not attempt is an assertion of the merits of one kind of ethnography over another, or a rehash of...
KEN ANDERSON and ROGERIO DE PAULA
The majority of ethnographic studies for businesses have focused on places: home, work, “third places,” and even “non-places”. Daily life, however, is composed of transitional moments – matter of “in-betweeness.” Transitional spaces and movements have increasingly been sites for “filling the gap” informational and “cocooning” products. We explored the in-between transitional moments on buses and commuter boats in Salvador, Bahia. We contend that the experience in this time-space creates a “we-tween” or just a “we-we,” which engages the people and the environment in a moment of group solidarity and interactivity. We contrast this study of in-between to those we conducted in “Western” countries. The “we” affect suggests that corporate efforts in design and development have been disproportionally focused on Euro-North American values, which has direct implications for corporate innovation. We highlight the value of a multi-voiced approach in the collaboration between...
MELISSA CEFKIN, MARIA BEZAITIS, ALEXANDRA MACK, KEN ANDERSON and ED LIEBOW
When we offer something to another person, community, or organization, we create the conditions for some sort of value to be created. This proposition about value creation remains at the heart of all ethnographic work in industry, and it has framed EPIC’s exploration of Renewal, the theme set for this year’s conference in Savannah. What does it mean to do something that is valued? How is that value organized and shaped in everyday life, in the workplace, in ethnographic practice itself, from methodologies to questions of ethics? As a broad and diverse community of practitioners, is there such a thing as “our” value? Should “we” expect ever to standardize it in those terms? These were just some of the provocative questions raised by the content shared at EPIC 2012. Indeed, both the opening and closing keynotes demonstrated this complicated dance of renewal and value creation in very personal and specific ways. Architect Emily Pilloton opened this year’s...
MARIA BEZAITIS and KEN ANDERSON
To start to shape directions for new business opportunities, and to remain attentive to changing business landscapes, ethnographic practice must produce knowledge about the social world by looking at relevant shifts in social frames and then use this knowledge to shape the informed fictions that will move business climates and interests. Flux is an approach that demonstrates one way to evolve the work from its traditional focus on design and making good products to the development of new business models. This approach emerges from very specific sets of changes taking place presently in the technology sector and the desire to apply ethnography, interpretive work, theory to figure more explicitly as the central mediation between businesses and the social world....
TRACEY LOVEJOY, MELISSA CEFKIN, KEN ANDERSON and ED LIEBOW
EPIC seems to be a group of people who share a way of thinking. And I wanted to be a part of that....
MELISSA CEFKIN, MARIA BEZAITIS, ALEXANDRA MACK and KEN ANDERSON
Oracles, fear, wonderment and magic graced the Faraday Theater of the Royal Institution of Great Britain once again. They appeared, appropriately, intertwined with the story of the advancement of science, and of technologies of knowledge. At the 9th annual Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, the very fundamentals of humanity, from senses to mediation, were explored and questioned. What an honor to be hosted at this esteemed organization to engage in the exploration of ethnographic praxis in industry!Experimenting with a theme-less program, the conference exposed the breadth and range of current ethnographic practice. In this year’s conversation we note just some of the threads and themes we observed to play out. But before that, we want to offer a reflection on the very existence of EPIC and its mission at the cusp of its 10th birthday.
The ethnographic marketplace matures with new challenges ahead
A couple of years ago we realized the Board faced a rather...