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....
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...
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...
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....
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...
Ethnographic work in industry has spent two decades contributing to making products that matter in a range of industry contexts. This activity has accounted for important successes within industry. From the standpoint of ethnographic practice, however, the discursive infrastructure that has been developed to do our work within product development is now a limiting factor. For practice to evolve, we must look critically at the ways in which our current successes are indicators of a kind of stasis and that change is a matter of radically redefining the kinds of business problems ethnographic work should address and the values and behaviors associated with how we do our work....