Intelligences

Bringing the Security Analyst into the Loop: From Human-Computer Interaction to Human-Computer Collaboration

LIZ ROGERS IBM Security This case study examines how one Artificial Intelligence (AI) security software team made the decision to abandon a core feature of the product – an interactive Knowledge Graph visualization deemed by prospective buyers as “cool,” “impressive,” and “complex” – in favor of one that its users – security analysts – found easier to use and interpret. Guided by the results of ethnographic and user research, the QRadar Advisor with Watson team created a new knowledge graph (KG) visualization more aligned with how security analysts actually investigate potential security threats than evocative of AI and “the way that the internet works.” This new feature will be released in Q1 2020 by IBM and has been adopted as a component in IBM’s open-source design system. In addition, it is currently being reviewed by IBM as a patent application submission. The commitment of IBM and the team to replace a foundational AI component with one that better aligns to the mental models and practices of its...

The Adaptation of Everyday Work in an Age of Automation

TAMARA MOELLENBERG ReD Associates MORGAN RAMSEY-ELLIOT ReD Associates CLAIRE STRATY ReD Associates Recent debates around the future of work have largely focused on how automated technologies are contributing to job loss or decline. However, in this paper, we draw from original ethnographic research with four types of automation-affected workers – insurance agents, pharmaceutical representatives, medical device salespeople, and medical device technicians – to argue that, rather than being replaced by machines, many workers are in fact adapting how they define and perform their work to survive in a more digital age. Uncovering such adaption tactics is crucial for recognizing the human agency that is present in, even definitive of increasing encounters with machine-driven technologies and can help large organizations solve some of their toughest challenges, including how to predict future trends in the labor market, define the added value of human labor, build and train a better workforce, and develop and evolve existing...

Hearing Through Their Ears: Developing Inclusive Research Methods to Co-Create with Blind Participants

GREGORY WEINSTEIN This paper recounts research into the orientation and mobility experiences of people who are blind or visually impaired, and describes the novel sonic research method I developed for this purpose. “Participant Phonography,” as I call the method, aims to empower research participants with low or no vision through the self-guided creation of sound recordings that represent their experiences of the world in a first-person perspective. More broadly, the paper highlights the inadequate efforts of ethnographers in industry to tackle challenges of disability and reflects on the ethical challenges that face researchers who want to include disabled people in research. Inclusive methods like participant phonography have great potential to break down traditional power structures that have rendered non-normative groups marginal in user research, but these methods also come with substantial barriers to their implementation in a corporate context....

From ‘Cool Science’ to Changing the World: The Opportunity to Support Pre-startup Science Commercialization through Ethnography and Human-centered Design

SIMON PULMAN-JONES Emergence Now AMY WEATHERUP AJM Enterprises Introducing an emerging context for human-centered design work, this paper extends previous EPIC literature on startup innovation upstream into university science commercialization. It provides new perspectives on how the human-centered design community can engage with scientific models of agency to inform broader engagement with the innovation and design challenges inherent in ‘intelligent’ technologies, and offers the challenge of engaging with and developing empathy for the dispositions of scientist innovators as a new vantage point from which to reflect on our core strength as facilitators of cross-disciplinary collaboration for innovation and design....

Weighing Decisions in Monitoring and Evaluation of Clean Cookstoves

JENNIFER VENTRELLA The New School ERIN PEIFFER Oregon State University SHAOZENG ZHANG Oregon State University NORDICA MACCARTY Oregon State University This case study examines agency within monitoring and evaluation (M&E) schemes for international development projects. Specifically, it evaluates a sensor to measure fuel consumption of clean cookstoves as a method of maintaining accountability and soliciting data on stove performance. Despite trends of increasingly automated M&E, the decisions of choosing, analyzing, and translating outcomes and indicators are influenced by stakeholder input. Through various rapid ethnographic methods including surveys and interviews with government agencies, non-profits, and clean stove users, in addition to participant observation and focal follow of stove users in Central America and Uganda, the interactions and inputs of various agents throughout the project lifetime are assessed. Further, it is discussed that while not all actors were equitably engaged throughout the entirety...

A.I. Among Us: Agency in a World of Cameras and Recognition Systems

KEN ANDERSON Intel Corporation MARIA BEZAITIS Intel Corporation CARL DISALVO Georgia Tech SUSAN FAULKNER Intel Corporation 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....

(Fr)agile objects: Thinking Scrum through Post-It Notes

ISABEL LAFUENTE Sidia WILSON PRATA Sidia Agile methodologies have taken hold as a model to be followed in software industry. Among them, Scrum is one of the most used frameworks and has a high level of acceptance among a large range of organizations. The underlying premise of Scrum is that by implementing an iterative and incremental process of development, an organization can become more efficient in coping with unpredictability, thus, increasing the chances of delivering business value. In this paper we use the context of SIDIA, an R&D center based in Manaus (Brazil), to look at how Scrum is practiced, by following Post-its notes, which are commonly used in agile landscapes. Following previous work on the idea of thinking through things (instead of thinking about things) as an analytic method to account for the ethnographic experience (Henare, 2006), the purpose here is to draw out the capacity of these objects to re-conceive the workplace. We argue that somehow the extensive use of post-its in this specific context...

Keynote Address: Zach Lieberman

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island ZACH LIEBERMAN, School for Poetic Computation Zach Lieberman is an artist, researcher and educator with a simple goal: he wants you surprised. In his work, he creates performances and installations that take human gesture as input and amplify them in different ways—making drawings come to life, imagining what the voice might look like if we could see it, transforming peoples silhouettes into music. He’s been listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and his projects have won the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum London as well as listed in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year. He creates artwork through writing software, is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding, and helped co-found the School for Poetic Computation, a school examining the lyrical possibilities of code. His website is zach.li and he’s active on Instagram and Twitter....

Agency and the Climate Emergency

EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island Moderator: DAN LOCKTON, Director of the Imaginaries Lab & Chair of Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University Panelists: MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN, Urban Soils Fellow, Anthropocene, Urban Soils Institute GYORGYI GALIK, Lead Advisor, Architecture and Built Environment Team, Design Council; Royal College of Art MIKE YOUNGBLOOD, Principal, Youngblood Group What are ethnographers’ roles in dealing with catastrophic climate crisis? Should we be exploring people’s experiences of change, trying to use our insights to help drive individual and collective action at scale through organizations, or helping civil society deal with the consequences? In this diverse set of presentations, panelists share ethnographic and design approaches to climate that engage communities, products, policy, artists, activists, and more. They examine tensions, responsibilities, and value that ethnographic practice can bring to one of the biggest issues for our collective futures....

EPIC2019 Gallery

Gallery installations at EPIC2019 evoked multi-modal experiences of ethnographic practice—written, oral, visual, three-dimensional, interactive, critical, reflective. These creative projects offered conference attendees diverse experiences of agency and ethnography. The conference committee made an open call for proposals and selected installations through anonymous review. Gallery Committee Chair: ANJA MAERZ, Babylon Health Carolina Amiguet, Google MAKALÉ FABER CULLEN, Urban Soils Institute ANNA HICKEY-MOODY, RMIT University SHEILA PONTIS, Princeton University WAFA SAID MOSLEH, University of Southern Denmark Installations The Ethno-graphic Sensibility, Jamie McPike & Diana Graizbord Socially Informed Policy and Planning for AV Mobility in Rhode Island, Kate Fisher Agency via Avatar Emotions in Virtual Reality, Ayfer Gokalp & Jacqueline Pospisil Office Humour, James O’Neill, Francesco Pini & Frauke Hein What Are Memories Made of?, Hema Malini Waghray Debris, Daria Loi & Heather McGeachy...

Remembering the Blister: How What Didn’t Kill Me Made Me Stronger

MARISE PHILLIPS Wells Fargo I’m an ethnographer at a major financial institution. My work became a lot more meaningful after my family and I lost our home in a devastating arson attack. In this PechaKucha, I tell the story of how this catastrophic fire loss forced me to reclaim my agency. Today, I channel memories of bereavement and recovery into my quest to improve experiences for customers and in my community. “Knowledge is awareness that fire can burn; wisdom is remembering the blister.” —Leo Tolstoy Marise Phillips has lent insights and ideation to projects at all stages of the software development lifecycle in her 25-year career. Her specialties are design research, service design, content strategy, and facilitation of participatory design decision-making. In 2011, Marise managed a partnership with Forrester Research to bring service design practitioner training to Wells Fargo—an opportunity which has resulted in hundreds of team members across the enterprise practicing human-centered, collaborative approaches...

Tech Colonialism Today

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island SAREETA AMRUTE, Director of Research, Data & Society; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington Studies on the social effects of computing have enumerated the harms done by AI, social media, and algorithmic decision-making to underrepresented communities in the United States and around the globe. I argue that the approaches of enumerating harms and arguing for inclusion have to be unsettled. These approaches, while important, frame populations as victims whose existence is dominated by and divided from centers of power. We lack a structural analysis of how these harms fit into a larger social economic pattern. I ask us to consider instead whether all of these harms add up to computing technologies today being one of the largest aspects of a colonial relationship today. Using historical evidence, the talk will consider what makes something ‘colonial’ to begin with, and then weigh corporate computing’s relationship with the world to gauge whether...

Distant Cousins? Minds, Bodies and Machines

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island SIMON ROBERTS, Co-founder, Stripe Partners It was several centuries ago that the body was spirited out of conversations about intelligence. The mind-body dualism continues to exert strong influence on the world today—in fields as diverse as education, marketing, politics and technology. The Enlightenment, the industrial revolution and now AI and automation have all, in their own ways, sanctified the mind and downgraded the body. Yet a host of disciplines from beyond anthropology and philosophy, such as neuroscience and cognitive science, are now concurring with the idea that the body is more than just the locus of our experience of the world. As the idea of embodied cognition holds, the body is the source of, and a condition for, our intelligence. Indeed, the recent rapid advances in AI and robotics have been made in large part due to this turn towards the idea of the embodied mind. The body is at the heart of human capabilities like pattern recognition, adaptability,...

Using Ethnography and Narrative Analysis to Uncover Customer Agency: Intrepid Travel’s Online Booking Project

ALICE WATSON Intrepid Group This paper draws on a discovery research project focused on the customer experience of Intrepid Travel's automated booking system. The Data Analytics team initially investigated customer behaviour when booking and found problems with high exit rates on the first and second steps of the 3-step booking process. A paradox was also found between the numeric NPS and CES scores for booking, and comments which revealed high volumes of customers requiring assistance from customer service to complete their online booking. The Product Manager for this project prioritised an extended discovery research phase to provide a more holistic understanding of the customer experience of online booking and answer some questions that arose from customer behaviours highlighted by the Data Analytics team. The UX Researcher's task was to design a research project that would analyse why customers were struggling to complete Intrepid Travel's automated booking process and provide recommendations to improve this system for a...

Educating the Educators: An Entire Franchise Preschool System Embraces Ethnographic Insights to Improve Brand Experience and Drive Growth

MEG KINNEY Bad Babysitter HAL PHILLIPS Bad Babysitter This case study demonstrates the radius of influence that ethnographic insight can have throughout an organization as well as how it can be tied to business outcomes. This case also represents the power of video ethnography as a robust and enduring data set that provides a visceral, contextual, human record capable of aligning and galvanizing cross functional teams. At the cusp of aggressive expansion, Primrose Schools needed to address cascading business issues: low brand awareness relative to key competitors in new markets, brand engagement (vis a vis online content), and disappointing conversion rates for Parent enrollment. The first half of the case describes the design and key findings from our Parent Enrollment Study. Early education in present day America is contextualized against a backdrop of new parenting philosophies, socio-cultural relationships with smartphones and social media, and wage stagnation. The second half of the case illuminates how broadly the ethnography-inspired...