Intelligences

Regarding the Pain of Users: Towards a Genealogy of the Pain Point

DAVID PLATZER Berggruen Institute This essay offers an analysis of the “pain point,” a commonplace figure of speech in UX design and contemporary business contexts more broadly. By situating this everday trope within a wider discourse of pain, and its politiciztion in the United States, I seek to problematize the modes of relationality and forms of care entailed in the practice of design research. Ultimately, I will argue, while the “pain point” can be an effective tool for communicating with stakeholders and fomenting alignment about research objectives, it also implicates the more troubling ethical dimensions of applied practice. Through a narrative account of an innovation focused ethnographic research project conducted within the design unit of a major tech company, I argue that questions of solidarity, and its contemporary aporias, can be obscured by the humanitarian rhetoric of contemporary design praxis; a rhetoric of which the “pain point” is a prime example....

Designed for Care: Systems of Care and Accountability in the Work of Mobility

ERIK STAYTON Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley; Massachusetts Institute of Technology MELISSA CEFKIN Nissan Research Center – Silicon Valley In this paper we explore the idea of a system of care through a city transit system. We argue that a systematic orientation to care is central to what makes a transit system work for people. Further, we suggest that this care orientation is recognized as such, even though it is not apparent in typical modes of systems management. Care is what knowing in this system is for. We examine how participants in the system navigate different epistemic bases of their work, focusing on how care work and information work intertwine. How is this work practiced and known? And how could we, as design researchers, use these practices to design systems of care? In service of these goals, we expand the notion of care work toward care of non-human actors as well as that of people. We focus particularly on the roles of automation and the risks automation presents for care. In a moment of increased...

Confessions Across Digital Distances

JESS SHUTT Salesforce PechaKucha Presentation Digital environments can expand the distances between people. While this is often challenging, it can also be leveraged to do great things. This PechaKucha explores how we can take this negative divide between people and flip it on its head to discover more powerful insights. By looking at a range of studies focused on sensitive subjects, we explore how technology has the power to create a safer environment for vulnerable participants. While technology is an often underutilized research tool, these technology enabled environments can lead to richer data and insights. As a result, we, as researchers, can create the space needed to share some of our most intimate stories. Jess Shutt has dedicated her career to studying & creating technology to help democratize complex processes & systems from finance to consumer robotics. Her current work as the Lead User Researcher of Einstein at Salesforce focuses on applying these concepts to artificial intelligence. 2018 EPIC Proceedings,...

The Stakes of Uncertainty: Developing and Integrating Machine Learning in Clinical Care

MADELEINE CLARE ELISH Data & Society Research Institute The wide-spread deployment of machine learning tools within healthcare is on the horizon. However, the hype around “AI” tends to divert attention toward the spectacular, and away from the more mundane and ground-level aspects of new technologies that shape technological adoption and integration. This paper examines the development of a machine learning-driven sepsis risk detection tool in a hospital Emergency Department in order to interrogate the contingent and deeply contextual ways in which AI technologies are likely be adopted in healthcare. In particular, the paper bring into focus the epistemological implications of introducing a machine learning-driven tool into a clinical setting by analyzing shifting categories of trust, evidence, and authority. The paper further explores the conditions of certainty in the disciplinary contexts of data science and ethnography, and offers a potential reframing of the work of doing data science and machine learning as “computational...

“Empathizing” with Machines

CHRIS BUTLER Philosophie PechaKucha Presentation When we study human systems and organizations we have a job that requires to empathize or at the very least be compassionate towards the experiences others are having. This allows to understand their goals, problems, and how we can best make their lives better. When machines start to do things that we can't imagine how do we continue to work with them? What is necessary to create great combinations of humans and machines? What is a machine's purpose? Very simply: it is to serve human purposes. As technology continues to build facades that hide the human element we need to pull back the curtain (like the one in the Wizard of Oz) and see that the tools we build are really us reflected back. We have the choice to make tools that are good or bad for us. Chris Butler, is the Director of AI at Philosophie and frequently speaks on the intersection of product, design, and AI. He has extensive experience from Microsoft, Waze, KAYAK, among others. Through his practice he has created...

Design & Data

Chair: JEANETTE BLOMBERG, Distinguished Researcher, IBM Almaden Research Center Panelists: MARC BÖHLEN, Professor, Department of Art, Emerging Practices, State University of New York at Buffalo TOM LEE, Director of Data Science, Fisher Center for Business Analytics, University of California Berkeley What does a data expert see when they look at a design problem? This panel immerses us in the practices of two data experts, both of whom have collaborated with ethnographers, as they navigate through design challenges in different ways. Chair Jeanette Blomberg draws the panelists and audience into conversation about synergies and challenges for interdisciplinary design collaborations. Jeanette Blomberg is Distinguished Researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center and Adjunct Professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. She has done foundational work on ethnography in design processes over three decades, and her current research is focused on organizational analytics and the linkages between human action, digital data production, data...

What’s Fair in a Data-Mediated World?

Chair: , Distinguished Researcher, IBM Almaden Research Center Panelists: , Mozilla , Data for Democracy , Good Research This EPIC2018 panel addresses questions of fairness and justice in data-centric systems. While the many social problems caused by data-centric systems are well known, what options are available to us to make things better? Chair Elizabeth Churchill…

The Story As Evidence: It’s Yours, It’s Mine, It’s Theirs

NIK JARVIE-WALDROM Empathy PechaKucha Presentation I've been reflecting on my role in the use and abuse of evidence — in the past as a radio producer and more recently as a writer in a design research company. Storytelling is held aloft as something businesses need to do more of — and be better at — but often the narratives do not belong to businesses. We are re-tellers. The work of a writer presenting design research isolates evidence from its source. There are limits to what we can do to make sure evidence is considered alongside the intention it was gathered with. I started working on this because I wanted to share my indignation at evidence I gathered being misrepresented. My editors have turned stories of triumph into stories of disaster to get more clicks. But I've noticed the similarity between my questioning of editors, and the anthropologists I work with questioning me. Evidence exists in relation to questions. Defining the things we're curious about helps us focus, and decide which evidence to seek out. Ethnographers...

Midway Atoll

SARAH BROOKS IBM PechaKucha Presentation We live our lives in contexts of overlapping systems. Developing the skill to connect dots of evidence between social, ecological and economic evidence offers the potential for more effective interventions in complex challenges. Sarah Brooks, Sarah Brooks’ teaching and design practice sits at the intersection of design research, service design, and social innovation. She currently serves as a Design Executive and Distinguished Designer at IBM. 2018 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 696, ISSN 1559-8918...

Rejected!: Design Research, Publics and the Purging of New Technologies

LAURA CESAFSKY Nissan Research Center, Silicon Valley PechaKucha Presentation A challenge for design research today lies in naming, knowing and accounting for people who are not direct users of our technologies, but who are nonetheless affected and compelled to interact with them in daily life. This Pecha Kucha takes us to the streets of Bogotá, Colombia, where a new bus system that was roundly rejected becomes a cautionary tale on the perils of ignoring the painpoints of ‘non-direct users.’ Drawing from pragmatist political science, I propose we can usefully understand this latter group as a ‘technological public,’ and I touch on key difficulties of designing for publics. Laura Cesafsky is an urban geographer, transportation nerd, and Human-Centered Systems Design Researcher at Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley. laura.cesafsky@nissan-usa.com 2018 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 698, ISSN 1559-8918...

Diagnosing the World Pulse

CHRISTOPHER A. GOLIAS, PHD PechaKucha Presentation This PechaKucha explores the ethics of interpreting data by employing an extended metaphor of data as the lifeblood of the connected world. It begins by exploring two distinct viewpoints on medical pulse diagnosis, starting from the perspective of the acupuncturist diagnosing a patient’s pulse and continuing through differences between Eastern pulse diagnosis and biomedical pulse diagnosis. I explore data as lifeblood, and imagine more visceral ways to read data (e.g., auguring data) and the ethical implications of such a reading. I envision data as a flowing river filling a lake, in which diagnostic specialists observe society’s reflection. In the process, I contrast utopian visions of a data driven world with dystopian ones before resolving tension by returning to the central comparison of data scientist and medical doctor. The presentation concludes by recalling medicine’s Hippocratic Oath, an ethical charter binding practitioners to a code of conduct, and implying...

Cooperation without Submission: Some Insights on Knowing, Not-Knowing and Their Relations from Hopi-US Engagements

JUSTIN B. RICHLAND Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Irvine; Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Associate Justice, The Hopi Appellate Court EPIC2018 Keynote Address...

The Future is Yours

DONNA K. FLYNN Vice President of WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase EPIC2018 Keynote Address Donna Flynn is Vice President of WorkSpace Futures and Market Insights at Steelcase. She leads a global team of researchers that delve into wicked problems around the future of work and translate those insights to inform the design of strategies, products, and services. Flynn joined Steelcase in 2011 from Microsoft, where she held a number of user experience leadership roles in product groups focused on mobility, healthcare, and consumer strategy. Prior to Microsoft, she led client projects for Sapient in San Francisco, working with technology and telecommunications clients such as Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, and Sprint. Earlier in her career she worked on international development and microfinance with the International Center for Research on Women, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the World Bank. Flynn received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1997. She has been a leader in the EPIC community...

The Perfect uberPOOL: A Case Study on Trade-Offs

JENNY LO Uber Technologies STEVE MORSEMAN Uber Technologies Case Study—One of Uber’s company missions is to make carpooling more affordable and reliable for riders, and effortless for drivers. In 2014 the company launched uberPOOL to make it easy for riders to share their trip with others heading in the same direction. Fundamental to the mechanics of uberPOOL is the intelligence that matches riders for a trip, which can introduce various uncertainties into the user experience. Core to the business objective is understanding how to deliver a ‘Perfect POOL’—an ideal situation where 3 people in the vehicle are able to get in and out at the same time and location allowing for a more predictable and affordable experience. This case study argues that, for a reduced fare and a more direct route, riders are willing to forego the convenience of getting picked up at their door in exchange for waiting and walking a set amount to meet their driver. This case study explores the integration of qualitative and quantitative research...

Evidence Outside the Frame: Interpreting Participants’ “Framing” of Information when Using Participatory Photography

TABITHA STEAGER Pacific AIDS Network This paper discusses the benefits and challenges of participatory photography as ethnographic evidence and how as researchers we can “read” the evidence our participants create. Drawing on examples from an ethnographic study examining concepts and constructions of community on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, I examine how we can interrogate photographs as data rather than factual evidence. Adages such as “the camera doesn’t lie” support the view of photography as a purveyor of truth. Photos accompanying journalistic dispatches from far-flung outposts around the world are seen as authentic evidence of real-world situations. Amateur videos of people’s life experiences are filmed on smart phones and then posted to YouTube to be taken as authentic representations of life events. Early ethnographic uses celebrated photography as the ultimate tool for showing that anthropologists had actually “been there,” displaying the exoticism of other cultures in factual black and white....