Intelligences

Caregiver/Family Agency: Rebuilding Confidence, Play, Familiarity, and Passion in a Healthcare System

ADAHEID L. MESTAD HGA AMIN MOJTAHEDI HGA During recovery and transition to the ‘new normal’, the loss of agency for patients and families of patients who go through a major health disruptor such as transplant, cancer, or cardio-vascular disease can be profound. Considering this, how can acute care hospitals help solve for caregivers’ loss of agency? And what does the physicality of such effort in the confines of a hospital building look like? The goal of this case study is to (1) demonstrate how ethnographic thinking and design research can help a medical center understand the needs, values, rituals, and agency of a patients and their families; (2) show socio-spatial solutions that can support the transition to the patient’s and family’s new normal. The ethnographic study showed that the patients and families who go through a major health disruptor struggle with the loss of agency in various ways. While loss of agency can be obtuse, four themes emerged as contributing factors to the overall sense of loss: (1) loss...

Hybrid Methodology: Combining Ethnography, Cognitive Science, and Machine Learning to Inform the Development of Context-Aware Personal Computing and Assistive Technology

MARIA CURY* ReD Associates ERYN WHITWORTH* Facebook Reality Labs*Lead co-authors The not-too-distant future may bring more ubiquitous personal computing technologies seamlessly integrated into people's lives, with the potential to augment reality and support human cognition. For such technology to be truly assistive to people, it must be context-aware. Human experience of context is complex, and so the early development of this technology benefits from a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research — what the authors call “hybrid methodology” — that combines (and challenges) the frameworks, approaches, and methods of machine learning, cognitive science, and anthropology. Hybrid methodology suggests new value ethnography can offer, but also new ways ethnographers should adapt their methodologies, deliverables, and ways of collaborating for impact in this space. This paper outlines a few of the data collection and analysis approaches emerging from hybrid methodology, and learnings about impact and team collaboration,...

Designing Queer Connection: An Ethnography of Dating App Production in Urban India

VISHNUPRIYA DAS University of Michigan India is currently at the precipice of immense social and technological change. The proliferation of smartphones and growth of the nation's app economy raise questions about how digital platforms might influence the contours of love, sex, and desire in the region in the coming decades. This paper engages with these concerns by examining what it means to design intimate connection for LGBTQ communities in non-western spaces. Drawing on fieldnotes, app walkthroughs, interviews with mid-level and upper-level professionals in the dating app space as well as audiovisual material from advertising archives, this paper provides readers with a critical analysis of the “problem” of designing queer connection in a digital world of abundant data and transient identities. Carefully examining the production practices of Delta, India's first locally produced LGBTQ dating app I argue that there is a pressing need for scholarship on industry dynamics beyond western technology centers....

My AI versus The Company AI: How Knowledge Workers Conceptualize Forms of AI Assistance in the Workplace

NANNA SANDBERG Stripe Partners TOM HOY Stripe Partners MARTIN ORTLIEB Google GSuite is changing the nature of Knowledge Work across 5 million businesses through AI-powered assistance. To ensure that this evolution reflects the aspirations and priorities of workers, Google and Stripe Partners conducted a multi-national ethnography of Knowledge Workers covering a range of industries. We identified that workers distinguish between ‘Core’ and ‘Peripheral’ work: the work they are paid to do and identify with, and the work that does not contribute to their success or happiness. Workers want assistance to enhance Core work and remove Peripheral work, nuanced across a spectrum of support. This framework and taxonomy has been adopted by teams at Google to inform strategic decisions on how AI is integrated by GSuite. New features are being implemented within Gmail, Slides, Docs and Sheets that bring these principles to life in the user experience....

Increasing Perceived Agency in Human-AI Interactions: Learnings from Piloting a Voice User Interface with Drivers on Uber

JAKE SILVA Uber Technologies This case study seeks to increase understanding of how agency is fostered in human-AI interaction by providing insight from Uber’s development of a conversational voice-user-interface (VUI) for its driver application. Additionally, it provides user researchers with insight on how to identify agency’s importance early in the product development process and communicate it effectively to product stakeholders. First, the case reviews the literature to provide a firm theoretical basis of agency. It then describes the implementation of a novel in-car Wizard-Of-Oz study and its usefulness in identifying agency as a critical mediator of driver interaction with the VUI before software-development. Afterward, three factors which impacted driver agency and product usage are discussed – conversational agency, use of the VUI in social contexts and perception of the VUI persona. Finally, the case describes strategies used to convince the engineering and product teams to prioritize features to increase agency....

Toward Donut-Centered Design: A Design Research Toolkit for the 21st Century

CHRISTOPHER A. GOLIAS Google The social and ecological challenges of the 21st century require a design research process that contributes to viable economic solutions. This paper proposes donut centered design as a hybrid of service design and ecological design that works within the donut economic model. It describes how private and public sector ethnographers can weld the best of these two processes by providing a holistic, empirical research foundation that seeks to provide distributed service innovation value to all within the limits of the planet. Donut-centered design addresses lacunae of the current innovation models by advocating multi-site assessments, multi-species ethnography, ecosocial blueprints and holistics metrics as important components of a regenerative design research practice....

Following the Invisible Road Rules In The Field: Using ANT For CTF

AMITY LATHAM Federation University Australia JOHN MCDONALD Federation University Australia KEIR REEVES Federation University Australia Australian grain growers look to technologies of farming and cropping systems to maximise their productivity. Zero tillage cropping, variable rate inputs, soil moisture probes, and precision planting are a few practices that farmers may adopt to support their farming practices. To implement cropping technologies, and to achieve the outcomes promoted by the technological innovators, farmers need an alignment of machinery, mobile connectivity, knowledge, skills, farm services support, finance and people on the farm to make it happen. This paper shifts the focus beyond binary and hierarchical notions of humans versus technology and human versus nature, to insider research into the farming practice, alliances, and neighbourly relations to specifically examine how agency makes farmers enact a precision farming technique called controlled traffic farming. Using an actor network approach this paper...

Ethnographic Agency in a Data Driven World

NADINE LEVIN Facebook This paper argues that ethnographers can gain increased agency in data-driven corporate environments by increasing their quantitative literacy: their ability to create, understand, and strategically use quantitative data to shape organizations. Drawing on the author's experience conducting strategic user research at a technology company, the paper explores how the ability to engage with quantitative data can increase ethnographers’ independence and autonomy within organizations, and can also up-level the role and value of qualitative research. The paper also explores how a deep familiarity with quantitative data can enable ethnographers to imbue quantitative data itself with new forms of agency, and can ultimately give ethnographers the tools to change institutions from within. With a greater understanding of how quantitative data is made and used, ethnographers can ensure that data is collected in representative ways, point out the limitations of existing metrics, and argue for new ways of measuring and...

The Change before Behaviour: Closing the Value-Action Gap Using a Digital Social Companion

GYORGYI GALIK Design Council & Royal College of Art This paper describes an experiment, designed and developed with the ultimate aim of fostering low-pollution and low-carbon social innovation. It offers an evidence-based practical alternative to conventional, technological approaches and narratives of smart cities aimed at sensing air pollution and mitigating the effects of climate change. In this experiment a new voice user interface is designed, developed and tested with input from participants – to explore the potential of a new, more socially minded adaptation to current AI assistant devices in the home and enhance the field of smart technology design. The experiment is developed with a group of participants to demonstrate how design research can raise novel questions and inform disciplines with an interest in behaviour change, environmental pollution and smart homes. This work demonstrates the potential for technologies to increase the degree of participation in reducing pollution in cities and facilitate the articulation...

Designing Good Jobs: Participatory Ethnography and Prototyping in Service-oriented Work Ecosystems

MARTA CUCIUREAN-ZAPAN IDEO and DePaul University VICTORIA HAMMEL IDEO Three service design projects, in hospitality, finance, and health care, highlight how to design for agency in the workplace, including the implementation of automated and data-driven tools. Inspired by Tacchi, Slater, and Hearn's work on ethnographic action research, Amartya Sen's capabilities approach, and Gibson's affordances theory, this paper examines work as an ecosystem, in which workers’ motivations, values, and ability to achieve what is important to them should be a continual input into how structures and tools are designed. In order to design for agency, teams must shape access to information in order to support workers’ autonomy. Second, project outcomes should reflect the emotions and values which create a sense of progress and purpose. Third, tools, technologies, culture, and incentives within the work ecosystem should be aligned with workers’ goals. Finally, workers must feel safe and protected from censure when they participate in co-creating...

Agency and AI in Consulting: Pathways to Prioritize Agency-Enhancing Automations

CENGIZ CEMALOGLU ReD Associates JASMINE CHIA Oxford University JOSHUA TAM IBM Amidst the advances of AI and automation, this paper provides a framework for ethnographic methods and insights to enhance human agency at work. Through analyzing data collected from ethnographic immersions in three different consulting firms (a professional services firm, a management consultancy, and a boutique insights agency), human-agent decisions are isolated in case studies and the pathways of unlocking the potential of automation to enhance the agency of individuals rather than constraining it are highlighted. Through drawing a distinction between thinking agency and executional agency present in the work of a consultant, this paper argues that automations that preserve thinking agency while maximizing productivity and accuracy are the solutions that should be adopted. Through vetting workflows sourced from ethnographic immersions with the established criteria, a framework for consultancies – and more broadly businesses – to better...

Agency and Innovation

EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island Moderator: DAWN NAFUS, Senior Researcher, Intel Labs Panelists: MELISSA CEFKIN, Principal Researcher, Alliance Innovation Lab Silicon Valley MICHAEL LITTMAN, Professor of Computer Science & Co-Director of the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative, Brown University CLAPPERTON CHAKANETSA MAVHUNGA, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, MIT HELI RANTAVUO, Senior Insights Manager, Growth Opportunities Mission, Markets Business Unit, Spotify Robotics, machine learning, and other technologies are provoking new hopes and fears about human agency. Tropes of the charismatic lone innovator, whether hero or villain, are also starting to lose popular currency. When we acknowledge that the agents of the built world are not just people who call themselves “innovators” but are made up of many kinds of people, and physical materials, new questions arise. How do issues of responsibility, accountability, attribution, and even regulation get solved in situations of distributed...

More Than A Robot: Designing for the Unique Advantages of Sending Humans to Mars

PAIGE PRITCHARD Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus), PhD NICK MURPHY Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) SHILPA SARODE Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) LOUI VONGPRACHANG Carnegie Mellon University (alumnus) NASA plans to send humans to Mars as early as the 2030s. Such a complex and expensive undertaking is justified by the fact that only humans have the unique set of abilities inherent to scientific exploration. A team of four graduate students from Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Human-Computer Interaction program took a user-centered design approach to identify breakdowns in current processes used in the practice and execution of extraplanetary exploration. Through a combination of secondary research, co-design, body storming, and ethnographic research including interviews and field studies, they found that current operational procedures constrain the human abilities of physical agility, adaptability, and perceptiveness. This effectively ignored the advantage of human agency over robotics. They used this insight to...

Representation & Representative-ness

EPIC2019 Panel, Providence, Rhode Island Moderator: DONNA LANCLOS, Anodyne Anthropology LLC Panelists: AUTUMN SANDERS FOSTER, Founder, Quire Consulting AMBER HAMPTON GREENE, Experience Research & Service Design, Cityblock Health JORDAN KRAEMER, Research Associate, Implosion Labs, LLC RUCHIKA MUCHHALA, Consultant/Filmmaker, Third Kulture Media Ethnographers take pride in representing people’s voices with fidelity, empathy, and deep contextual understanding. But our work can end up reinforcing a distinction between people who “have experience” that we study for insights and people who “have expertise” to use, shape, and monetize that experience. We’ll tackle a range of core questions: As organizations increasingly value representations of “user” or “customer” experience, what responsibilities come with this role? To what extent are we confronting the ways that the anthropologist on the project gets used to distancing people from their own expertise about their everyday lives? When we present...

Supporting Real-Time Contextual Inquiry through Sensor Data

KATERINA GORKOVENKO University of Edinburgh DAN BURNETT Lancaster University DAVE MURRAY-RUST University of Edinburgh JAMES THORP Lancaster University DANIEL RICHARDS Lancaster University A key challenge in carrying out product design research is obtaining rich contextual information about use in the wild. We present a method that algorithmically mediates between participants, researchers, and objects in order to enable real-time collaborative sensemaking. It facilitates contextual inquiry, revealing behaviours and motivations that frame product use in the wild. In particular, we are interested in developing a practice of use driven design, where products become research tools that generate design insights grounded in user experiences. The value of this method was explored through the deployment of a collection of Bluetooth speakers that capture and stream live data to remote but co-present researchers about their movement and operation. Researchers monitored a visualisation of the real-time data to build up a picture...