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

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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 of agency in complex environmental matters.

The work has value for designers, ethnographers and researchers working in design for behaviour change and participatory design, as well as practitioners and organisations who are interested in enabling low-pollution lifestyles, developing smart homes and/or emerging AI technologies.

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