söndag 15 oktober 2017

Future of Media 2017 line-up (course)

The first part of the project course I'm teaching, DM2571 "Future of Media", came to an end this past week and we are now moving from the start-up phase (with lots of guest lectures) to the project phase. We change the theme in the course every year and this year's theme - the 15th - is "The Future of Work/Work of the Future". Last year's theme was "The Future of Computer Games/Computer Games of the Future". I wrote a blog post about the course when it started seven weeks ago.

Since the theme is changed every year, it's basically a brand new course every year. More specifically, there are only a few changes in the format - but all the content is replaced. That means there's a lot of work to do every year.

This year is special for a specific reason - this is the very last year the course will be given. We started up a new master's program in "interactive media technologies" last year and this course isn't part of that program. There have usually been 50-70 students taking this course, but this year the brunt of the (only) 23 course participants instead study our "media management" master's program. With much fewer participants than ever before (with the exception of the very first time the course was given back in 2003), the course has had to change and it is much more "intimate" this time around. It's easy for everyone who takes the course to get to know each other and it also becomes hard for students to "hide" in the crowd.

The first part (half) of the course has now come to an end and it's a relief for me. Particularly because I had to teach the course by myself this year instead of having an assistant teacher to help me out (e.g. Malin Picha during the last three years). While there is still much work left to do, the rest of the course will demand less from me time-wise and that's really good as my next course on Sustainability and Media Technology will start two weeks from now.

Anyway, here are the 16 great guest lectures we have had pass our course by since the beginning of September!

-------------------- Lectures --------------------

1. D. Pargman, Associate professor in Media Technology, Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, "Theory and method of Design Fiction – what this course is really about".

Talk: We are doing "Design Fiction" in this course. Design fiction is the use of narrative elements and scenarios to envision, explain and raise questions about possible futures. I will discuss the term and the practice of envisioning the future through narrative scenarios (i.e. envisioning the future through convincing and compelling stories).


2. D. Pargman, Associate professor in Media Technology, KTH. "Technology gone bad".

Talk: Digital technologies can do wonderful things. But sometimes they are implemented in ways that instead makes things go haywire [e.g. break down]. We will discuss the potentially negative effects new technologies that are mis-utilized. The lecture will a 20-year old case study as a point of departure (see below)


3. J. Andersson Schwarts, senior lecturer, Södertörn University, "Platform Logic: Digital intermediaries as infrastructural arrangements for work and play".

Talk: We are now living in what could be called a "platform society," where numerous sectors of the economy and areas of everyday life are dominated by so-called digital platforms; carefully designed, proprietary services that mediate human action. I will discuss some of the technocultural and economic implications of this, especially noting what the consequences seem to be for human labor in particular.


4. G. Karlsson, professor; head of the Department of Network and Systems Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering, KTH, "On digitalization and work"

Talk: It is clear that many tasks and much work can be automated, even to the degree that many professions are becoming obsolete. There is a debate on whether new jobs will be created to compensate for jobs lost, or whether there will have technology-induced unemployment. The outcome might not be predestined and continuous life-long education and training is often suggested as a possible remedy for avoiding unemployment. However,  total unemployment might be what humankind always wanted, given that our needs will be provided for. This lecture will propose a number issues to be discussed, but no definite answers will be given!


5. H. Artman, Professor in Human-Computer Interaction, Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, "Acquiring usable systems"

Talk: Usability and user experience are key concepts within Human-Computer Interaction. But how is it possible to lead, organize, build and evaluate future systems designs? This lecture will present my experiences as an usability consultant and as a team leader with responsibility for usability at a Software consultancy firm. My experiences later led to a research program about how to procure usability and the role of the organization that acquires computer systems in systems development process.


6. C. Sanne: Associate professor emeritus (KTH), "The spurious need to work"

Talk: The increasing labour productivity – ever since the Industrial Revolution – means growing output and rising living standard but also growing resource exploitation. Technological advances threaten the ecological balance and requires a rethinking of the work/life balance.


7. J. Gulliksen, professor in human computer interaction and dean of the school of computer science and communication, KTH Royal Institute of technology. Jan Gulliksen has been the chairman of the Swedish Digitalization Commission since 2012, "Digitalization, digital transformation and the future of Work"

Talk: How are we influenced by the digital transformation that is happening, and how does it affect work? Will we still have the same view of work in the future society? How will different institutions have to change due to digitalization in order to meet the future challenges?


8. D. Berg, Dept of economic history, Stockholm University, "Limits to Work".

Talk: This lecture is an elaboration on the future of work as seen from two distinctly differing positions. The economic thesis of under consumption is presented in its take on the present day precarious labor market and constant threat of recessions. The basic tenets of ecological economics is thereafter laid out with its contradicting view of an economy of constant over consumption. Between these two perspectives we some how have to imagine the future of work as also a narrative of specific limits to work.


9. P. Fuehrer, Associate professor in Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, "Work-life balance in a sustainable future. Four scenarios of how work could be organized in a de-growth context"

Talk: How can we envision the work-life balance in a sustainable society, taking into consideration individual, social as well as ecological needs and limits? I am going to present and discuss four distinct scenarios outlining the future of work and its position in everyday life. The talk is based on an ongoing research project (at KTH and also at Södertörn university) called "Beyond growth, scenarios for sustainable planning” ("Bortom tillväxt, scenarier för ett hållbart samhällsbyggande").


10. L. Ingelstam, PhD mathematics (KTH), professor emeritus Technology and Social Change (Linköping), "The post-industrial society and the forgotten role of services".

Talk: As a a proportion of (paid) labor, industrial work (physical production) has declined steadily from around 1965. Services have increased, but have a different rate of productivity, which creates a dilemma. In order to understand how quality of life and the welfare state develop over time one must take this into account. Work outside the market and ”self-service” play crucial roles.


11. C. Garbis, PhD, Principal UX manager at Amazon.com, "Hiring top talents at Amazon.com"

Talk: Amazon competes with the other four tech giants (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook) in their attempts to hire global top talents. While mainly working with usability/UX, Christer is also deeply involved in Amazon's hiring processes and have made the ultimate decision in several hundreds of cases. Christer will describe how Amazon thinks, what Amazon looks for, how Amazon works with recruiting and why they put so much effort into that process.


12. P. Johansson, PhD in Human Ecology, BA in History of Science and Ideas, "Job, employment, work, occupation - what are we doing, really?"

Talk: Is it actually possible to be 'out of work'? Usually we take concepts like work and jobs for granted. We think we know what they mean, but the question is if we have reflected deeply enough. When someone says: robots are taking our jobs, or: immigrants are taking our jobs - what does that mean in reality? Which human or other values are expressed in the concept of 'job'? Is it really jobs we live for?


13. C. Gradin Franzén, Licensed psychologist, Co-founder of the Hoffice network, "Co-navigating the space between Awesome and Awful - A psychological response to complexity and an uncertain future".

Talk: Increasing complexity, change unfolding simultaneously in different directions and oh yes a lot of uncertainty about the future. What does that mean for us from a psychological perspective, how can we respond adaptively and what does this mean for the future of work.


14. Å. Walldius, Associate professor (Docent) in Human Computer Interaction, Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, "Digital media, The Rewarding Work Organization and the UsersAward"

Talk: The goal of the Digital Agenda of Sweden is that we shall become the most successful nation to apply the possibilities of digitalization. I will sum up some recent surveys that point out successes and problems from the users’ point of view. And I will conclude with some challenging questions and propositions regarding how we from Media Tech and Human Computer Interaction can make a difference.


15. A. Felländer. Digitalization economist. Affiliated with KTH (focus on AI) and SSE (focus on Fintech), senior advisor Boston Consulting Group, advisor to the minster of digitalization, "Diginomics - transformations at accelerating speed".

Talk: New business models and value chains due to digitalisation are rapedely changing the need for new skills, talents and labour market structures.


16. S. Silberman, Crowdsourcing Project, IG Metall, Germany, "Digital labor platforms and 'the future of work'"

Talk: There is both great excitement and great anxiety among European and US policy makers and trade unionists about digitalization and 'the future of work'. One part of 'digitalization' is the emergence of digital labor platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork, Uber, and 99designs. These platforms match customers and workers in a huge diversity of sectors, including 'blue collar work' such as cleaning, taxi driving, and food delivery; low-status 'white collar work' such as data entry and data processing; highly paid and qualified work such as design, management, legal work, accounting, engineering, and programming; and work such as sex work whose legality, pay, and social status differs dramatically across jurisdictions. These platforms offer opportunities as well as risks for workers, customers, 'traditional' companies in the affected sectors, and other labor market actors such as trade unions and the cooperative sector. They also raise deep questions about the purpose and structure of our political-economic systems; new and controversial answers to these questions are behind initiatives such as the 'basic income' and 'degrowth' movements. In this informal talk we will explore together the practical realities of digital labor platforms; existing initiatives to improve working conditions in these platforms; and, time permitting, some broader political-economic questions.

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