torsdag 3 maj 2018

The Futures of Computing and Wisdom (workshop)

I recently submitted a workshop proposal to the upcoming NordiCHI conference, "The Futures of Computing and Wisdom", together with Elina Eriksson, Rob Comber, Ben Kirman and Oliver Bates (besides the article I submitted to NordiCHI two weeks earlier). Me and Elina have organised workshops at at the previous two NordiCHI conferences (2014 in Helsinki and 2016 in Gothenburg). This workshop is however not a workshop about sustainability, but rather a workshop about Design Fiction (and Futures Studies). As such, it niftily connects to the NordiCHI Future Scenarios track. From our application:

This workshop is also designed to complement the Future Scenarios track at NordiCHI (and shares an organiser). That unique track already brings speculation and design fiction to the NordiCHI conference, and this workshop will complement the track by providing a full day for exploring design fiction in shorter formats (abstracts rather than scenarios) and applying this process collaboratively on the focused topic of wisdom.

The background to the workshop theme and the thing that set Elina and me in motion is a call for an upcoming special issue on "Wise Futures" in the journal "Futures". If the conversations at the workshop are riveting enough, we will most probably aim for writing a "structured report on conversations" for that special issue.

The turn-around time is impressively short, the workshop submission deadline was May 2 and we will know already on May 14 if we will get the opportunity to organise this workshop. If we do get that opportunity, we then need to have a workshop webpage up and running already on May 28.

Below is the workshop abstract - which should not be confused with the (coming) call for participation. The abstract is rather a summary of the longer workshop description (proposal) and it will primarily be used in the process of selecting a good mix of workshops that will be held at the conference. The NordiCHI workshops will be held on September 29 and 30 and the main conference will then be held between October 1-3.

The Futures of Computing and Wisdom

Daniel Pargman, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden 
Elina Eriksson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden 
Rob Comber, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden 
Ben Kirman, University of York, UK
Oliver Bates, Lancaster University, UK

This workshop invites participants to a dialogue on the futures of computing and wisdom. Wisdom relates to the dominant paradigms of knowledge, and elucidates what might be considered responsible and wise, and why. Through collaborative imagining, we will draw attention to the consequences of the technologies we invent and study in HCI, including non-technical dimensions (societal, ethical, normative). Deploying methods from Design Fiction we will project and reflect on the future of wise computing for 2068. Extending from the near-future projects of Design Fiction, we will deploy fictional abstracts to examine how computing, through HCI, AI, IoT, and related studies on Big Data and Smart Technologies, will create, question, and reinforce ways of knowing, doing and living.

The workshop aims to develop a cohort of perspectives on the futures of computing and/for wisdom and to critically reflect on the assumptions, methods, and tools for enabling (and disabling) such futures.

To apply to the workshop, attendees will submit a fictional abstract - an abstract from a research paper yet to be written. We will then share these fictive abstracts, and, through peer reflection, unpick critical tensions in the advancement of computing over the next decades. By focusing on an end goal (“wisdom”) instead of on particular technologies in the present (machine learning, IoT etc.), we open up for discussions of what future(s) we want computing to support, what needs to happen for us to “end up” in certain futures rather than others, and what needs to be done in the present and in the near future to maximize the potential for our work to contribute to the creation of desirable rather than undesirable futures.

Keywords: wisdom, design fiction, fictional abstracts, ethics, sustainability, politics, justice, social action, social change

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