Lecture Live Blog 03.06.08

Humans become accessories to the machine

Four problems with rationalism in HCI

  1. idealizes computing, not seen in use
  2. users become accessories t othe machine
    1. (nbearers of mental models, informaiton processing devices)
  3. Computers in use is what we care about, rather than computers in the abstract. Rationalist approaches are not always good at getting at this.
  4. If a computer system is universal and abstract, it is something. But what about emergent use (e.g. appropriation of technology for new uses).

Ontology–the theory of what is

Winograd & Flores’ book Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design bring up the notion of ontological design–that is, recognizing that we design technology and technology designs us.

Technology designs (and how they affect us) are always moving targets and, interpretation and criticism are necessary to shed light on these effects.

Ethnography is thick description often interpretive of social discourse (discourse meaning a collection of expressions (in Dilthey’s sense)). Writing ethnography is a process of writing people’s sense-making processes in ways that other (from outside the group) can understand. The notion of thick description largely comes from Clifford Geertz’s classic book Interpretation of Cultures.

Key features to take away from McCarthy & Wright, ch. 2

Unconcealment–deliberately try to expose things that are hidden, reveal hidden assumptions (e.g. design is often driven by management, which has political implications)

Imagining Futures (and the notion of bliss)–interaction design has serious implications and transforms society. computing needs to start bringing us true happiness (e.g. if we’re computers all day now, they must go beyond just being usable)

Political Considerations–social justice, sustainability

Emphasis on local meaning (rather than objective truth)–what does this mean for the intersubjective group that I’m studying?

Desire to find what will enlighten people, rather than solve a particular business problem–what would make me a more skilled professional

Concern over longterm sociocultural effects

Post your questions for the final project on the blog!
Jeff quote for today: “Watch your head–dongles everywhere!”

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