Phoebe Sengers's research while affiliated with Cornell University and other places

Publications (111)

Conference Paper
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Recent work in HCI has shed light on structural issues of inequality in computing. Building on this work, this study analyzes the relatively understudied phenomenon of caste in computing. Contrary to common rhetorics of ‘castelessness,’ we show how computing worlds in India and Indian diasporic communities continue to be shaped and inflected by cas...
Article
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How are data science systems made to work? It may seem that whether a system works is a function of its technical design, but it is also accomplished through ongoing forms of discretionary work by many actors. Based on six months of ethnographic fieldwork with a corporate data science team, we describe how actors involved in a corporate project neg...
Conference Paper
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This paper introduces “infrastructural speculations,” an orientation toward speculative design that considers the complex and long-lived relationships of technologies with broader systems, beyond moments of immediate invention and design. As modes of speculation are increasingly used to interrogate questions of broad societal concern, it is pertine...
Conference Paper
This day-long workshop aims to support and grow the community of CSCW and HCI scholars that investigate the past to inform the design, critique and conceptualization of technology. At this workshop, we will learn from examples of historically-based CSCW and HCI work, explore issues in historical method that come up in such work, share methods and t...
Article
At the same time that workers' rights are generally declining in the United States (US), workplace computing systems gather more data about workers and their activities than ever before. The rise of large scale labor analytics raises questions about how and whether workers could use such data to advocate for their own goals. Here, we analyze the hi...
Conference Paper
To gain historical perspective on the role of technical expertise in the labor movement, we explore the data-driven practices of mid-century American labor unionists who appropriated techniques from scientific management to advocate for workers. Analyzing the data artifacts and academic writings of the Management Engineering department of the Inter...
Chapter
A deep shift in Western culture has occurred in the last 200 years. We have moved from lifestyles in which work, play, and other forms of experience are inextricably intertwined, to one in which most people separate their work life from a private (and often less societally valued) life of fun and play. Engineering has played a central role in this...
Conference Paper
The act of designing technologies does not simply create functionality; it also offers possibilities for action, ways of looking at the world, and modes through which we can relate to one another. How we design technologies reflects what we value; who we think is important, and in what ways; which places, people and possibilities are in our imagina...
Conference Paper
This paper integrates theory, ethnography, and collaborative artwork to explore improvisational activity as both topic and tool of multidisciplinary HCI inquiry. Building on theories of improvisation drawn from art, music, HCI and social science, and two ethnographic studies based on interviews, participant observation and collaborative art practic...
Conference Paper
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This paper examines the opportunities and issues that arise in designing technologies to support low-income rural women in Bangladesh. Through a qualitative, empirical study with 90 participants, we reveal systemic everyday challenges that women face that form the backdrop against which technology design could potentially happen. We discuss how tec...
Conference Paper
Since Dourish's critique of 'implications for design' [15], researchers have asked how design and ethnography should or could relate in HCI. Here we reflect on two experiences with cross-informing ongoing ethnographic investigation with the early stages of research through design. One uses speculative design to reflect on and inform ethnographic fi...
Conference Paper
The goal of this workshop is to facilitate a discussion around the ways in which research and design methods can be better tailored to support and engage underserved communities. We aim to create a publicly accessible repository of tools to support research and design efforts with underserved communities and to facilitate critical conversations abo...
Chapter
Home environments are complex, family life is highly dynamic, and technology use is deeply embedded in the dynamic complexity of everyday practices and relationships. These facts present serious challenges to designing and evaluating technologies for the home: understanding the nuances of family life to inform design may be hard, determining family...
Article
div class="page" title="Page 1"> Critically oriented researchers within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) have fruitfully intersected design and critical analysis to engage users and designers in reflection on underlying values, assumptions and dominant practices in technology. To successfully integrate this work within the HCI community, criticall...
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The term 'critical design' is on the upswing in HCI. We analyze how discourses around 'critical design' are diverging in Design and HCI. We argue that this divergence undermines HCI's ability to learn from and appropriate the design approaches signaled by this term. Instead, we articulate two ways to broaden and deepen connections between Design an...
Article
The field of CSCW is increasingly drawing on theories and approaches from feminist philosophy of science. To date such efforts have focused on understanding users and their practices. We present a research prototype showing that feminist theories can lead to novel design solutions. Freaky is a mobile, interactive system that collaborates with its u...
Article
Social practice art may suggest new understandings of and strategies for participation in HCI—but not in a straightforward way. Based on participant-observation at a major arts festival, we describe how a set of artists, concerned with environmental issues and community engagement, frame and enact participation, and describe how the nature of this...
Article
Sustainable HCI grapples with how to use technology design to make social change. This is made difficult by recurring dilemmas about how to truly make change, like how to increase the scale and duration of design impact. In this essay, we reflect on our own journey to better understand design for social change by taking inspiration from two groups...
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This paper explores the possibility of using statistical classification of physiological signals into emotion categories as a resource for open-ended human interpretation of emotion. Typically, design studies for affect assume either that it is possible for computers to objectively identify users' emotions, or that emotion is completely subjective...
Article
The aim of this one-day workshop is to share existing research and practice, and to develop new strategies and tools, for teaching values and design in HCI. Through collaborative group discussions and exercises, participants will critique and create approaches for making personal, social, and technical values a pedagogical focus in both traditional...
Article
The September 2013 Special Issue of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction addresses the problem by providing a set of works which approach sustainability by shifting the primary unit of analysis from individual action to everyday practice. A key reference point is Reckwitz's framing of practices as consisting of relationships between vario...
Conference Paper
Motivated by a need in sustainable HCI for studies of everyday practices, and a belief that a holistic view on sustainability is crucial to deeper understanding of how to design ICT to support sustainability, we here present a qualitative study of 11 simple living families in the US. Simple living refers to a lifestyle which is voluntarily simple o...
Article
Autobiographical design occurs when people build a system use it themselves, use this experience to learn about the design space, and evaluate and iterate the design based on their own experiences. Autobiographical design allowed researchers to rapidly start using and learning about their designs because they could sideline some usability or finish...
Article
Designing a system with yourself as a target user and evaluating the design through your own self-usage is commonly considered a questionable approach in HCI research. Perhaps for this reason, HCI research including extensive self-usage of a design is underdocumented. Yet such self-usage does happen and many researchers have found great value in th...
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The panel will capture some of the breadth and depth of the current CHI discourse on Social Sustainability, and discuss a forward-looking research agenda.
Article
In the past two decades, as technology has moved from the workplace to nearly all aspects of our everyday lives, HCI has also increased the breadth and depth of its research agenda. The breadth increase can be seen in the increasingly broad understanding of stakeholders and long-term socio-cultural-environmental consequences of interactive technolo...
Article
In this paper we provide a critical analysis of persuasive sustainability research from 2009-2011. Drawing on critical sociological theory of modernism, we argue that persuasion is based on a limited framing of sustainability, human behavior, and their interrelationship. This makes supporting sustainability easier, but leads to characteristic patte...
Conference Paper
Users in the developing world continue to appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs) in pioneering ways resulting in innovations such as M-Pesa, the popular mobile money transfer system developed in Kenya. M-Pesa's success demonstrates the emergence of user-centered innovative applications in resource-constrained settings. The go...
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Epistemological issues have long been debated by feminist philosophers aiming to answer the question, "what difference does it make to take gendered points of view seriously in the construction of knowledge?" Coming out of this history, a strand of work in feminist science studies has argued for the necessity of “successor science:” new forms of s...
Conference Paper
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This is a critical design paper offering a possible scenario of use intended to provoke reflection about values and politics of design in persuasive computing. We describe the design of a system - Fit4Life - that encourages individuals to address the larger goal of reducing obesity in society by promoting individual healthy behaviors. Using the Per...
Conference Paper
This paper examines the relationship between experiences of busyness in everyday life and the use of productivity tools, including planners, calendars and to-do lists. Field study findings demonstrate that American individuals across a demographic range have internalized a cultural emphasis of busyness as a moral value to construct positive identit...
Article
"Social Mediator" is a new interactions forum exploring the ways that HCI research and principles interact --- or might interact --- with practices in the social media world. Joe McCarthy, Editor
Conference Paper
Within the CHI community we have witnessed a broadening of concerns to include various everyday contexts such as the domestic, rural and urban, as well as diverse, underrepresented, and marginalized communities. Such everyday contexts have also emerged as key areas of focus for sustainable HCI. Not only is everyday life a critical area in which mat...
Conference Paper
With the recent growth in sustainable HCI, now is a good time to map out the approaches being taken and the intellectual commitments that underlie the area, to allow for community discussion about where the field should go. Here, we provide an empirical analysis of how sustainable HCI is defining itself as a research field. Based on a corpus of pub...
Article
A map of the current landscape of sustainable HCI that differentiates and organizes the approaches that have emerged in the field and describes emerging topics of dissension are discussed. A dominant genre in sustainable HCI is persuasive technology: systems that attempt to convince users to behave in a more sustainable way. The forms of these syst...
Conference Paper
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Many contemporary approaches to environmental sustainability focus on the end-consumer. In this panel, we explore lessons from small food producers for future development of HCI as an agency of sustainable ways of being. We argue that attention to the relationship small producers have to the environment and their experiences of interrelations betwe...
Conference Paper
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Within the past few years, the field of HCI has increasingly addressed the issue of environmental sustainability, primarily identifying the challenges and developing an agenda for designing for sustainability. Yet, the most difficult task remains, how do we develop realistic solutions when the digital ethos is based upon short-lived computing produ...
Conference Paper
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Sustainable HCI is now a recognized area of human-computer interaction drawing from a variety of disciplinary approaches, including the arts. How might HCI researchers working on sustainability productively understand the discourses and practices of ecologically engaged art as a means of enriching their own activities? We argue that an understandin...
Article
A variety of approaches have emerged in HCI that grapple with the ineffable, ill-defined, and idiosyncratic nature of aesthetic experience. The most straightforward approach is to transform the ineffable aspects of these experiences into precise representations, producing systems that are well-defined and testable but may miss the fullness of the e...
Conference Paper
In many ways, the central problem of ubiquitous computing -- how computational systems can make sense of and respond sensibly to a complex, dynamic environment laden with human meaning -- is identical to that of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Indeed, some of the central challenges that ubicomp currently faces in moving from prototypes that work in r...
Conference Paper
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Although in-car GPS navigation technology is proliferating, it is not well understood how its use alters the ways people interpret their environment and navigate through it. We argue that GPS-based car navigation might disengage peo- ple from their surrounding environment, but also has the potential to open up novel ways to engage with it. We pre-...
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In computing design, experience is often broken down, compartmentalized, and engineered: a process that often disenchants the original experience. In this paper, we demonstrate the possibility to design for experience, not by formalizing and rationalizing it, but instead by supporting open-ended engagement and appropriation. We illustrate this appr...
Conference Paper
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In this panel we explore: (1) the burgeoning discourse on sustainability concerns within HCI, (2) the material and behavioral challenges of sustainability in relation to interaction design, (3) the benefits and risks involved in labeling a project or product as environmentally sustainable, and (4) implications of taking on (or ignoring) sustainabil...
Conference Paper
The interplay between arts and HCI has become increasingly commonplace in the past years, offering new opportunities for approaching interaction, but also raising challenges in integrating methods and insights from across a great disciplinary divide. In this paper, we examine the ways Situationist art practice has been used as an inspiration for HC...
Conference Paper
Affective computing systems face challenges in relating objective measures with subjective human experiences. Many systems have either focused on objective measures as a substitute for subjective experience (e.g. skin conductance as a direct representation of arousal) or have abandoned objective measures to focus purely on subjective experience. In...
Article
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The 8th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing focused on new middleware, software engineering approaches, widescale interdomain deployment, techniques and benchmarking for evaluation of ubicomp systems. The conference featured two paper sessions and three panel discussions to discuss the possibility of common set of ubicomp abstractions...
Conference Paper
The use of embodied agents, defined as visual human-like representations accompanying a computer interface, is becoming prevalent in applications ranging from educational software to advertisements. In the current work, we assimilate previous empirical ...
Conference Paper
In this study, we explore the potential usefulness of disturbing, uncomfortable systems, demonstrating that provocative technology can have a positive effect on social relationships. We designed and evaluated an agent-based system that collects user information by asking seemingly benign questions, and then uses it to spread false, strange gossip t...
Conference Paper
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Domestic ubiquitous computing systems often rely on inferences about activities in the home, but the open-ended, dynamic and heterogeneous nature of the home poses serious problems for such systems. In this paper, we propose that by shifting the responsibility for interpretation from the system to the user, we can build systems that interact with p...
Conference Paper
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We trace how cultural probes have been adopted and adapted by the HCI community. The flexibility of probes has been central to their uptake, resulting in a proliferation of divergent uses and derivatives. The varying patterns of adaptation of the probes reveal important underlying issues in HCI, suggesting underacknowledged disagreements about vali...
Conference Paper
Design and evaluation in mainstream HCI have often relied on scientific measurements of efficiency and error. Although usability and usefulness are still primary concerns for HCI, researchers and designers in the field are attempting to move beyond, investigating a variety of approaches such as user experience, aesthetic interaction, ambiguity, slo...
Conference Paper
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By its nature, the discipline of human computer interaction must take into consideration the issues that are most pertinent to humans. We believe that the CHI community faces an unanswered challenge in the creation of interactive systems: sustainability. For example, climate scientists argue that the most serious consequences of climate change can...
Article
How we design and evaluate for emotions depends crucially on what we take emotions to be. In affective computing, affect is often taken to be another kind of information - discrete units or states internal to an individual that can be transmitted in a loss-free manner from people to computational systems and back. While affective computing explicit...
Conference Paper
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Informal histories of HCI commonly document two major intellectual waves that have formed the field: the first orienting from engineering/human factors with its focus on optimizing man-machine fit, and the second stemming from cognitive science, with an increased emphasis on theory and on what is happening not only in the computer but, simultaneous...
Article
The interplay between arts and HCI has become increasingly commonplace in the past years. In this paper, we examine Situationist art practice as an inspiration for HCI design. We argue that methods from Situationist art practice have often been picked up without regard for their underlying sensibility. We describe an experiment in incorporating Sit...
Conference Paper
Ubicomp developers are increasingly borrowing from other disciplines, such as anthropology and creative design, to inform their design process. In this paper, we demonstrate that the discipline of history similarly has much to offer ubicomp research. Specifically, we describe a historically-grounded approach to designing ubicomp systems and applica...
Conference Paper
Reflective HCI is a style of HCI research that integrates technical practice with ongoing critical reflection. In the last thirty years, HCI researchers and practitioners have expanded their interests from aspects of cognitive ergonomics concerned with individuals using desktop computers at work to include concern for social and communal aspects of...
Conference Paper
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) often focuses on how designers can develop systems that convey a single, specific, clear interpretation of what they are for and how they should be used and experienced. New domains such as domestic and public environments, new influences from the arts and humanities, and new techniques in HCI itself are converging...
Article
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This article argues that because the home is so familiar, it is necessary to make it strange, or defamiliarize it, in order to open its design space. Critical approaches to technology design are of both practical and social importance in the home. Home appliances are loaded with cultural associations such as the gendered division of domestic labor...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While affective computing explicitly challenges the primacy of rationality in cognitivist accounts of human activity, at a deeper level it relies on and reproduces the same information-processing model of cognition. In affective computing, affect is often seen as another kind of information - discrete units or states internal to an individual that...
Article
Full-text available
This article argues that because the home is so familiar, it is necessary to make it strange, or defamiliarize it, in order to open its design space. Critical approaches to technology design are of both practical and social importance in the home. Home appliances are loaded with cultural associations such as the gendered division of domestic labor...
Article
The space of technology design is being shaped by a drive for creating more authentic, rich experiences, taking into account the complex meaning-making activities we engage in every day. One approach toward enhancing technology design for experience is to identify aspects missing from existing computer models, such as emotion, creativity, spiritual...
Conference Paper
As computing moves into every aspect of our daily lives, the values and assumptions that underlie our technical practices may unwittingly be propagated throughout our culture. Drawing on existing critical approaches in computing, we argue that reflection on unconscious values embedded in computing and the practices that it supports can and should b...
Article
Current designs for the home of the future often unconsciously repeat themes from the history of domestic technology. Historical awareness enables us to consciously choose which of these themes bear repeating, and which we want to resist in our designs. I will describe some of the themes that recur in technology for the kitchen in the US, and prese...
Conference Paper
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HCI evaluation methods are useful for improving the design of interactive systems, yet they may be rejected by nontraditional technology disciplines such as media art. We have developed a two-tiered evaluation model that responds to the concerns of interactive artists and have used it to improve the design of an interactive artwork, the Influencing...
Conference Paper
A potential convergence is arising between HCI and the interactive arts. The goal of this SIG is to develop a conversation on the potential role of the arts in the HCI community, based on the soon-to-be released US National Academies National Computer Science and Telecommunications Board's report on Information Technology (IT) and creative practice...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As digital technologies proliferate in the home, the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) community has turned its attention from the workplace and productivity tools towards domestic design environments and non-utilitarian activities. In the workplace, applications tend to focus on productivity and efficiency and involve relatively well-understood req...
Conference Paper
HCI evaluation methods are useful for improving the design of interactive systems, yet they may be rejected by nontraditional technology disciplines such as media art. We have developed a two-tiered evaluation model that responds to the concerns of interactive artists and have used it to improve the design of an interactive artwork, the Influencing...
Conference Paper
A potential convergence is arising between HCI and the interactive arts. The goal of this SIG is to develop a conversation on the potential role of the arts in the HCI community, based on the soon-to-be released US National Academies National Computer Science and Telecommunications Board's report on Information Technology (IT) and creative practice...
Article
Artificial-agent technology has become commonplace in technical research from computer graphics to interface design and in popular culture through the Web and computer games. On the one hand, the population of the Web and our PCs with characters who reflect us can be seen as a humanization of a previously purely mechanical interface. On the other h...
Conference Paper
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Affective computation generally focuses on the informatics of affect: structuring, formalizing, and representing emotion as informational units. We propose instead an enigmatics of affect, a critical technical practice that respects the rich and undefinable complexities of human affective experience. Our interactive installation, the Influencing Ma...
Article
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Traces is an artwork for the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) that uses a novel machine vision system to enable unencumbered full body interaction with a range of semi-autonomous agents without the imposition of any sort of textual, iconic or encoded gestural interfaces and without physically restrictive wiring, pointing devices, or headge...
Article
this paper, he looks at the use of space in human narratives. This detailed look at human Narrative Intelligence provides an important anchor in narrative theory for the Symposium.