Archive for June 6th, 2018

BioSENSE researchers will be presenting two papers at the 2018 ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) Conference next week.

A paper by Richmond Wong, Nick Merrill, and John Chuang entitled When BCIs have APIs: Design Fictions of Everyday Brain-Computer Interface Adoption uses design fiction methods to think about the potential social implications of brain-computer interfaces as they are integrated into existing technical infrastructures, and systems of work and labor. [Read a pre-print version here]

ABSTRACT: In this paper, we use design fiction to explore the social implications for adoption of brain-computer interfaces (BCI). We argue that existing speculations about BCIs are incomplete: they discuss fears about radical changes in types of control, at the expense of discussing more traditional types of power that emerge in everyday experience, particularly via labor. We present a design fiction in which a BCI technology creates a new type of menial labor, using workers’ unconscious reactions to assist algorithms in performing a sorting task. We describe how such a scenario could unfold through multiple sites of interaction: the design of an API, a programmer’s question on StackOverflow, an internal memo from a dating company, and a set of forum posts about laborers’ experience using the designed system. Through these fictions, we deepen and expand conversations around what kinds of (everyday) futures BCIs could create.

A second paper co-authored by BioSENSE researchers Nick Merrill and Richmond Wong, with collaborators James Pierce, Sarah Fox, and Carl DiSalvo, entitled An Interface without A User: An Exploratory Design Study of Online Privacy Policies and Digital Legalese investigates long textual privacy policies as a type of interface in order to probe people’s perceptions of privacy policies, and to investigate the potential for other forms of notice. [Download a pre-print version here]

ABSTRACT: Privacy policies are critical to understanding one’s rights on online platforms, yet few users read them. In this pictorial, we approach this as a systemic issue that is part a failure of interaction design. We provided a variety of people with printed packets of privacy policies, aiming to tease out this form’s capabilities and limitations as a design interface, to understand people’s perception and uses, and to critically imagine pragmatic revisions and creative alternatives to existing privacy policies.