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Yeah, so I am a little behind, but I am moving I think in the right direction. I am currently doing the brainstorming session and trying to make sense of things and need a little help with frameworks that I could potentially use.

So primary claim (it may change) is that computers/robots need to have emotional intelligence to better understand context and provide appropriate responses.

As examples, I am going to use r2d2 and c3p0 from science fiction (using Jeff’s paper as framework for analysis)

And then for real examples, I am going to use Google, Siri and Cortana as examples. I was thinking about using the “A.C.T” model used in Design for Emotion:


  • Processed unconsciously and automatically (Reptilian brain)
  • Aesthetics of the product (i.e., sight, sound, smell, touch, movement, and
  • color)
  • Whether users’ find the aesthetics appealing
  •  Pleasures and passions the aesthetics provide


  • Processed unconsciously and automatically (Mammalian brain)
  • How the product interacts and behaves (i.e., ease of use)
  •  Whether the product meets up to users’ standards
  •  Benefits that come from use and the completion of tasks
  •  Feelings of intimacy and connection


  • Processed consciously—can override unconscious (Neomammalian brain)
  • Based on the attribution of personality communicated through the qualities of
  • the aesthetics and interaction
  • The product’s contributions to our self-image and identity
  •  Benefits that come from the completion of goals
  • Feelings of trust leading to commitment


I am probably not going to use the Transact part of the model. Is there any other framework we did in class that you think can be helpful?

On a positive note, I have 2500 words in block quotes!

So I just finally pieced together what I want to do and am currently pulling quotes from different papers. The basic idea comes from Don Norman’s Emotional Design.

When machines display emotions, they provide a rich and satisfying interaction with people, even though most of the richness and satisfaction, most of the interpretation and understanding, comes from within the head of the person, not from the artificial system

I basically want to argue that emotional intelligence is important for the future developments of computers and robots. I will contrast R2D2 and C3P0 with Siri and Cortana (apple and Windows phone) and show the difference in interactions of systems that are capable of emotional intelligence vs systems that only interpret commands.

For example, the other day Jeff Gadzala was showing off Cortana and was trying to get Cortana make a reference to the video game. Unfortunately, Cortana took him literally (“Cortana can you tell me about Master Chief”) and gave him a wiki answer! In this situation for example, had his phone been able to recognize the emotions (casual, joking), it would have been able to offer a joke or two!

I am probably going to dissect each example based on the readings (Sutcliff, McCarthy and Wright, Folkman, Bradzell and Bradzell) and show why emotional intelligence is important.

My question is, does this seem reasonable and narrowed down enough? Are there any seminal papers that I am missing out? Other thoughts and concerns?

The discussion we had on Tuesday reminded me this morning of a quote from Stolterman & Nelson in The Design Way:

“We are lame gods in the service of prosthetic gods.”

The word “prosthetic” was, I think, carefully chosen. According to the dictionary, a prosthesis is, “A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.” It’s an approximation, at best, of an organic limb or organ.

We closed class by establishing that Kieślowski used formalistic techniques to approximate the inarticulate felt experience of longing, and that this formalistic approximation was analogous to what we do as designers.

In the same way Kieślowski at best could only approximate that inarticulate felt experience, we can only approximate how people will react to and use our designs. Because of our education and experience we can make a pretty damn good guess, but a guess is the best we can hope for.

Technology is a means by which we can create prosthetics for our bodies and minds. We can remember things better, communicate over greater distances, and access information more readily than ever before in human history. But in the same way a prosthetic arm can’t communicate a sense of touch, our technology only can increase our abilities so much.

The best we can hope for is an approximation: there are a million to-do list mobile apps, but I still manage to forget to post on this blog; I can FaceTime with Hillary in Philadelphia, but it can never compare to sitting across a dinner table from her;  I can look up Nelson Mandela’s birthday with Wikipedia in an instance, but the same article could also describe Mr. Mandela as the spawn of Cthulhu. I think this relates heavily to several of Dennis’ posts from earlier in the semester regarding the danger/necessity of normative thinking in design practice.

We build prosthetics, supplements, substitutes, extensions…but nothing more. But my question is: Why not? Why can’t we do better than that? Is it a human shortcoming? Is our technology not “advanced” enough?

The philosophical version of that question could be this: If we could easily manipulate the very fabric of our reality, would we then be able to design the ‘perfect’ prosthesis? What do you think?

I am sort of confused about this paper so here are my thoughts

The author, creator, designer etc: I feel this is a paper written for HCI people or for people who attend ubicomp conferences. It seems like the author is trying to make a case for ubicomp and a potential use for ubicomp. He is proposing a new way of thinking about the use of ubicomp and design it-self.

The main reason I say he is proposing a new way of thinking about design itself is because he says “the design of spore 1.1 evokes political issues without resolving them.”  It isn’t really producing solutions but exposing current states. Which is similar to all the arguments we had towards why Warhol is art!

The work itself

The design of the system identifies the factors at play and establishes their relationships and possible consequences, but it leaves open the space of interpretation and contest. 

DiSalvo’s explanation on what spore 1.1 does would be my definition of critical design. Again he is strongly interested in highlighting existing relationships and leaving it open for debate. The interesting difference is in the notion of “connectedness“. Compared to Blood bag radio the designs DiSalvo talks about have a lot more working parts. The combination of several seemingly independent objects linked together creates something new and brings out something political in nature. The key emphasis the DiSalvo makes is that when the pieces come together, they form something with a completely new meaning which is more than a sum of its parts.

“As devices of articulation, the products of ubicomp join together, by design multiple elements in a manner that transforms the identity and meaning of those elements and results in a new object-an articulated collective.”

I seriously can’t see the difference between this and critical design. If we compare this to Dunne and Raby’s blood bag radio, I don’t see a lot of difference. Sure BBR has  less working parts, but when you look at the materiality of the items, the individual parts and their actual use, it is very different from the way it reads when you look at BBR holistically. For example; the bag looks like a bear. If you really think about it, a blood bag can infact look like a bear. Especially in the context of a children’s hospital. But the moment you attach the energy context to it, that the blood is from a pet, it changes the way you look at the bag. Now, it is a vision of the future. It exposes the energy crisis and potentially how far we are willing to go get energy for our radios.

From this point, things get a little blurry for me since he just seems to be interested in merging words! I will post more about this later, but does my summary make sense? Am I understanding this correctly or has this completely flown over my head?

What are your thoughts on this paper?



‘Film instances as a rhetorical devices to explore social and cultural issues with a technology.’

This is inspired from Pastiche scenarios that draws on fiction as a resource to explore the interior ‘felt life’ aspects of

User experience and complex social and cultural issues raised by technological innovations. There is a detailed and very interesting paper written by Mark A. Blythe and Peter C. Wright on the topic ‘ Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centered design’.

Pastiche scenarios as described in the paper can be generated by ‘ cutting and pasting lines of source text and then modifying the story line to allow for the introduction of the technology in question.’ For my final paper, since I am focusing on films which is rich media in terms of visuals, I have decided to use film instances (screen shot of film scenes) to explore the social and cultural issues. I am not sure if these instances can be called as pastiche scenarios.

Also, I have picked ‘Indian films’ as a case study for my capstone (final paper is derived from it) and I am choosing films based on Mumbai culture, specifically those scenes that I believe have captured the context and cultural specificity very well. (I am placing myself as a strong subject in this.)


  1. Films meant more to me than a just another source of entertainment. I feel deeply moved after watch some of the Indian films mostly due to the richness of context portrayed in it. It’s the groundedness of these films, story lines, music and actors acting in it that left a long lasting impression on me. I knew I had to do something about it in my capstone.
  1. Almost in all of my RDSC projects, I have used stories to communicate design. These story, I felt, weren’t very rich. Of course , user experience designers are not graphic artists but I thought we could still stretch our imagination to think about different ways a technology could be used/adapted by people considering different social and cultural context during ideation.
  1. Expansion of third wave HCI that stretched beyond workplace and started considering user experience holistically.

One of the quotes from ‘Critical and cultural approaches to HCI’ paper from Jeffery Bardzell –

‘Cultural HCI should have less to do with telling us about culture and more to do with helping us improve culture. It would be wrong, I argue, to see cultural approaches primarily as another research lens to tell us what is out there in the world; the social sciences are a better fit for this direction of inquiry. Cultural approaches should be used to help HCI improve our lived environment and improve ourselves.

Prior work/sub-domain of HCI

My research and audience group is hugely influenced by these two papers

  1. ‘Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centered design ‘ by Mark A. Blythe *, Peter C. Wright

In this paper, pastiche scenarios have been used to for three purposes and explained in details by three interesting case studies:

  1. Pastiche scenarios are used to explore ‘felt-life’ issues.
  2. Pastiche scenarios are particularly valuable in participatory design situations, since they engage users in the way that characters in novels might.
  3. pastiche scenarios can be used to explore social and cultural issues with imagined technology.

I am more interested in exploring the third purpose and appropriate it by using films.

  1. Design Documentaries: Inspiring Design Research Through Documentary Film by Bas Raijmakers, William W. Gaver, Jon Bishay

I liked how they started. Their approach really helped me articulate why I chose ‘films’ as a medium to understand and explore cultural and social issues.

One specific quote that resonated the most with me –

” We suggest that, for design research in HCI, film can be much more than a note-taking tool; we can use it as a means to explore, understand and present the everyday, and benefit from film’s capabilities to preserve ambiguities and paradoxes instead of resolving them into univocal conclusions.”


I am planning to make a card deck of film instances and conduct a small activity of ideating and exploring different possible technological solutions.

My intention is to help designers empathize with and consider different cultural and social issues that could shape the usage of the technology they design.

” It is possible for designers to shape how technology is used but not to determine it.” – Mark A. Blythe and Peter C. Wright in ‘ Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centered design’.

Besides these, few papers that I am planning to refer are:

  1. Critical And Cultural Approaches To HCI by Jeffery Bardzell
  2. ‘‘A great and troubling beauty’’: cognitive speculation and ubiquitous computing Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell
  3. Interaction criticism: An introduction to the practice Jeffrey Bardzell
  5. Cinema and touch
  6. Crafting User Experiences by Incorporating Dramaturgical Techniques of Storytelling
  7. A User-Centric Adaptive Story Architecture – Borrowing from Acting Theories
  8. Carroll
  9. Elliot W. Eisner, connoisseurship, criticism and the art of education

These are some of the collection I have. I am going to refer readings from Foundations, Experience design and Interaction culture paper.

If you have some advice on the paper, or suggestions, or critique, I will be happy to receive it .. 🙂

I’ve really struggled with choosing something to write about for the final paper. I tried a collection/survey approach with my prewriting as practice for the type of paper I thought I wanted to write later in the semester. The prewriting was a total botch job, and I’ve been in a holding pattern since then. Thankfully, Jeff’s diagram in class today helped me put the pieces together of something else that’s been floating around my mind for a while. This paper might be a chance to dig into it further.

I’d like to make the claim that digital learning applications, services, and technologies represent the means to begin thinking about new ways to approach education at all levels. I cite Khan Academy, Duolingo, Wikipedia, & Glerb as examples. These are also the interactions/designs I’m interested in exploring in my paper – specifically, their educational components (more obvious in Khan, Duolingo, & Glerb than Wikipedia, perhaps).

Based on my survey of these designs, I’d use the paper to propose one possible “new way” to think about education. While I’m sure my thinking will evolve once I’ve done a more careful analysis of the designs, my existing knowledge of this space suggests that I may be able to reference the same Monroe Beardsley quote Jeff shared in Foundations, and that served as early inspiration in my Capstone problem framing:

“We must be careful not to lose sight of our main purpose, which is not primarily to increase our knowledge of the arts, but to improve our thinking about them.”

I think digital learning tools may give us the means to restructure the role brick and mortar schools and universities play in education. How can we use the very different but equally valuable strengths of modern technology and physical classrooms in concert to improve education?

Some readings I’d leverage off the top of my head: Bardzell IC paper, the recent Barnard reading, perhaps ‘Cinema as Skin & Touch’, probably Carroll, and probably the Design Way.

I’m having trouble focusing my thinking, but I also only put all this together myself a few hours ago. What do you think? How can I scope down the discourse I’ll need to work through? What frameworks of analysis might you recommend to help understand the value, educational or otherwise, of a design within the scope I’ve defined here? Is this a bad idea for a paper?

Hopefully this is a bit more coherent than my last post, though my brain is a bit hazy right now. That is, I know at some point prior to now I’ve had a better conception of the topic, but I wanted to get some of it down now in order to start the process, get some feedback, and at least get some of it in order.

So generally, I want my topic to focus on the body acceptance movement – the radical notion that fat people are, well, people (That quote doesn’t work as well here) – It’s something that I’ve been introduced to through my wife, and has really opened my eyes to many forms of discrimination, and yet often seems downplayed even in feminist contexts. I also think there’s a really neat connection in what we discussed today, and that perhaps the dualistic disconnect from mind and body contributes to this stigma, and perhaps a way of thought which holizes self in both mind and body would be beneficial (or at least is crucial for design (Well, anywhere. But here where bodies are the focus, there’s no way around it)). Regardless, I want to avoid any medical issue, and approach it from social and ethical direction.

I’m not entirely sure how I want to focus the HCI-side of it however. I’d considered focusing on one of these body data fitness devices that have come up in class a few times, like the FitBit, question what values it’s promoting (and since I’m going to disagree with them, posit values that I feel it should be promoting). However, this seems like a bit of a low hanging fruit. Of course the fitness industry is going to produce devices which devalue people while promoting a social image of beauty. That’s the entire point. More importantly, I’m not personally interested in these sorts of devices, or this industry, and find the issue more important from a social or personal position.

Reference wise, I think I’m pretty well off. I have good resources for body acceptance writings from my wife, and I think tons of the readings that we’ve done across many classes apply. I’d be especially looking at the 3rd wave foundations papers (esp. Feminist HCI and Critical/Cultural Design), and many of our IC readings (perhaps Folkmann to get at the social/ethical dimension, Dunne and Raby’s ideas of design as a way of looking for alternate/possible futures, and what do you know, this accultured body idea (The Film Theory paper in general) seems pretty damn important. Shusterman and Somaesthetics will be crucial as well. Basically, I believe I have a bunch of good material (Though more would be great) – but not a solid direction/lens/example to examine through.

Not entirely sure what the question I have here is, I’ve re-written this a few times,and it’s not entirely concrete yet.

But based on something Jeff mentioned offhand – “Our field has struggled with adopting phenomenology for sometime”, I want to question either who’s doing it right, or rather what the best way to do it is?

We instinctively categorize in order to make sense of… well anything. The very phenomenological readings we’ve had have still introduced metaphors or models as a way of making sense of our felt lives. In many ways these separations are important for the author to even make their point at all. Dewey’s idea of experience is, while phenomenological, still dualist! It’s Feeling of Experience vs. “That other non-experience stuff that’s not as interesting”.

And this gets at the issue of language reinforcing this dualist way of thinking – but if you have to, say, write an academic paper, how do you construct a good phenomenological argument without a) breaking things down into disparate categories, or b) basically saying “Well, everything is holistically important, guys.”

In some ways choosing a focus or topic at all seems… against the belief. and yet building it up like this is a straw-man. Help me, I’m going in circles!

Hey guys, thought I’d share my pre-writing thus far.

My idea is to look at Tabletop Role-playing games, and the aspects of them that make them different/exciting, look at them in online situations, compare those across CSCW guidelines of collaboration, and fill in with in pieces of aesthetics and experience that we’ve been talking about. I think the main idea is to talk about failings of virtual table tops such as Roll20 (or simply using Skype), and to motivate further guidelines for these types of applications/

So, I’m pretty comfortable with the amount of evidence I’ve gathered – at least as far as gaming is concerned. The CSCW side may be a bit lacking, so if anyone has pointers there (And I’m hoping to talk to Norman Su to see if he has an idea.). But if anyone has an idea how to explore this further I’m definitely open to suggestions. Really though, I think I need to start pulling out quotes and start making connections.

Basically the motivation for this (and I’ve heard similar comments from other gamers, including Nathan) is that I’ve been in a very long gaming session with some close friends since… November 2012. It’s the longest game I’ve ever been in, and one of the most detailed worlds a DM has constructed. And yet I *still*, even as the game is wrapping up, don’t think of it as fondly as many other games, including ones that I’ve played for maybe a week. I can definitely point to a disconnect of engagement of myself and Taylor (my wife), as we’ll do other things as we play (Draw, work on homework, browse the internet, etc.) and there’s certainly an issue there, but even sessions where everyone is on point, it simply can’t match the in-person collocated experience.

And I suppose the question is what are the factors of the experience which make it so difficult to connect, and what’s the best way to create something to enable that connection better?

I feel like the Carroll reading was predominantly straightforward and easy to understand – His argument is that criticism’s main purpose is to be evaluative, and that this evaluation should be backed up (through description, classification, contextualization, elucidation, interpretation and analysis), and generally be well reasoned. As I understand it this evaluation is not simply positive or negative, but based on discovering the value within the work, based on its classification (or genre, if you will). His first chapter was providing arguments for this view, and arguing against views which counter it.

My main question comes from his response to one of these arguments, specifically where he’s arguing against criticism being seen as ‘subjective’. And, simply, I just don’t get his point here. First he seems to argue that, based on one definition of subjective, “subjective does not mean ‘not objective'”:

But in the case of convergence, it is consistent with the proposition that critical judgments are subjective (in the eighteenth century sense) that there could be bridging laws connecting the regular correlation of art objects with certain properties to uniform sensations across normal human populations (pg. 33)

Which makes sense, but then:

which laws, in turn, could be inter-subjectively verified and used as major premises in evaluative arguments

Which seems to me to be saying that “Many subjective views, if agreeing, constitutes an objective one?” While I agree to the extent that there may not be any other way to form an actual basis of criticism without some sort of common ground or reaction to artistic stimuli, isn’t this still in many ways just a special brand of subjective?

And then when he takes the “modern” interpretation of subjective, he argues against the “I like X, you like X, Neither of us is “right”‘ types of appreciations of arts:

…disagreement is what is being advanced as evidence for the incommensurability of what are said to be our broadly divergent appraisals of artworks. First, along with the evidence of a diversity of critical appraisal, there is also a perhaps even greater amount of data showing converging appraisals… Moreover is it not clear that, once we have an explanation of these convergences, we will not have logical grounds for the possibility of maintaining that some critical evaluations are objective and some not

…No? It’s not clear to me I suppose. This sounds to me like “Yes, we disagree on who we enjoy but there’s a consensus which is ‘better’, and that’s what’s important.” Which seems dismissive and perhaps elitist – and sure, Carroll is saying that critics are supposed to be curators and educators of value and meaning, showing us deeper insights into art – but to do so he’s dismissed and ignored the negative reactions in order to focus on the more dominant positive consensus.

I mean, I certainly agree that arguments back and forth over whether Mozart or Beethoven is “better” are entirely pointless and uninteresting – But if one person finds negative value in a work of Mozart where the Mozart lover does not, can’t both have perfectly fine reasons as to why? If both criticisms are based in Carroll’s layout (description, classification, contextualization, elucidation, interpretation and analysis) and yet come to a differing conclusion, what answer is there other than subjectivity?

I guess what I’m saying is that the “subjective” that Carroll puts out is almost a straw-man “subjective”. A touchy-feely “You like this, I like that, let’s get along” type thing, where it seems to me that in a very real level, two top of the line brilliant art critics could critique the same piece which they’re both intimately aware of, look at the same value or look at it through the same lens, and still come out with different readings. And still neither would be “Wrong”. It seems as though he’s divorcing the art from something personal, or asking objects to be read from only two of Folkmann’s three pieces of aesthetics.

Moreover, why the need to be objective at all? I guess it seems to me that to serve Carroll’s role as critic – one who educates and enlightens the rest of us on meanings and values within artwork, he’s distancing himself from perhaps the biggest reason we each engage in art in the first place – our personal understanding, and how that fits into our individual lives.

But then again, I haven’t read the entire book yet. (And could be way off in my understanding!)