After posting the list of engineering ethics readings it occurred to me I also have a really nice collection of things to read from a course on research through design taught by Pieter Jan Stappers, which I took earlier this year. I figured some might get some use out of it and I like having it for my own reference here as well.
The backbone for this course is the chapter on research through design by Stappers and Giaccardi in the encyclopedia of human-computer interaction, which I highly recommend.
All of the readings below are referenced in that chapter. I’ve read some, quickly gutted others for meaning and the remainder is still on my to-read list. For me personally, the things on annotated portfolios and intermediate-level knowledge by Gaver and Löwgren were the most immediately useful and applicable. I’d read the Zimmerman paper earlier and although it’s pretty concrete in its prescriptions I did not really latch on to it.
- Brandt, Eva, and Thomas Binder. “Experimental design research: genealogy, intervention, argument.” International Association of Societies of Design Research, Hong Kong 10 (2007).
- Gaver, Bill, and John Bowers. “Annotated portfolios.” interactions 19.4 (2012): 40–49.
- Gaver, William. “What should we expect from research through design?.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, 2012.
- Löwgren, Jonas. “Annotated portfolios and other forms of intermediate-level knowledge.” Interactions 20.1 (2013): 30–34.
- Stappers, Pieter Jan, F. Sleeswijk Visser, and A. I. Keller. “The role of prototypes and frameworks for structuring explorations by research through design.” The Routledge Companion to Design Research (2014): 163–174.
- Stappers, Pieter Jan. “Meta-levels in Design Research.”
- Stappers, Pieter Jan. “Prototypes as central vein for knowledge development.” Prototype: Design and craft in the 21st century (2013): 85–97.
- Wensveen, Stephan, and Ben Matthews. “Prototypes and prototyping in design research.” The Routledge Companion to Design Research. Taylor & Francis (2015).
- Zimmerman, John, Jodi Forlizzi, and Shelley Evenson. “Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, 2007.
Bonus level: several items related to “muddling through”…
- Flach, John M., and Fred Voorhorst. “What matters?: Putting common sense to work.” (2016).
- Lindblom, Charles E. “Still Muddling, Not Yet Through.” Public Administration Review 39.6 (1979): 517–26.
- Lindblom, Charles E. “The science of muddling through.” Public Administration Review 19.2 (1959): 79–88.
Thought I’d post a quick update on my PhD. Since my previous post almost five months have passed. I’ve been developing my plan further, for which you’ll find an updated description below. I’ve also put together my very first conference paper, co-authored with my supervisor Gerd Kortuem. It’s a case study of the MX3D smart bridge for Designing Interactive Systems 2019. We’ll see if it gets accepted. But in any case, writing something has been hugely educational. And once I finally figured out what the hell I was doing, it was sort of fun as well. Still kind of a trip to be paid to do this kind of work. Looking ahead, I am setting goals for this year and the nearer term as well. It’s all very rough still but it will likely involve research through design as a method and maybe object oriented ontology as a theory. All of which will serve to operationalise and evaluate the usefulness of the “contestability” concept in the context of smart city infrastructure. To be continued—and I welcome all your thoughts!
Designing Smart City Infrastructure for Contestability
The use of information technology in cities increasingly subjects citizens to automated data collection, algorithmic decision making and remote control of physical space. Citizens tend to find these systems and their outcomes hard to understand and predict . Moreover, the opacity of smart urban systems precludes full citizenship and obstructs people’s ‘right to the city’ .
A commonly proposed solution is to improve citizens understanding of systems by making them more open and transparent . For example, GDPR prescribes people’s right to explanation of automated decisions they have been subjected to. For another example, the city of Amsterdam offers a publicly accessible register of urban sensors, and is committed to opening up all the data they collect.
However, it is not clear that openness and transparency in and of itself will yield the desired improvements in understanding and governing of smart city infrastructures . We would like to suggest that for a system to perceived as accountable, people must be able to contest its workings—from the data it collects, to the decisions it makes, all the way through to how those decisions are acted on in the world.
The leading research question for this PhD therefore is how to design smart city infrastructure—urban systems augmented with internet-connected sensing, processing and actuating capabilities—for contestability : the extent to which a system supports the ability of those subjected to it to oppose its workings as wrong or mistaken.
- Burrell, Jenna. “How the machine ‘thinks’: Understanding opacity in machine learning algorithms.” Big Data & Society 3.1 (2016): 2053951715622512.
- Kitchin, Rob, Paolo Cardullo, and Cesare Di Feliciantonio. “Citizenship, Justice and the Right to the Smart City.” (2018).
- Abdul, Ashraf, et al. “Trends and trajectories for explainable, accountable and intelligible systems: An hci research agenda.” Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2018.
- Ananny, Mike, and Kate Crawford. “Seeing without knowing: Limitations of the transparency ideal and its application to algorithmic accountability.” New Media & Society 20.3 (2018): 973–989.
- Hirsch, Tad, et al. “Designing contestability: Interaction design, machine learning, and mental health.” Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. ACM, 2017.