AAAI 2018 – Accepted Spring Symposia Papers

Two papers were accepted to the AAAI 2018 Spring Symposia: Design Methods to Investigate User Experiences of Artificial Intelligence for The UX of AI symposium and The Smart Data Layer for Artificial Intelligence for the Internet of Everything symposium. I’ll be presenting the former at Stanford at the end of March, bellow is the abstract.

Pages from Design Workbook

Design Methods to Investigate User Experiences of Artificial Intelligence

This paper engages with the challenges of designing ‘implicit interaction’, systems (or system features) in which actions are not actively guided or chosen by users but instead come from inference driven system activity. We discuss the difficulty of designing for such systems and outline three Research through Design approaches we have engaged with – first, creating a design workbook for implicit interaction, second, a workshop on designing with data that subverted the usual relationship with data, and lastly, an exploration of how a computer science notion, ‘leaky abstraction’, could be in turn misinterpreted to imagine new system uses and activities. Together these design activities outline some inventive new ways of designing User Experiences of Artificial Intelligence.

PhD’ing – Writers’ Retreat, Project Offsite, Outdoors Research, and Making Preciousness

Today I saw a meme on Instagram which said, “We are now entering the third month of January.” I couldn’t relate more! And looking back over the past few weeks, cannot believe all that has already happened in 2018.

KTH Writers' Retreat

Writer’s Retreat

Following a paper deadline in early January, my department at KTH (Media Technology and Interaction Design) kicked off 2018 with a writers’ retreat. What happens at a writers’ retreat? We book a venue in the Stockholm archipelago for three days and two nights, and write. And sauna and winter swim, but mainly write. The primary purpose of the retreat is to provide time and space away from everyday academic duties, from teaching to admin responsibilities, in order to focus on increasing the quality and quantity of our writing output. During the three days, we follow an agile framework in which junior/senior pairs write in ~45 minute sprints and then provide ~15 minutes of feedback. In addition to intense writing blocks, lunches, dinners, and evening activities provide ample opportunities to better know our colleagues professionally and personally. Though equally as exhausting as the writing, this social time I find incredibly valuable in creating a continued collaborative culture at work.

During this year’s writing camp I started a paper on a Pee-ometer, a recent project by Master’s students that I proposed and supervised in which they prototyped a wearable device that predicts when a user has to pee to investigate Machine Learning as a design material.

Project Offsite

In mid January, the Smart Implicit Interaction project had a two day project offsite. As the project is composed of differing philosophical and methodological backgrounds – i.e. Artificial Intelligence, Social Sciences, and Interaction Design – the first day consisted of a beginners overview into reinforcement and representational learning in neural networks to introduce technical terminology and objectives. During the second day, all of the sub-projects presented their current status and goals for the year. I specifically presented two ongoing design projects, data-driven design methods and the Pee-ometer. In the former, I discussed early design activities and resulting concepts from investigating the implications of screenshots as a data source. In the latter, I discussed three high-level interests guiding future project directions, including Machine Learning as a design material, interactional loops, and critique and ethics. Overall, it was inspiring to share and strategize better collaborations while revisiting overarching project objectives.

Project Offsite

Last week continued January’s streak of out-of-office research activities and into the forest. To kick off an new outdoors project, myself and three senior researchers went on a mid-week day hike 30 minutes outside of Stockholm. Not only was I surprised at a Professor’s ability to make a fire in the snow, but the excursion was both refreshing and constructive. More in the coming months!

Making Preciousness

And last but definitely not least, friend and fellow PhD student Vasiliki successfully defended her thesis Making Preciousness: Interaction Design Through Studio Crafts. Her opponent Ron Wakkary gave a much deserved brilliant presentation of her work before lengthy discussions with him and the committee. Admittedly, it is selfishly bittersweet to see her finishing as she has been a tremendous support and inspiration during the first year of my own PhD.

Books 2018

Books read in 2018 (continuously updating):

06. Machine Learners: Archaeology of a Data Practice. Adrian Mackenzie.

05. Walden. Henry David Thoreau.

04. Weapons of Math Destruction. Cathy O’Neil. Through a variety of examples, including housing and financial sections, the book uses the term Weapons of Math Destruction to describe biased mathmatical models influencing our everyday lives. It also provides the formula of a good model: relevant data, transparency, and clear measures of success within an embedded feedback mechanism.

03. Technology as Experience. John McCarthy and Peter Wright. Draws upon pragmatism to emphasize the felt, emotional quality of experiences with technology. A remarkably easy and accessible read, yet might be without first reading Dewey’s arduous Art as Experience, which foregrounds the relationship between a live creature in the environment in which a continual doing and undergoing transform an everyday experience into an aesthetic experience.

02. Small Great Things. Jodi Picoult. A story about an African-American nurse, white supremacist, and white lawyer following the tragic death of a baby after a routine hospital procedure. While interesting from the start, it took quite sometime into the story to move beyond an outsiders positioning of racial stereotypes and propagate deeper reflections of racial privilege and institutional bias. At times it reads quite didactic, but is ultimately powerful (as an intended audience member) and powerfully uncomfortable.

01. Making Preciousness: Interaction Design Through Studio Crafts. Vasiliki Tsaknaki. A dissertation on the intersection between studio crafts and interaction design to explore the meaning of ‘preciousness,’ resulting in the extraction of three qualities: resourceful composition, material sensuality, and mattering artifacts. I’m particularly drawn to her paper on the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi in which she proposes three design principles inspired by impermanence, incompleteness, and imperfection.

Books 2017

Books read in 2017:

38. A Gentleman in Moscow. Amor Towles.
37. The Destructives. Matthew De Abaitua.
36. Higher education meets private use of social media technologies: An explorative study of students’ use. Pernilla Josefsson (thesis).
35. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Robert D. Putnam.
34. Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live. Akiko Busch.
33. The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information. Paul Dourish.
32. Art as Experience. John Dewey.
31. Things That Keep Us Busy: The Elements of Interaction. Lars-Erik Janlert & Erik Stolterman.
30. The Alice Network: A Novel. Kate Quinn.
29. Before We Were Yours. Lisa Wingate.
28. About Face 3. Alan Cooper.
27. Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy. David A. Mindell.
26. Norse Mythology. Neil Gaiman.
25. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic. Esther Perel.
24. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Rebecca Solnit.
23. Studying Those who Study Us: An Anthropologist in the World of Artificial Intelligence. Diana E. Forsythe.
22. The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood.
21. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Mary Roach.
20. A Man Called Ove. Fredrik Backman.
19. The Circle. Dave Eggers.
18. Problems of Knowledge: A Critical Introduction to Epistemology. Michael Williams.
17. Alone Together. Sherry Turkle.
16. Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology. Susan Kozel.
15. Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence – and Where It’s Taking Us Next. Luke Dormehl.
14. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari.
13. The Design of Implicit Interactions. Wendy Ju (thesis).
12. Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom. Ilpo Kalevi Koskinen, Johan Redstrom, John Zimmerman, Stephan Wensveen, and Thomas Binder.
11. The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt.
10. Telling About Society. Howard Becker.
9. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman.
8. Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life: A Philosophical Inquiry. Albert Borgmann.
7. Who Moved My Cheese?. Spencer Johnson.
6. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Donald Schön.
5. Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck.
4. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Mason Currey.
3. Sciences of the Artificial. Herbert A. Simon.
2. Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices. Dan Saffer.
1. Obfuscation. Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum.

TEI 2018 – Studio Call for Participation

Sociomateriality: Infrastructuring and Appropriation of Artifacts

Novel materials and innovative applications can sometimes outweigh a reflective perspective on the roles that objects and materials can play in social life. In this Studio, we want to bring together researchers and practitioners who are interested in exploring design outcomes from a sociomaterial perspective. By having prototypes at the center of the Studio activities, we intend to create prompted speculative fictions that link the material outcomes of design practice to social agency and cultural effects.

This studio will offer an opportunity to examine how objects might participate in social spheres as well as act as material bridges to their design process. We will do this through both hands-on examination of design objects, and inquiry into the infrastructuring and appropriation of these artifacts. The themes that will be examined are agency, material participation, and cultural performance of things. We encourage participants to bring their own prototypes.

We invite scholars and design practitioners from a variety of fields to register on the TEI 2018 website. For any questions, email the workshop organizers at

For any questions, email the workshop organizers at:

More information you can find at the Studio webpage:

Tom Jenkins – Georgia Institute of Technology
Vasiliki Tsaknaki – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Karey Helms – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Ludvig Elblaus – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Nicolai Brodersen Hansen – TU Eindhoven