Smart Implicit Interaction

How might Artificial Intelligence inform a more meaningful choreography between implicit and explicit interactions?

As Artificial Intelligence, or more specifically Machine Learning, is increasingly prevalent in everyday interactions with technology it affords the personalization and prediction of user experiences through the design of implicit interactions, interactions that might behave in the periphery or background. While these contextualized and anticipatory systems offer opportunities to transform our everyday lives in positive ways, they also challenge notions of spontaneity, agency, and identity as technology increasingly operates on our behalf. Thus, my PhD research is investigating a more meaningful choreography between implicit and explicit interactions with technology, with an emphasis on those enabled or informed by Machine Learning. Embedded within this overarching topic are interests in extending technical practices such as data collection and training into design spaces focused on intimate practices and relationships to explore Machine Learning as a design material while also surfacing social tensions and interactional loops with and through smart technologies. Current Research through Design methods being employed include the creation of boundary objects such as design workbooks and fictional abstracts, as well as autobiographical design, experience prototyping, and design fiction.

Research goals can be broken down into three potential contributions:

• Surveying and challenging existing user interactions with ubiquitous and smart technology to expose design opportunities.
• Understanding Machine Learning as an actual limited part of systems that can be approached and shaped by designers and users.
• Unpacking the social implications of implicit interactions across information, interfaces, and infrastructures.

This work is ongoing as a part of the Implicit Interaction project at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.


Karey Helms, Barry Brown, Magnus Sahlgren, and Airi Lampinen. 2018. Design Methods to Investigate User Experiences of Artificial Intelligence. AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium Technical Report (The Design of the User Experience for Artificial Intelligence), Stanford, California, USA.

Magnus Sahlgren, Erik Ylipää, Barry Brown, Karey Helms, Airi Lampinen, Donald McMillan, Jussi Karlgren. 2018. The Smart Data Layer. AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium Technical Report (Artificial Intelligence for the Internet of Everything), Stanford, California, USA.