Hybrid Gifting

Two workshops have been held by the Hybrid Gifting Project.

The first – a card making workshop, took place at Debbie Bryan – an independent creative retailer based in Nottingham on 2nd November. The workshop focused on the giver/receiver relationship supporting participants to creative a ‘gift’, linking digital content and introducing tagging technologies.

The second workshop – Christmas themed – took place at the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham on the 7th December. Participants got into the Christmas spirit by making Christmas cards and adding their individual digital layers of content.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

 

How do you think about your personal data?

Our cross cutting theme investigating the ways in which people commonly understand the use of personal data in products and services mediated by algorithms is looking for participants to take part in an online survey.

The questionnaire will help our researchers to understand how users of online services think about different types of data.

Participation is voluntary and at the end of the questionnaire, you will have a chance to enter a draw for a £50 shopping voucher.

Access more information about the online survey and a link to the questionnaire here.

 

 

Memory Machine – an overview of our third workshop

Memory Machine Workshop 3

21st September 2018

Identity and wellbeing

We had a diverse group join us for our third workshop which started with a short walk outside, down to the Raleigh commemoration sculpture:

Landscapes prompt memories, as does the weather – as we found when it started raining! So we rapidly retreated indoors. We discussed local places and community connections and their importance in building a sense of familiarity and identity. One of our participants talked about walking around Nottingham, looking at old buildings, and that seeing a building or street from a particular angle would evoke a memory – perspective and place is so important in our memories. In Nottingham we are lucky to have archives from local industries; Raleigh bikes (the factory stood on the site of our new campus) and Boots pharmaceuticals and toiletries. Participants mentioned that Nottingham is also famous for less healthy products; such as beer and tobacco.

I gave a brief talk about how place is connected with health in many different ways. As well as working life, our home life and communities hold strong memories. We had three groups discussing their memories of place and community. Memories of Trent bridge leather tannery, and streets of small shops including a tattoo parlour!

Rachel Jacobs described some interactive and digital experiences that explored issues of wellbeing and place, as well as interesting interactive public displays and interventions. These included:

Rachel talked about how the Memory Machine might be able to link into similar forms of interactive experiences either at home or in familiar places, or areas of local interest so that people could both share and access their memories of these places. She spoke about the value of our memories and how the memories and experiences of older generations can enrich the experience of being in places and help us to understand the history, as well as the present and future of the place where we live and work.

Our three groups then considered how a digital ‘memory machine’ might capture some of these memories about place. One group considered an ‘outdoors Alexa’- a kind of ‘listening post’ where people could record, and share, their own recollections of that place – e.g. a street or a park. This idea grew legs! We discussed how people could meet at one of these posts, and then walk together, discussing memories, and recording them at the next post. With a mechanism to assign this shared recording to your personal account – when you got home you could listen again.

Listening again, or recording from one place, but playing back inside, prompted discussion of sharing with residents of a care home or others who may not be able to get out and about. We thought about how to encourage individuals and families at early stages of dementia to start recording memories, or making notes. We had health and social care practitioners in the group who shared their experience of caring for people, and how prompts and recordings could be useful.

Another group discussed a similar use of the memory machine in a park such as Gedling Country Park, with a listening area where people can sit and hear about the history of the park and colliery that used to be there and share their own memories, and people who can’t get to the park can also take part in the conversation and share experiences of being in the park and their own memories from home or a care centre. They also talked about how we manage difficult memories as well as joyful ones and how you can create the right experience to help people to access different memories in a positive way. The group also talked about the positives and negatives of technology and the internet and how it is affecting younger generations and changing how they communicate with each other – how it can both bring people together, and make people feel isolated.

During the session I learnt a lot about Nottingham from the older members of the group. How black lead was used in the laceworks, which would cause damage to the brain and memories of the workers. I said how lucky we are that we can just type into a websearch any locality or industry and rapidly find some information, pictures or archives. One group had discussed cigarette cards – the Google of their generation! Recalling previous generations, we discussed how statues and stained glass of churches were a way of representing Biblical people and stories when the text was in inaccessible Latin.

Places and industry can prompt painful memories; we should not ignore difficult memories, but be aware of our reactions to these. Overall, we discussed how familiar places are interlinked with and our sense of identity and wellbeing. Neil suggested that many of the topics could be linked to Five Ways to Wellbeing – an evidence base linking activities to health and wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/

Raleigh archivehttp://www.iworkedatraleigh.com/

John Players archivehttps://www.nottingham.ac.uk/connectedcommunities/projects/john-player-archive.aspx

 

Written by Neil Chadborn

 

 

 

 

 

Memory Machine Workshop 3

Researchers at Nottingham University would like to invite you to the third Memory Machine workshop, as part of a series of workshops (4 in total) that explore how new technologies can help us preserve memories that are important for us.

Led by artist Rachel Jacobs and Research Fellow Neil Chadborn, this workshop will be interactive and creative and we welcome older adults, those caring for people with early onset dementia, historians and tech developers

Participants will receive a £10 and travel expenses to the venue covered and it includes lunch and refreshments. The workshop will take place at the Institute of Mental Health.

Everyone welcome. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please email Rachel Jacobs to discuss any access requirements.

Register for this event here

Privacy, Law & Ethical Cross Cutting Theme update

In order to reflect on impacts for wider human values and embed safeguards into technologies being introduced by Services Campaign projects, Peter and Lachlan have been holding workshops with members of Memory Machine, In My Seat and Panopticon. These workshops used the Moral-IT and Legal –IT cards developed as part of the Towards Moral-IT and Legal-IT research ongoing at Horizon Digital Economy Research.

 

As mentioned in the previous blog, the Legal-IT cards translate a range of data related legal frameworks into card form, from the new EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and Network and Information Security Regulation 2016, to the earlier Cybercrime Convention 2001. The Moral-IT cards pose difficult ethical questions clustered under the themes of privacy, security, law and ethics, such as “IDENTITIES MANAGEMENT: does your technology enable users to hold and manage multiple identities?” or “SUSTAINABILITY AND eWASTE – What effects does your technology have on the environment from creation to destruction?”. These thought provoking questions help participants to think of unexpected implications of their technology.

During a workshop, participants were asked to reflect on the technology they were building and identify an overall ‘ethical risk’ that may impact the social desirability of the technology and for its users, particularly in relation to its use of personal data. This could include the identity risks from sensitive data being compromised by poor data security practices, or personal privacy harms for individuals’ private details being made visible to unexpected parties.   The groups used the Moral – IT and Legal-IT cards in a streamlined ethical impact assessment process to reflect on the overall risk, discuss and identify potential safeguards against these risks and also identify challenges of implementation of these safeguards. This activity resulted in a wide range of critical ethical questions being explored in relation to the technology with the cards and structure of the task enabling the participants to navigate the difficult ethical questions and link their technology to ethical and legal concerns more widely.

The cards were also used as part of workshop run by Lachlan and Martin Flintham, as part of their Digital Research funded project, to generate thought and encourage discussion about ethical implications of using the ‘Internet of Things’ in both the university and research environment.

We were pleased with how the participants took to the cards. They enjoyed using them and found them helpful in exploring and engaging with the ethical and legal issues in relation to their technology. They were received well, with their utility in structuring debate around complex topics. However, they also brought the wide range of issues to the fore. We are therefore encouraged that the cards have the potential to be a particularly useful tool in enabling technology developers and users to reflect on and navigate the complex ethics of their technology and produce more socially desirable technology as a result.

If you would like to know more, the Moral-IT and Legal-IT cards, and an outline of a way to use them, are now available to download online from ‘Experience Horizon’– a website which provides opportunities to try out some of the outputs from projects conducted at Horizon Digital Economy Research. If you do choose to investigate them further, we would really like to build up dialogue on who you are, how you are using the cards, why and any feedback you have on the tool/process. Please send these on to lachlan.urquhart@gmail.com.

Members of the Privacy, Law and Ethics Cross Cutting Theme are planning analysis and preparing a paper to submit to the Journal of Responsible Innovation, towards the end of the year.

Finally, following a presentation of the project, the Privacy, Law and Ethics Cross Cutting Theme project has been neatly summed up in a visual form as can be seen below – our thanks and acknowledgment to Rikki Marr of HAWK&MOUSE.

Written by: Lachlan Urquhart and Peter Craigon

Media and Memory

For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve been studying culture, based on the conviction that media products (however ‘mindless’ and ‘disposable’ many claim them to be) play an incredibly valuable role in all our lives. This is because they are bound up inextricably in our wider experiences of the world, of other people, and in our emotional reality.

It’s easy to identify moments from my own life that illustrate this point. Anaesthetising my teenage anxiety, while I waited to hear if I’d got my University place, by concentrating instead on the characters in a favourite book, Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. Escaping to Middle Earth after my PhD examination by watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (extended editions) back-to-back. Euphorically dancing around the flat with my newborn daughter to Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full of Lead singing “best of all, I got my baby”.

These formative experiences that stick in my memory are linked to and enriched by the media I consumed in those moments. And perhaps the stickiness of those memories is reinforced every time I encounter that content again. Certainly particular pieces of media trigger particular memories, and that nostalgia can be quite visceral. For example, Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love reimmerses me in another swelteringly hot summer – 2003 – when that hit single seemed to be continuously blasting through the open windows of every vehicle in London.

Lots of amazing, imaginative work is being done to take advantage of the propensity of media to ‘transport us’ in time and space, especially when memories and/or media become harder to access. The WAYBACK is a virtual reality film, funded by £35,000 pledged to a Kickstarter campaign, that recreates Coronation Day 1953 to help those living with Alzheimer’s and their carers recall the conversations, music and atmosphere of a street party. In situations when people’s cultural worlds become restricted, digital apps can also help maintain access to content and all its benefits. Armchair Gallery is developing an app to enable digital access to, and creative interaction with, artworks in collections for those who cannot physically visit them.

What excites me about the Memory Machine idea is imagining an in-home media repository cum player that could automatically connect personally important content (e.g. a pop song) with a period of time (e.g. when you added it to your music collection or listened to it a lot) and with other contemporaneous media (e.g. a film or advert of the time that featured the song). This has the potential to generate multi-layered, multimedia connections between individual and historical context. More than that, a system that could link one person’s cultural experiences with those of people around them would also transcend the artificial limitations we all apply to media on the basis of personal taste. I think it would be wonderful if my daughter could one day, as an adult, get a sense of the love and joy she brings me by being played a pop song from ‘before her time’.

Written by Dr Sarah Martindale

How do people think about data?

When people interact with an online service, they form theories about how it is working. As part of the services campaign in Horizon, we are investigating the ways in which people commonly understand the use of personal data in products and services that are mediated by algorithms. We are doing this by examining the mental models people form about how different types of data are used within systems.

Mental models are a form of reasoning where people create internal representations of reality. They help us to interact with systems and understand how they function. Mental models represent a bridging point between our lived experience and the service as part of a wider system (consider the relationship between how warm you are at home, the physical form of a central heating system, and your interaction with a thermostat). This is useful for our study because the concepts of algorithmically-mediated services and algorithmically-generated content are highly complex and we tend to rely on metaphors to talk about what is happening. A further challenge in this area is that people are not necessarily used to articulating in detail how they think these things work and thus simply asking people directly is likely to result in a lot of shrugging and sighing! One technique that we will use instead then is to ask people to engage in a series of simple compare and contrast exercises. This process anchors what is for some a highly abstract topic and helps people identify the sorts of categorisations, concepts and understandings that they have been using if only implicitly and to generate words that can describe them. This is based on similar techniques originally adopted in psychological therapies (especially Person Construct Theory), to tease out people’s perceptions of things in their lives that they might not previously have spent much time consciously considering, but that have big effect upon decisions they make, and their feelings towards certain people and activities.

Our first study will involve ‘odd-one-out’ style sorting tasks using different types of personal data and services. First participants will individually develop a set of constructs, or keywords, to describe different types of data. Then they will work in groups to create hypothetical services based on groups of data types. In this task they will be given four data types written on cards. They will ‘throw one away’ and then suggest a data-driven service they could create using the other three cards. For example, being presented with Age, Employer, Browser History and Location, could lead to them throwing away Employer and creating a service that suggests new hobbies and days out in your local area.

We will run this workshop at least twice to gain a wide range of responses from different groups of people. Another type of workshop will be run with the groups running the other Services Campaign projects, using the data collected in the first workshop. This is in the planning stages, as is an online study asking people to rate different types of data based on the constructs from the first part of the workshops. Watch this space!

Liz Dowthwaite, Research Assistant, Horizon Digital Economy Research

Chronicling the Lives of Objects

An image of the first page of the Peterborough Chronicle

A chronicle (Latin: chronica, from Greek χρονικά, from χρόνος, chronos, “time”) is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line (Wikipedia). Chronicle is also the name of the platform being developed by Horizon to support its Services Campaign projects. These projects are categorised by the necessity of keeping an electronic record of facts and events relating to a thing. Take for example the Memory Machine project, the thing in this instance is the physical artefact (the Memory Machine), and the electronic record is the content being added to it. So far so boring, the platform could be little more than a database.

Where the Chronicle platform gets interesting however, is as a tool to support the concepts of ownership, sharing, and gifting. Take again the example of the Memory Machine; the physical artefact itself is owned by an individual. It’s intended use though is for third parties to have the capability to share content that that party has some ownership of. The physical heirloom may also (ideally) gain an heirloom status in which it is gifted and regifted. These actions begin to create new layers of complexities that mean our simple database begins to look a lot more complicated.

The Chronicle platform is being designed and built to support these interactions but also to ask its own questions such as:

  • What does it mean to delete something from the record? should it even be possible or should a record remain indelible?
  • If a record is indelible, what are the implications for privacy and ownership rights?
  • How are changes of ownership handled?

You can follow the progress of the development of Chronicle at https://chronicle.horizon.ac.uk/ and on Bitbucket at https://bitbucket.org/account/user/horizon-dev/projects/CHRON.

Featured image by Peterborough.Chronicle.firstpage.jpg: en:User:Geogrederivative work: Hchc2009 (Peterborough.Chronicle.firstpage.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dominic Price, Research Fellow, Horizon Digital Economy Research