This talk will present and critique a body of work evolving across several years of research at the intersection of computer science and participatory culture – namely Citizen Science. I will re-examine the emerging technologies and algorithmic approaches as well as the cultural practices surrounding sensor legibility, scaffolding strategies, motivation, and human relationships to participatory computing systems. We deconstruct our current perceptions of mobile technologies away from that of simply communication tools towards that of super-computer-radio-stations-with-sensors. By rethinking mobile sensing technologies, interactive and social experiences, and the architecture of such systems, we believe that important new computing platforms and practices will emerge around community engagement, civic participation, and collective action. Computing enabled Citizen Science is positioned to revolutionize new cooperative and collaborative approach to literacy, transparency, and problem solving. Through studies of several deployments across a range of landscapes – personal, infrastructural, community based, etc. and exploring a variety of interactive experiences, this talk will highlight specific strategies for engaging individuals and motivating them to participate in emerging Citizen Science efforts.
Our work leverages the “cognitive surplus” of citizens across everyday landscapes and the opportunistic gaps for small moments of “micro-volunteering”. Throughout this work is a reframing of Citizen Science beyond simply a focus on data collection and towards an experience to promote curiosity, joy, wonderment, and “new ways of seeing” our world. More importantly, we believe that successfully designed Citizen Science projects can effect positive societal change and produce a more participatory and transparent democracy with improved understanding of our personal, environmental, and urban ecology.
Eric Paulos is the Director of the Living Environments Lab and an Assistant Professor in the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) with a faculty appointment within the Electrical Engineering Computer Science Department at UC Berkeley. Previously, Eric held the Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor Chair in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University where he was faculty within the Human-Computer Interaction Institute with courtesy faculty appointments in the Robotics Institute and in the Entertainment Technology Center. Prior to CMU, Eric was Senior Research Scientist at Intel Research in Berkeley, California where he founded the Urban Atmospheres research group – challenged to employ innovative methods to explore urban life and the future fabric of emerging technologies across public urban landscapes. His areas of expertise span a deep body of research territory in urban computing, sustainability, green design, environmental awareness, social telepresence, robotics, physical computing, interaction design, persuasive technologies, and intimate media. Eric is a leading figure in the field of urban computing, coining the term in 2004, and a regular contributor, editorial board member, and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences. Eric received his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley where he helped launch a new robotic industry by developing some of the first internet tele-operated robots including Space Browsing helium filled blimps and Personal Roving Presence devices (PRoPs).
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