Ad hoc encounters with big data: Engaging citizens in conversations around tabletops

  • Morten Fjeld t2i interaction lab, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Paweł Woźniak t2i interaction lab, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Josh Cowls Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford Oxford, UK
  • Bonnie Nardi UC Irvine Irvine, CA, USA

Abstract

The increasing abundance of data creates new opportunities for communities of interest and communities of practice. We believe that interactive tabletops will allow users to explore data in familiar places such as living rooms, cafés, and public spaces. We propose informal, mobile possibilities for future generations of flexible and portable tabletops. In this paper, we build upon current advances in sensing and in organic user interfaces to propose how tabletops in the future could encourage collaboration and engage users in socially relevant data-oriented activities. Our work focuses on the socio-technical challenges of future democratic deliberation. As part of our vision, we suggest switching from fixed to mobile tabletops and provide two examples of hypothetical interface types: TableTiles and Moldable Displays. We consider how tabletops could foster future civic communities, expanding modes of participation originating in the Greek Agora and in European notions of cafés as locales of political deliberation.

Author Biographies

Morten Fjeld, t2i interaction lab, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden

Morten Fjeld's research activities are situated in the field of Human-Computer Interaction with a focus on tangible and tabletop user computing. In 2005, he founded the t2i Interaction Lab at Chalmers. He holds a dual MSc degree in applied mathematics from NTNU (Trondheim, Norway) and ENSIMAG (Grenoble, France), and a PhD from ETH (Zurich, Switzerland). In 2002, Morten Fjeld received the ETH Medal for his PhD titled "Designing for Tangible Interaction". In 2011, he was a visiting professor at NUS Singapore. Morten Fjeld also has extensive industrial experience in the areas of fluid mechanics, simulators, and user interface design.

Paweł Woźniak, t2i interaction lab, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden
Paweł Woźniak is a doctoral student at the t2i Lab, Chalmers University of Technology. Holding an MSc diploma from Lodz University of Technology, he has been involved in research since 2010. He was introduced to Human-Computer Interaction during his stay at the Technical University of Denmark and since then he participated in a variety of projects ranging from designing for medical environments to optimising study environments. He joined Chalmers in August 2012 as an Early Stage Researcher in the DIVA EU ITN. While Paweł was educated as an engineer, he believes in the core role of interdisciplinary work and the need for a broad understanding of the world to make sense of HCI. On a regular day, you can see him running between rooms and struggling with his Swedish.
Josh Cowls, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford Oxford, UK

Josh Cowls is a Research Assistant at the Oxford Interneet Institute, University of Oxford. In this capacity he has worked on a number of projects researching academic, governmental and activist uses of big data, and the new ethical and epistemological challenges which big data poses. Previously, Josh obtained a BA in History and Politics from the University of Exeter and an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet from the OII. For his MSc thesis he investigated whether and how the online social network Twitter impacts on the traditional agenda setting relationship between the media, politicians and the public. 

Bonnie Nardi, UC Irvine Irvine, CA, USA
I am a faculty member in the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. In 2014, I was awarded an honorary doctorate, “Doctor Honoris Causa,†from the University of Umeå in Sweden, for which I am very grateful. I was elected to the CHI Academy in 2013. I co-edit, with Kirsten Foot and Victor Kaptelinin, the MIT Press Acting with Technology Series which has many award-winning titles. I am a founding member of the ICS Center for Research on Sustainability, Collapse-preparedness and Information Technology at UC Irvine. I like social theory, ethnographic fieldwork, and doing things people don’t expect me to do (like playing video games). It is humbling to have such wonderful colleagues, many of whose names are below as co-conspirators in various ventures.
Published
2015-02-01
How to Cite
Fjeld, M., Woźniak, P., Cowls, J., & Nardi, B. (2015). Ad hoc encounters with big data: Engaging citizens in conversations around tabletops. First Monday, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i2.5611