Preparing for my Final Seminar
The final seminar will take place in two weeks from now. I’m gonna need a long vacation this summer, but there is much that has to be done before that. We need to find an opponent for the dissertation, a committee and not the least get the text ready for print in early June. Today I will fiddle with the last loose ends of the thesis and then at the end of the week try to bring in proper pictures and references. At the same time I’m trying to manage the lab (Petra, come back please!) and set up our hardware/soldering workshop. Hopefully we can order a 3D printer quite soon so that we can have something to look forward to :)
And I love the space at KTH! I think we will be able to a lot of amazing work from now on and in particular it will be interesting to do a bit of sports related research! As some might already noticed I’m not exactly a sports nerd yet, but that might change with the right motivation. I’m thinking motorsport but I will be very open for influences in the months to come.
Reading about the recent events concerning Aaron Swartz, and how an industry, organization or even government can dehumanize someone, made me think about an old rule of thumb that I have been pondering. We cannot ever allow organizations to be the opponent in cases like this. Reading Lessig’s view of what happened made me both angry and sad. I now feel even stronger that information is indeed volatile and humans are humans, never to be fitted according to any system, model or ideal. Organisations and corporations are not humans and never will be. Obedience can take many forms, but these types of modern gladiator shows must come to an end. The transformation of the society into a transparent fully open one requires us to shift our way of thinking about information,openness, privacy and legislation. Law must serve the people firsthand, and that means to accounting for EVERY aspect of what it means to be human. Cultures will always be in the making, but some things must change. Today it is very black and white for me - get rid of guns and weapons, and acknowledge that information wants to be free. (It rhymes of course)
This summer we wrapped up our LIREC project. Almost four and a half year long it was very exiting to see it though. Many studies were made during the spring, thus we will have plenty of material to reflect upon, even afterwards. For myself it marks the end of European projects for this time around and the start of wrapping up my PhD thesis. Scary and fun at the same time.
This years CHI was my third in this series. And it was in my view the best one yet. It had all the elements that make a top-notch conference interesting: Esteemed seniors getting upset over their prodigy’s rather provocative way of conducting research, A paper on “if industrialism never happened” Steampunk awesomeness, my (and freshly escaped) supervisors book release party with a guy shoveling nails and what not up his nose, many colleagues presenting everything from Jacquard loom revisits to how playful people at Vanuatu were with their recent familiarization with the mobile phone, the look on people’s faces when discovering that the conference proceedings came on a DVD rather than a USB-key, Richard Shusterman’s neat introduction to the philosophy of Somaestethics, Stu Card’s reflections on the role of engineering in the field, Batya Friedman’s SIG-CHI Social impact talk where she explains how she dealt with her legacy crisis, the wonderful CHI’2012 Android app that made all the session planning manageable, hands on with digital artifacts - Interactivity Session in which I myself participated, and last but not least all the wonderful people that inspire me so much that I still manage to stay loyal to a research career. At least until next CHI.
SICS Open House
At this years open house I showcased both the LIREC project as a whole and the latest progress in the ActDresses experiment. Had a very good chat with Mats Sommarström from Celective Source about possibilities in the leisure and ‘ubiquitous’ robotics area. Came to realize that grounded life essentials and nurturing without expectations would be an interesting path to explore. Today there will be writing, moving stuff, a meeting, and even more writing. The weather is lovely now!
We had a writers workshop today for the few of us submitting to NordiCHI this year. Got really good feedback but realized that there are so many question marks. Good and interesting data although the question is how to tackle it and weave it into the larger discussion in a super constructive way. Tomorrow and Friday will be work-marathons!