Wednesday June 22, 7-8pm, GRAMA-Lounge and BBB:
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Large portions of the population live their daily lives through and by means of computational devices, frequently relying on arcane algorithms to navigate cities, consume media, and maintain bodily health. Thus, in the age of ubiquitous computing, the individual -- broadly defined here as an embodied yet discursively malleable topology of biological, historical, cultural, and media factors -- is enrolled in a vast infrastructure of `the digital.' Through such enrollment, the individual encounters their 'self' as both subject and object: as the origin of subjectivity and agency, but also as an object acted upon through the incipient phenomenology of computing.
Drawing upon my recent work in human-computer interaction (HCI), I frame the complex distribution of the self in relation to the agency of mysterious algorithmic, informational outputs that externalize identity, create humorous and unsettling data doppelgängers, and normalize affective discomfort in app use. In hopes of stimulating an ongoing conversation with attendees, I discuss the concepts of hyper-functionality, creepiness, and affective discomfort, and posit a perceived need to weave the resilience of existentialism into HCI and human-centered computing more broadly.
John S. Seberger is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. He holds a PhD in Information and Computer Science from University of California, Irvine, an MLIS from University of Pittsburgh, an MSc in Research Methods in the Psychology of Music from Keele University, and a BA in Psychology from Kenyon College. His work has been funded by the Internet of Things Group at Intel, the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing, and the US Department of Education. In September 2022, he will begin a tenure-track appointment in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia.