Whose Future Is It Anyway? Limits within Policy Modeling

This is a paper written together with Somya Joshi, Daniel Pargman and Andreas Gazis. We are presenting it at LIMITS 2016, at UCI (USA) in June.

Read the whole paper here

Abstract

In the age of Big Open Linked Data (BOLD), we inhabit a landscape where future scenarios are imagined, modeled, planned for and embedded in policy. Between the euphoric techno-utopian rhetoric of the boundless potential of BOLD innovations and the dystopian view of the dangers of such innovations (e.g. ubiquitous surveillance etc.), this paper offers a critical understanding of the boundaries that are traversed by the implementation of BOLD within policy modeling. We examine BOLD as a tool for imagining futures, for reducing uncertainties, for providing legitimacy and for concentrating power. In doing so we further develop the LIMITs community’s conceptualization of the societal limitations on computing, with specific reference to the assumptions, interpretations and trust that we place in these models when making socio-environmental policy decisions. We use an illustrative case of policy modeling, which provides a much-needed critical discussion of the inherent limitations and risks as well as the promises that are offered by BOLD.

Our work on “The Internet at the ecovillage. Performing Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century” is finally published!

This is part of the work I conducted during my sabbatical at UCI. It has been great to work on this paper with Bonnie and Daniel!

The Internet at the eco-village: Performing sustainability in the twenty-first century

Teresa Cerratto-Pargman, Daniel Pargman, Bonnie Nardi

Abstract

Is the digital infrastructure and its footprint an ideological blind spot for recently emerging ecological communities, including eco-villages? This paper examines how a group of people who are concerned with environmental issues such as peak oil and climate change are orchestrating a transition toward a more sustainable and resilient way of living. We studied a Swedish eco-village, considering how computing in this community contributes to defining what alternative ways of living might look like in the twenty-first century. Drawing on a social-ecological perspective, the analysis illustrates, on the one hand, that the Internet, along with the digital devices we use to access it, capitalizes and mobilizes values, knowledge and social relationships that in turn enhance resilience in the eco-village. On the other hand, the analysis shows that an explicit focus on ecological values is not sufficient for a community of individuals to significantly transform Internet use to conform to ecological ideals. This work contributes to a deeper understanding of the imbrication of social technologies with practices that are oriented to perform sustainable and resilient ways of living.

Full text

LIMITS 2016 – June 9-10 Irvine- USA.

I am proudly co-organizing the Second Workshop on Computing within LIMITS 

LIMITS aims to foster discussion on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing. These topics are seldom discussed in contemporary computing research. The medium-term aim of the workshop is to foster concrete research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that innovates on technologies, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research. A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity.

Presenting our work at ICT4S- Nominated for the Best Paper Award

Somya Joshi and I had a really great time discussing and writing up this paper that was nominated for the best paper award! We did not win the award but Somya won the best paper presentation award after she did an awesome presentation of our paper : On Fairness & Sustainability: Motivating Change in the Networked Society.

Abstract . Caught between the infinite promise unleashed by technology proliferation and the unprecedented scale of resource depletion, waste and inequity, we inhabit a space where critical alternatives are sought more than ever. As a reflection of the above, we find in HCI, a slant towards technological quick-fixes to existing sustainability problems, as opposed to a more holistic approach that includes behavioural and societal change. It is within this context that this paper is situated, where we propose a socio-ecological approach and argue our case for a life-cycle lens towards building systems that are in line with our current understanding of the earth’s finite resources. We do so by presenting an illustrative case study of what such critical alternatives might look like, by examining the Fairphone movement. We contribute to a deeper understanding of how social value laden enterprises along with open technological design can shape sustainable relationships between our environment and us.

Participating in Critical Alternatives 2015!

Looking forward to the 5th decennial Århus conference and the presentation of our work “In Search of Fairness: Critical Design Alternatives for Sustainability“. 

Somya Joshi – Stockholm University – somya@dsv.su.se
Teresa Cerratto Pargman – Stockholm University

Abstract: Does fairness as an ideal fit within the broader quest for sustainability? In this paper we consider alternative ways of framing the wicked problem of sustainability. One that moves away from the established preference within HCI, towards technological quick-fixes. We adopt a critical lens to challenge the belief that by merely changing practices at an individual level one can do away with unsustainability. This thinking, we argue, is flawed for many reasons, but mostly because of the wickedness of the sustainability problem. By analyzing the case of Fairphone, we illustrate how it is possible to imagine and design change at a broader level of community engagement, when it comes to concerns of fairness and sustainability. We contribute to a deeper understanding of how social value laden enterprises along with open technological design can shape sustainable relationships between our environment and us.

 

Presenting at CSCL 2015

CSCL 2015 in Gothenburg was great! I presented our work on “Materiality of online students’ peer-review activities in higher education”.  PDF

Teresa Cerratto-Pargman, Ola Knutsson and Petter Karlström from Stockholm University.

Abstract: In spite of the widespread use of technology in higher education, discourses on learning technologies commonly account for their features as disembodied from their use. There has so far been few theoretical approaches which have delved into “the technology question” in CSCL.  We present an empirical study that investigates how students’ peer-review activities are entangled with sociomaterial aspects of mediated collaborative learning. The students’ peer-review activities were analyzed according to the Collective Instrument-mediated Activity Situation (CIAS) model, and findings show that the materiality of two different tools had considerable influenced how students engaged with the texts and how they interacted with each other.

Our Workshop. And together with Isa Jahnke, we had fun organizing and conducting the workshop Changing Teaching and Learning Practices in Schools with Tablet-Mediated Collaborative Learning (#TMCL15): Nordic, European and International Views

Take a look at the great contributions we have discussed during the workshop!

 

Co-organising LIMITS’2015- The First Workshop on Computing within Limits

I am so proud and happy to be part of this great initiative led by Barath Raghavan, ICSI, California, USA, Daniel Pargman, KTH-Sweden and Bonnie Nardi,UCI, California, USA.

LIMITS 2015 aims to foster discussion on the impact of present or future ecological, material, energetic, and/or societal limits on computing. These topics are seldom discussed in contemporary computing research. The medium-term aim of the workshop is to foster concrete research, potentially of an interdisciplinary nature, that innovates on technologies, techniques, and contexts for computing within fundamental limits. A longer-term goal is to build a community around relevant topics and research, with LIMITS 2015 constituting the inaugural meeting. A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity.

Väldigt Stolt! Super proud!

Samhällsvetenskapliga fakultetsnämnden vid Stockholms universitet beslutar att utse Jalal Nouris avhandling i data- och systemvetenskap: Orchestrating scaffolded outdoor mobile learning activities, som nominerad till Högskoleföreningens utmärkelse för mest framstående vetenskapliga prestation 2014. Jalal disputerade i oktober 2014 med mig som huvudhandledare, Ola Knutsson och Robert Ramberg som bihandledare.

The Faculty of Social Sciences at Stockholm University has nominated my former Ph D candidate Jalal Nouri’s dissertation in computer science: orchestrating scaffolded outdoor mobile learning activities,  to the National Association award for most outstanding scientific achievement in 2014. More information here