20 December 2008

Publication #23 - Human Universality in Ubiquitous Computing: Maslow, Where Are You?

My 7-pages paper "Human Universality in Ubiquitous Computing: Maslow, Where Are You?" written with HOAREAU Christian and 橋爪宏達 (HASHIZUME Hiromichi) was published at the 5th International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing the 19 December 2008 (see post on EUC 2008).

Abstract: Too narrow, the productivity-oriented vision guiding ubiquitous computing should be replaced or enriched with humanistic aspects. We discuss the role of Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the creation and adoption of smart spaces, robots and wearable computers worldwide to provide elements for alternative visions of ubiquity. We show that current ubiquitous systems are stratified at the lowest levels of the hierarchy. Based on interviews, questionnaires and experiments, we highlight a positive correlation between the hierarchy of needs and the general public's perception and possible adoption of services. Finally, we discuss implications of these results, and notably the importance of creating humanistic frameworks, services and environments.

Publication: <http://horizons.free.fr/home/documents/publications/2008-12-19_cn_euc_maslow-ubicomp-where.pdf>

Co-author 1: HOAREAU Christian is a Ph.D. student in information science at 総合研究大学院大学 (Sokendai, Japan).

Co-author 2: 橋爪宏達 (HASHIZUME Hiromichi) obtained his Ph.D. of engineering in Japan from the electric engineering section of 東京大学 (University of Tokyo). He is currently professor at 国立情報学研究所 (National Institute of Informatics) in 東京 (Tokyo, Japan).

5th International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing in 上海 (Shanghai, China), 17-20 December 2008

上海交通大学 (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) organized the 5th International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing in 上海 (Shanghai, China) on 17-20 December 2008. My talk "Human Universality in Ubiquitous Computing: Maslow, Where Are You?" occurred during the Context-aware Computing session.

I was motived by a room full of researchers for my 20-minutes talk. The audience was receptive, and an attendee even said that designing meaningful services for the general public (a core aspect of my presentation) was the most important problem of the moment; a heartening comment.

Reacting to my statement that context-awareness may fail like strong artificial intelligence during the 20th century, a sharp Singaporean researcher argued about the potential of context-awareness; actually we agreed: context-awareness should prove useful but maybe not as much as initially envisioned and promised. He pertinently deplored that designers of good sensors are not involved in developing the intelligence of these sensors; I added that e.g. psychologists and sociologists could greatly help design fully integrated sensing systems.

Reacting to my statement that lack of interest in human needs hampers ubiquitous computing, another attendee indicated from experience in diabetes support that business models also lack; an element I will think about.

Finally, an attendee inquired about studies on cellular phones. I replied that I knew only one currently interesting study, which demonstrated a gap between planned and actual uses of first cell-phones. My results may similarly fail to represent requests of users when ubiquity spreads, but may suggest pertinent future services, help specialists consider neglected aspects of their work, and provide hints to designers.

Read the post "Publication #23" for details about the publication.

The conference was satisfactory, and participants were present and active; I will consider joining again in 2009 and 2010. Dining with dear Chinese friends, I missed the evening events organized by the conference committee but heard they were great.