Data, Data Everywhere: Fostering Agency and Autonomy in Ubiquitous Computing

Dr. Kalpana Shankar
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Ubiquitous computing, or ubicomp, has the potential to effect large-scale transformational change in society. Through the deployment of sensor networks, the environment itself becomes "aware" and responsive. We are at a critical juncture in ubicomp research; without careful consideration to the human-centered aspects of the technology, we will find ourselves designing ubicomp with troubling and perhaps unforeseen social, legal, and policy implications. In this paper, I discuss the implications of one aspect of ubicomp, information and data management, for value-sensitive, empowering ubicomp. In its current state, the sensor technology behind ubicomp generates data that requires a high level of technical expertise to understand and act upon. However, as ubicomp becomes prevalent in everyday settings, like the home and in health care institutions, nonexperts will be expected to interact with ubicomp environments as well. However, there has been almost no empirical research on how to design such environments to maintain nonexpert agency and autonomy, something that is contingent upon the nonexpert's ability to interact with the data s/he receives from the ubicomp environment. Nor has there been much discussion in ubicomp circles of the potential power inequities and negative social effects that could be created by inattention to this expert/nonexpert dichotomy in ubicomp information design. This paper will explore the meanings and relevance of data and metadata for the ubicomp environment, articulate challenges in information management, and discuss social and ethical concerns engendered by these gaps in research.

Keywords: Ubiquitous Computing, Information Management, Social Informatics, Metadata
Stream: Human Technologies and Useability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Kalpana Shankar

Assistant Professor, School of Informatics, Indiana University-Bloomington

Kalpana Shankar is an assistant professor in the School of Informatics at Indiana University-Bloomington. She received her doctorate in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellowship in science policy at the National Institutes of Health. She has been studying the creation and use of scientific information by scientists and non-scientists for a number of years, and is currently interested in exploring the repurposing of scientific information in health care, ubiquitous computing, and cybersecurity.

Ref: T05P0301