University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars > Failing with Style: Why and How we Should Encourage Humans to Fail with Highly Capable Systems

Failing with Style: Why and How we Should Encourage Humans to Fail with Highly Capable Systems

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Failure is a common artefact of challenging experiences, a fact of life for interactive systems but also a resource for aesthetic and improvisational performance. I will discuss an example of how three professional pianists performed an interactive piano composition that included playing hidden computational codes within the music so as to control their path through the piece and trigger system actions. I will reveal how their apparent failures to play the codes (at least when seen from the system’s point of view) occurred for diverse reasons including mistakes in their playing, limitations of the system, but also deliberate failures as a way of controlling the system, and how these failures provoked aesthetic and improvised responses from the performers. I will argue that creative interfaces should be designed to enable aesthetic failures and introduce a taxonomy that compares human approaches to failure with approaches to capable systems, revealing new creative design strategies of gaming, taming, riding and assimilating with the system. I’ll try and persuade you that these strategies might also be applied to less obviously creative interfaces, from conversational interfaces to autonomous vehicles.

Steve is Professor of Collaborative Computing in the Mixed Reality Laboratory at the University of Nottingham where he directs the Horizon ‘My Life in Data’ Centre or Doctoral Training. He previously held an EPSRC Dream Fellowship, has been a Visiting Professor at the BBC and was elected to the CHI Academy in 2012.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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