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Rethinking Information and Space in Ubiquitous Computing

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The original articulations of “ubiquitous computing” focus on the migration of computation and information off the desktop and into the other spaces of everyday life. Despite this, ubicomp research remains surprisingly devoid of spatial thinking, taking both “space” and “information” as natural facts. In our recent work at UCI , we have been attempting to take the spatial nature of ubicomp seriously. In fact, we would argue that the advent of ubiquitous computing—as a technological fact and a social imaginary—creates the opportunity to rethink some fundamental issues in the relationship between computation and human action.

In this talk, I’ll provide an overview of this work, paying particular attention to the ways in which both information and spatiality emerge as social and cultural products and to how we are attempting to respond to these conceptual shifts in our design efforts.

Paul Dourish is a Professor in Informatics at UC Irvine (with courtesy appointments in Computer Science and in Anthropology.) For the last two years, he served as Associate Director for the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. He teaches in the Informatics program as well as a new interdisciplinary graduate program in Arts, Computation, and Engineering. His research interests lie at the intersection of social science and computer science. Most recently, his research has focused on embodied interaction, privacy and security, and urban computing. He holds a B.Sc. (hons) in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University College London. Before moving to UCI , he held research appointments at Xerox PARC , Apple Computer, and Rank Xerox EuroPARC.

This talk is part of the Interdisciplinary Design: Debates and Seminars series.

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