ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: October 2016

Call: Phenomenology and Virtuality Conference

Call for Abstracts

Phenomenology and Virtuality Conference
29-30 May 2017, KU Leuven, Belgium

Deadline: 31st January 2017

What is virtuality? How do we experience it? What is its relation to perception and imagination? What is its status with regard to the real and irreal, actual and possible, present and absent? Can we give a phenomenological account of virtuality? Finally, how are present-day virtual technologies changing not only our daily lives, but perhaps even the ways we think and behave? It is such questions that this two-day international conference on Phenomenology and Virtuality seeks to address. This call for abstracts is therefore interested in any work that seeks to give a phenomenological account of virtuality, and/or apply a phenomenological account to a contemporary issue or technology (e.g. virtual technologies such as social media and online gaming). Indeed, particular attention will be paid to abstracts that try to situate a concept of virtuality within the works of classical phenomenologists (viz. Husserl to Merleau-Ponty), as well as those that seek to contrast a phenomenological concept of virtuality with another theory, or apply such a concept to a contemporary issue or technology. Phenomenological accounts that also result in normative claims––i.e. the possible benefits and dangers of rising virtual technologies––would also be welcome.

A 300-500 word abstract should be submitted no later than 31st January 2017 to phenomenologyandvirtuality@gmail.com. Decisions of acceptance will be communicated on 15th February. Please direct any questions regarding this conference to this email address. Read more on Call: Phenomenology and Virtuality Conference…

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Boiler Room and the emerging worlds of VR in electronic music

[As the Boiler Room CEO/founder notes in this story from Magnetic Magazine, presence technologies are poised to bring music fans closer to performers and performances, “to what it’s like being at a sweaty rave or an amazing concert half-way across the world.” The story includes two videos; for more information see the press release available via BusinessWire. –Matthew]

Boiler Room music venue in London

[Image: Source: Pitchfork]

Boiler Room and the emerging worlds of VR in electronic music

Electronic music fans can now get closer than ever to the live streaming action

Akhil Kalepu
October 27, 2016

The international music broadcaster is bringing their live streaming sessions to the virtual realm, creating what is the world’s first venue designed specifically for shooting VR. Boiler Room’s announcement is an exciting innovation for electronic music fans; the music project has spent the last six years building a fanbase tuning into their shows from around the world. Series like these are a boon for dance music fans distant from major clubbing cities, so emerging virtual reality technologies are the next logical step for bringing listeners closer to the performance. Read more on Boiler Room and the emerging worlds of VR in electronic music…

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Call: HCI International 2017

HCI International 2017
Vancouver, Canada, 9 – 14 July 2017
Vancouver Convention Centre
http://2017.hci.international/index.php

Deadline: 4 November 2016 (extended)

Welcome to the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction.

HCI International 2017, jointly with the affiliated Conferences, held under one management and one registration, will take place at Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, Canada, under the auspices of 15 distinguished international boards.

HCII2017 invite you to participate and contribute to the international forum for the dissemination and exchange of up-to-date scientific information on theoretical, generic and applied areas of HCI, through the following modes of communication: Plenary / Keynote Presentation, Parallel Sessions, Poster Sessions, Tutorials and Exhibition.

The Conference will start with three days of Tutorials (9-11 July). Parallel Sessions, Poster Sessions and the Exhibition will be held during the last three days (12-14 July) of the Conference.

THEMATIC AREAS:

AFFILIATED CONFERENCES: Read more on Call: HCI International 2017…

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Using presence to humanize ‘The Enemy’

[One of the most important applications of presence is bringing people together via technology to increase the likelihood of understanding; the project described in this story from the New York Times (where it features an additional image), is a good example. This work reminds me of Sam Keen’s book and documentary “Faces of the Enemy” and his more recent “The Art of Enemy Making.” –Matthew]

Experiencing VR project The Enemy

[Image: Jiabao Li experiencing the virtual reality project “The Enemy” in Cambridge, Mass. Credit: Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times.]

Meeting ‘the Other’ Face to Face

By Randy Kennedy
October 26, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sitting in a conference room at a hotel near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology here, I slip on large headphones and an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and wriggle into the straps of a backpack, weighed down with a computer and a battery. It feels as if I were getting ready for a spacewalk or a deep-sea dive.

But when I stand, I quickly find myself in a featureless all-white room, a kind of Platonic vestibule. On the walls at either end are striking poster-size black-and-white portraits taken by the noted Belgian-Tunisian photographer Karim Ben Khelifa, one showing a young Israeli soldier and another a Palestinian fighter about the same age, whose face is almost completely hidden by a black hood.

Then the portraits disappear, replaced by doors, which open. In walk the two combatants — Abu Khaled, a fighter for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Gilad Peled, an Israeli soldier — seeming, except for a little pixelation and rigid body movement, like flesh-and-blood people who are actually in the room with me.

Their presence, in a deeply affecting experiment in communication, called “The Enemy,” underway at M.I.T., is the result of a collaboration between Mr. Ben Khelifa and Fox Harrell, an associate professor of digital media. It holds the promise of opening up new frontiers for the integration of journalism and art in a socially oriented 21st-century performance piece poised at technology’s cutting edge. Read more on Using presence to humanize ‘The Enemy’…

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Jobs: Faculty positions in HCI/Games Computing at University of Lincoln

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in Computer Science (HCI/Games Computing)
University of Lincoln
School of Computer Science

Location:  Brayford
Salary:  From £32,004 per annum
Grade 7-9
Closing Date:  Sunday 13 November 2016
Interview Date:  Thursday 01 December 2016
Reference:  MHT106
https://jobs.lincoln.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=MHT106

The School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln invites applications for three positions at Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader grade in HCI/Games Computing. These appointments are parts of a strategic plan to strengthen research and delivery in interaction design, user studies and interactive technologies and to strengthen our well established team of Games academics. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to contribute to shaping an enthusiastic and stimulating research environment which values inclusion, diversity, and interdisciplinary.

The appointments will be situated in the Interactive Technologies Lab (intLab) research group which shares a democratic vision of design, development and evaluation of interactive technologies, grounded in the participatory engagement of diverse stakeholders (students, citizens, associations, public authorities and researchers) and aimed at satisfying social and societal needs. We understand design as a way to act on the world, involving people in the joint effort of crafting technological artefacts for the common good, and evaluation as a way to explore meanings and values. We are especially interested in hearing from people who share this vision and are keen on experimenting new ways to apply it in practice. Read more on Jobs: Faculty positions in HCI/Games Computing at University of Lincoln…

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Portals project uses presence to connect people across globe

[Technology that connects strangers using social presence has the potential to widen horizons and enrich lives; this story is from the Austin American Statesman, where it includes more images and two videos. See also a 2015 ISPR Presence News post about the use of this technology by the UN. –Matthew]

Virtual portal at St. Edward's University

[Image: A virtual portal housed inside a shipping container allows visitors at St. Edward’s University to communicating by videoconference with people all over the world. In this photo, Tony Chavez (left), who works at the university and was on the committee for the project with Shared Studios, speaks to Mona Safadi (center) and Amira Alami (right), students who attend college in Gaza.]

Golden shipping container at St. Edward’s University is a videoconferencing portal to the world

The installation allows visitors to communicate with people in far-flung cities through November.

Posted October 19th, 2016
Omar L. Gallaga, American-Statesman Staff

My two new college-aged friends — at least I think we’re friends, we just met — love to hang out with their friends, shop and hit the beach when it’s not too crowded. One of them loves horror movies, the other is really into action films. They’ve both gearing up for exams coming up in their studies of English and French literature.

The only thing unusual about these students, really, is that they live in Gaza. I met them inside a golden shipping container parked on the St. Edward’s University campus in Austin and our 20-minute introductory chat was via videoconference.

While Skype, Facebook Messenger, Apple’s FaceTime, Snapchat and many other apps allow this kind of thing via any online mobile device, this experience was a little different.

For one thing, the gold-painted shipping container has been dubbed a “Portal” by Shared Studios, the art and technology team behind it that began out of New York. The shipping containers are in about 16 cities around the world and provide a life-sized videoconferencing experience. The people you communicate with are projected onto a large screen to approximate as closely as possible sharing the same space in real time. It takes a few moments and depending on the internet connection on both sides, audio or video can get a little glitchy, but the effect becomes compelling; you’re chatting with people, asking questions, laughing and responding to the visual cues of someone else’s body language as if they’re on the other side of the same room. Read more on Portals project uses presence to connect people across globe…

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Call: 10th annual International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace – ICELW 2017

The 10th annual International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace
June 14-16, 2017 at Columbia University in New York
http://www.icelw.org/index.html

Proposals due: December 16, 2016, by 6:00 PM Eastern Time

ICELW 2017 Call for Proposals

The ICELW 2017 Call for Proposals is below. To submit a proposal, please follow the instructions on our ICELW 2017 Submissions Page.

Please note that accepted ICELW papers are eligible for potential journal publication in the International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning (iJAC). iJAC publishes a special ICELW-themed issue each year.

WHO SHOULD PRESENT OR PARTICIPATE?

Anyone with a background in online learning in the workplace from any perspective, including researchers; consultants; and corporate trainers, managers, and directors.

CONFERENCE TOPICS AND FORMATS

ICELW looks for proposals in a variety of engaging formats, with a strong focus on demonstrations, case studies, panel discussions, and debates, as well as traditional presentations. Innovative and nontraditional suggestions are very welcome!

ICELW is seeking proposals covering a wide range of topics relating to e-learning in the workplace, including, but not limited to:

  • Online training methodologies (simulations, case-based learning, and more)
  • Performance support systems
  • Just-in-time learning
  • Mobile learning, including the use of iPads, smartphones, and other mobile devices
  • Collaborative and social learning
  • E-learning design
  • E-learning usability studies
  • Success stories and case studies
  • E-learning experiences in large and small organizations
  • Knowledge management
  • MOOCs and their uses in professional and career development
  • Strategies for implementing e-learning within an organization
  • Authoring tools and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs)
  • E-learning evaluation
  • Studies of e-learning in practice
  • E-learning project management
  • The use of virtual worlds in e-learning
  • Communities of practice
  • Other pertinent topics from the ICELW community

Read more on Call: 10th annual International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace – ICELW 2017…

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Researchers resurrect Joey from Friends as a video chatbot

[It’s still early days of course, but the ability to create AI-driven reproductions of well-known TV characters, or living or deceased private individuals, raises all kinds of possibilities and ethical concerns. In addition to the link to a detailed related story about Eugenia Kuyda’s creation of a chatbot of her best friend after he died, the original version of this story from The Verge includes a different image and a 1:45 minute video. –Matthew]

Creating a virtual Friends character

[Image: Source: PSFK]

Researchers resurrected Joey from Friends as a video chatbot

No one told you life was gonna be this way

by Casey Newton
Oct 20, 2016

Could this be any more disturbing? A dozen years after they went off the air, the cast of Friends has been virtually reunited for a project that turned one of them into a video chatbot. As spotted by Prosthetic Knowledge, researchers at the University of Leeds used machine learning to create automated video avatars that speak in the voices of their characters. The result is a system that uses the original performances recorded by the actors to generate brief new scenes, starting with Matt LeBlanc’s immortal Joey Tribbiani.

The system was demonstrated this weekend at a European Conference on Computer Vision workshop. Researchers James Charles, Derek Magee, and David Hogg offered a proof of concept for what they call “a generative computational model of a person’s motion, appearance, speech, language and their style of interaction and behavior.” After deconstructing all 236 episodes of Friends using software, they created language models that were able to build new sentences and speech for Joey. They then matched his new speech with corresponding mouth positions, which they digitally pasted over the mouth position from LeBlanc’s original performance.

The Implications Are Fun to Consider Read more on Researchers resurrect Joey from Friends as a video chatbot…

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Call: Cognitive Architectures for Artificial Minds – Special issue of Journal of Cognitive Systems Research

SPECIAL ISSUE ON:
COGNITIVE ARCHITECTURES FOR ARTIFICIAL MINDS
Journal of Cognitive Systems Research

http://www.journals.elsevier.com/cognitive-systems-research/call-for-papers/special-issue-on-cognitive-architectures-for-artificial-mind

INTRODUCTION

The design and adaptation of Cognitive Architectures (CA) is a wide and active area of research in Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence and, more recently, in the areas of Computational Neuroscience, Cognitive Robotics, and Computational Cognitive Systems. Cognitive architectures have been historically introduced i) to capture, at the computational level, the invariant mechanisms of human cognition, including those underlying the functions of reasoning, control, learning, memory, adaptivity, perception and action, ii) to form the basis for the development of cognitive capabilities through ontogeny over extended periods of time, and iii) to reach human level intelligence, also called AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), by means of the realisation of artificial artefacts built upon them.

During the last decades many cognitive architectures have been realised, and agents based on such infrastructures, have been widely tested in several cognitive tasks involving reasoning, learning, perception, action execution, selective attention, recognition etc.

This special issue is intended to provide an overview of the research being carried out in the interdisciplinary area of cognitively inspired AI systems designed and integrated with existing or novel CA. Both papers presenting theoretical and applied research contribution in the field are welcome.

In particular the interests of this issue are focused (but not limited to) on papers addressing the following problems: i) how different cognitive functions can be successfully integrated in general cognitive artificial agents ii) how novel integrative approaches differ and improve previous perspectives adopted in cognitive architectures iii) how the integration of cognitive architectures with external cognitive systems (e.g. specialised in specific tasks such as natural language understanding; planning, multimodal perception etc.) can improve the local performance of cognitive agents while respecting the architectural requirements of general intelligence.

AREAS OF INTEREST Read more on Call: Cognitive Architectures for Artificial Minds – Special issue of Journal of Cognitive Systems Research…

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How augmented reality is fighting cultural erasure in East Harlem

[Presence scholars have emphasized virtual reality over augmented reality, but projects like the one described in this story from The Creators Project point to the potential of AR to evoke a meaningful altered perception of a place. See the original story for many more images. –Matthew]

AR from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Disaspora Institute

How Augmented Reality Is Fighting Cultural Erasure in East Harlem

Beverly Bryan — Oct 23 2016

Culture and history are vital, though often invisible, parts of any community, but the Mi Querido Barrio (My Beloved Community) augmented reality tour, presented by New York City’s Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), showcases the many different ways AR can make visible the unseen. The digital art project is part of the Home, Memory and Future exhibition celebrating the Caribbean Cultural Center’s grand reopening in its new East Harlem location.

Using the AR app Blippar, anyone with a smartphone and a guide to the tour’s location markers can point their phone at landmarks across the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood and unlock augments—artworks, photographs, and interactive features—that bring the past to life. A marker in front of a 7 Eleven, for example, reveals that it was the original location of Justo Botánica, a famous and long-standing spiritual emporium that was given just 30 days to vacate the building along with five other small businesses.

Oliver Rios, one of several artists who participated in Mi Querido Barrio, grew up in the historically Latinx area, often affectionately called El Barrio, and still lives there. He remembers when it was a place rich in culture though economically poor, circumstances that are reversing as high rises replace brownstones. The 44-year-old graphic artist spent his youth doing graffiti and painting anti-drug and anti-violence murals and memorials. In some cases, the buildings he painted simply aren’t there anymore.

When Rios heard about Mi Querido Barrio, he volunteered to contribute his photographs from that time, which can now be viewed on residents’ smartphones. He believes AR technology can strengthen his community: “It is a great way to not only educate, but preserve and connect. I think that the more people start using it, especially the younger generation, the more they are going to open their eyes and want to reinvent,” he says. Read more on How augmented reality is fighting cultural erasure in East Harlem…

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