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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Call: Ethical issues around computers: 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration

Conference title: 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Monday to Wednesday, 07.-09. September 2015

www.dmu.ac.uk/ethicomp2015

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

In 1995 the first ETHICOMP conference was held in Leicester, England, organised by Terry Bynum and Simon Rogerson. Its purpose was to provide a forum to discuss ethical issues around computers. Twenty years later we are meeting again in Leicester to continue this conversation. The changes in information and communication technology (ICT) during these 20 years have been dramatic. While computers used to be bulky and easily identifiable machines, we now have small smart devices, the internet quickly developed and has changed significantly, and ICT now pervades all walks of life, from the way we work and communicate to study, undertake childcare and choose partners. As a consequence many of the concerns of 1995 have deepened and many new ones have arisen.

During ETHICOMP 2015, we will review ethical and social issues raised by contemporary computing and look at ways of identifying and addressing them in the future. The conference aims to be practically relevant and bring together the various communities involved in the development, implementation, and use of computing and reflection on these in their various guises. The conference is based on the belief that the ETHICOMP community, together with other associations and groups, needs to work together to enable the benefits of computing to prevail, while rendering its downsides and ethical ambiguities visible and more subject to public debate than is the case today.

To structure the discussion we invite submissions to the following tracks (check website for more detailed description of tracks):

  • Researchers’ issues in Computer Ethics / Information Ethics studies (Gonçalo Jorge Morais Costa, Małgorzata Alicja Płotka)
  • Social Impacts of Snowden’s Revelations: Worldwide Cross-cultural Analyses (Kiyoshi Murata)
  • Digital Do-It-Yourself (DiDIY) (Vincent C. Müller)
  • Responsible Research & Innovation in Industry (Catherine Flick)
  • ICT and Society: social accountability, professional ethics and the challenges of virtuality and the cloud (Diane Whitehouse)
  • Teaching and professional ethics (Malgorzata Plotka, Gonçalo Jorge Morais Costa,)
  • Robo-ethics (Kathleen Richardson)
  • Open track (topics of relevance that do not fit any of the themes) (Mark Coeckelbergh)
  • New ideas on bringing people together / novel formats (Andy Bissett)

Abstracts covering one or several of these perspectives are called for from business, government, computer science, information systems, law, media, anthropology, andragogy, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Interdisciplinary papers and those from new researchers and practitioners are encouraged. A paper might take a conceptual, applied, practical or historical focus. Case studies and reports on lessons learned in practice are welcome. Read more on Call: Ethical issues around computers: 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration…

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Project Nourished uses VR to let us eat anything without regret

[From PSFK, where the story includes more images]

Project Nourished

Virtual Reality May Enable Us to Eat Anything Without Regret

Project Nourished aims to reduce obesity and food related illnesses with substitute foods and virtual tricks of the mind

By Kiran Umapathy on January 22, 2015

In a creative new use of technology, Los Angeles-based Kokiri Lab is in the development stages of what it calls a gastronomical virtual reality experience. The idea, called Project Nourished, would replicate foods high in calories with substitutes, while the eater experiences a virtual reality where they consume the originally desired food items.

Interestingly, the idea was inspired by the film Hook, starring the late Robin Williams. Project Nourished shares the story on its website:

In the fall of 2014, a group of our friends got together for dinner and started to joke around with the idea of recreating Peter Pan’s imaginary dinner table. A few days later, I saw my step-dad looking pretty grim after not being able to eat the foods he used to enjoy – due to diabetes. As someone who has allergies to gluten and soy, I was able to relate to what he was going through. I then asked myself, “Would it be possible to imagine having a feast just like Peter Pan did without really eating?”

The technology behind the idea includes a VR headset, food detection sensor, motion sensor and aromatic diffusers, all critical to simulating a realistic dining experience and duping the brain into thinking the food being eaten is the food viewed on virtual display. Read more on Project Nourished uses VR to let us eat anything without regret…

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Call: Workshop Proposals for Critical Alternatives 2015

Call for Workshop Proposals: Critical Alternatives 2015

Aarhus, Denmark
17 or 18 August, 2015

We hereby invite workshop proposals for Critical Alternatives 2015, (http://www.aarhus2015.org).

The fifth decennial Aarhus conference, Critical Alternatives, aims to set new agendas for theory and practice in computing for quality of human life. Workshops at the conference provide an opportunity to discuss and build communities around specific issues and topics within the field of information technology. This is inherently an interdisciplinary conference, and we invite workshop organisers to consider how different perspectives can help establish constructive and critical discussions of workshop themes. Workshops are intended to foster discussion and exchange. Because focused interaction among participants is important, participants should have informed positions based on prior experience, as expressed in their position papers. Workshops should not be miniature paper presentation sessions, but focus on community building and communal knowledge creation.

Workshops are full-day events held at the start of the conference on 17 or 18 august 2015. Workshop proposals should aim to attract between 10 – 25 participants, and plan for around six working hours, with scheduled morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. There are two groups of people involved in a workshop: the organizers and the participants. Organizers are responsible for the workshop’s topic, logistics, and final outcome. Participants are responsible for the content and discussion. Read more on Call: Workshop Proposals for Critical Alternatives 2015…

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Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft’s intriguing mixed reality product

[Coverage of Microsoft’s demonstration of its new Hololens technology is all over the web today; this detailed description is from The Verge, where the story includes more pictures, a 3:56 minute video report, and Microsoft’s 2:12 minute concept video]

Microsoft's Hololens - Minecraft demo

Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft’s most intriguing product in years

Welcome to the age of holographs

By Dieter Bohn and Tom Warren
on January 21, 2015

We just finished a heavily scripted, carefully managed, and completely amazing demonstration of Microsoft’s HoloLens technology. Four demos, actually, each designed to show off a different use case for a headset that projects holograms into real space. We played Minecraft on a coffee table. We had somebody chart out how to fix a light switch right on top of the very thing we were fixing.

We walked on Mars.

You’ll notice there aren’t photos here, and that’s because before we were even allowed into the labs where the HoloLens team tests out its user experiences, we had to deposit our cameras and phones into a locker. No recording equipment of any kind was allowed, not even audio. We entered the basement below Microsoft’s visitor center laughing at the absurdity of it all — many reporters needed to get notepads from the company and weren’t carrying pens, either.

But it was all worth it, because HoloLens is probably the most intriguing (and, in many ways, most infuriating) technology we’ve experienced since the Oculus Rift. And there are many parallels with the Rift to be had: both are immersive, but in different ways; both require you to strap a weird thing on your head; both leave you grinning like at absolute idiot at a scene only you can see. And, crucially, both need more work when it comes to thinking through exactly how to control and interact with virtual things. Read more on Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft’s intriguing mixed reality product…

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Call: Second International Workshop on Multiagent Foundations of Social Computing

Second International Workshop on Multiagent Foundations of Social Computing
http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/chopraak/mfsc-2015/index.html

Co-located with AAMAS 2015 (http://www.aamas2015.com/)
4-8 May, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey

Social computing broadly refers to computing-supported approaches that facilitate interactions among people and organizations. Social computing has emerged as an exciting multidisciplinary area of research, driven by the wealth of easily available information and the success of online social networks and social media. Social computing applications are characterized by high interactivity among users, user-generated content, and in cases such as Wikipedia, more open governance structures.

Much of the recent excitement in social computing is driven by data analytics and business models. The aim of this workshop is to promote a deeper conceptual understanding of social computing — e.g., relating to its conceptual bases, information and abstractions, design principles, and platforms. We invite original thought-provoking papers that take an explicitly multiagent approach in addressing these gaps. We encourage well-argued position papers and vision papers. We also invite papers that present novel multiagent abstractions, methodologies, architecture, and techniques for social computing.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Governance
  • Security and privacy
  • Models of social interaction
  • Social expectations and norms
  • Accountability
  • Social middleware
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Collective intelligence
  • Social intelligence
  • Human computation
  • Information models and data analytics
  • Provenance
  • Social sensing
  • Applications such as healthcare and smart cities
  • Participatory decision-making
  • Argumentation
  • Organizations
  • Teamwork

Read more on Call: Second International Workshop on Multiagent Foundations of Social Computing…

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Teen girls report less sexual victimization after VR assertiveness training

[From Southern Methodist University]

Teen girls holding hands

Teen girls report less sexual victimization after virtual reality assertiveness training

Study participants in the “My Voice, My Choice” program practiced saying “no” to unwanted sexual advances in an immersive virtual environment

Posted on January 20, 2015
By Margaret Allen

Teen girls were less likely to report being sexually victimized after learning to assertively resist unwanted sexual overtures and practicing resistance in a realistic virtual environment, finds a new study.

The effects persisted over a three-month period following the training, said clinical psychologist Lorelei Simpson Rowe, lead author on the pilot study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

The research also found that those girls who had previously experienced dating violence reported lower levels of psychological aggression and psychological distress after completing the program, relative to girls in a comparison group.

“The virtual simulations allowed girls to practice being assertive in a realistic environment. The intent of the program is for the learning opportunity to increase the likelihood that they will use the skills in real life,” said Simpson Rowe, an associate professor and graduate program co-director in the SMU Department of Psychology. “Research has shown that skills are more likely to generalize if they are practiced in a realistic environment, so we used virtual reality to increase the realism.” Read more on Teen girls report less sexual victimization after VR assertiveness training…

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Jobs: 5 faculty positions at Cologne Game Lab, Cologne University of Applied Sciences

Faculty Job Openings at the Cologne Game Lab, Germany (Application deadline for all professorships is January 29, 2015)

General Info here: http://www.colognegamelab.de/five-new-professorships-to-be-appointed-in-2015/

Read more on Jobs: 5 faculty positions at Cologne Game Lab, Cologne University of Applied Sciences…

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Oculus Rift gets more virtual reality porn with Red Light Center

[From VentureBeat, where the story includes an additional image; for more coverage see the San Francisco Business Times]

Utherverse Red Light Center

Oculus Rift gets more virtual reality porn with Red Light Center

January 15, 2015
Dean Takahashi

Adult entertainment and technology have gone hand in hand throughout history. That’s why Utherverse Digital is announcing today that its 3D animated virtual world, RedLightCenter.com, will soon run on the Oculus Rift virtual reality platform.

RedLightCenter.com is an X-rated world where players can engage in virtual sex and all sorts of other adult fun. It has been around for more than a decade, but with version 2.0, the world will be viewable with virtual reality goggles such as the Oculus Rift. That means the animated world will be a lot more immersive and feel like you’re really there, said Utherverse chief executive Brian Shuster, in an interview with VentureBeat. The X-rated world may very well be the first massively multiplayer online world to debut on the Oculus platform. Read more on Oculus Rift gets more virtual reality porn with Red Light Center…

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Call: Interaction Design for Pervasive and Smart Workplaces – HWID2015 working conference

Call for Papers

HWID2015 working conference on “Interaction Design for Pervasive and Smart Workplaces”

uwl.ac.uk/hwid2015

Venue: University of West London, Brentford Site, Boston Manor Road, TW8 9GA, United Kingdom

Wednesday and Thursday, 25th – 26th of June 2015, in London, United Kingdom

Deadline for submissions: 1st of February 2015.

THEME, SCOPE AND FOCUS:

The HUMAN WORK INTERACTION DESIGN 2015 (HWID 2015) working conference focuses on the integration of work analysis and interaction design methods for pervasive and smart workplaces.

Pervasive and smart technologies have pushed work-place configuration beyond linear logic and physical boundaries. As a result, workers’ experience of and access to technology is increasingly pervasive, and their agency constantly reconfigured. While this in certain areas of work is not new (e.g., technology mediation and decision support in air traffic control), more recent developments in other domains such as healthcare (e.g., Augmented Reality in Computer Aided Surgery) have raised challenging issues for HCI researchers and practitioners. The question now is: how to improve the quality of workers’ experience and outputs?

This working conference focuses on answering this question to support professionals, academia, national labs, and industry engaged in human work analysis and interaction design for the workplace. Conversely, tools, procedures, and professional competences for designing human-centered technologies for pervasive and smart workplaces will be discussed.

We are looking for submissions that provide the HCI field with sound tools, procedures, and professional competencies for designing human-centered technologies for pervasive and smart workplaces. Submissions will include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following topics:

  • Learning from participants’ experiences in different work domains when applying work analysis to support the interaction design of pervasive and smart workplaces;
  • Exploring how work analysis and interaction design have evolved, have to evolve, and can be made to co-evolve in order to support workers in pervasive and smart workplaces;
  • Identify novel ideas, principles, and techniques for how interaction design for pervasive and smart workplaces can ensure high quality usability and user experience for workers;
  • Addressing the sociotechnical gap in work analysis and interaction design, specifically the little understood gap between social requirements and technical designs.
  • Designing simple interactions for complex work domains. How humans can manage the workers’ user experiences in pervasive and smart workplaces. These include enterprise, scientific and safety critical systems as well as fields such as digital archeology / heritage computing.

Read more on Call: Interaction Design for Pervasive and Smart Workplaces – HWID2015 working conference…

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Inside the NBA’s plan to give every fan a VR courtside seat

[From Fast Company, where the story includes another picture]

Courtside at an NBA game

Inside The NBA’s Plan To Give Every Fan A (Virtual Reality) Courtside Seat

In February, the league will begin serving up 360-degree video on Samsung’s Milk VR. But it’s already thinking much bigger.

By Jason Feifer
January 5, 2015

The NBA has a problem of its own making: It has spent years and many millions of dollars fostering international basketball fandom, and now has large and enthusiastic bases in places like China and India. But most far-flung viewers only know the NBA as a television show. They will never be inside an arena, cheering with other fans, having the kind of experience that turns casual fans into lifelong ones.

That’s why the basketball league is now toying with a big idea: What if fans everywhere could attend games using virtual reality—just put on some goggles, and score the best seat in the house? “When the day comes that 100 million or a billion people from mainland China can feel like they’re attending a Houston Rockets game courtside, that’s the dream. That’s the holy grail,” says Jeff Marsilio, the NBA’s associate vice president of global media distribution. “That’s what we’re working toward.”

We’re not quite there yet. But come February, basketball fans around the world will get regular doses of virtual-reality basketball. The NBA is an initial partner in Milk VR, the virtual reality video network that Samsung launched Monday. The league is still experimenting with the kind of content it will offer, and Marsilio says he’s thinking big—offering perspectives from courtside during games, mid-court during team practices, in the locker room before a game, and maybe even sitting at the table with on-air commentators. Read more on Inside the NBA’s plan to give every fan a VR courtside seat…

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