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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Call: Participatory Design Conference (PDC) – ‘Participatory Design, Democracy and Politics’

Call for Papers and Participation

The 16th biennial Participatory Design Conference (PDC)
“Participatory Design, Democracy and Politics”
201-24 August 2018
Hasselt & Genk, Belgium

Full papers deadline: 10 November 2017

Read more on Call: Participatory Design Conference (PDC) – ‘Participatory Design, Democracy and Politics’…

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Marketers take a trip to 2020 in News Corp.’s Home of the Future

[There are lots of examples of technologies designed to evoke presence in the ‘Home of the Future’ described in this story from Advertising Age. The original story includes a large photo gallery, there’s a 3:24 minute 360 video tour on Vimeo, you can explore the Home in interactive 360 images or VR at the Home of the Future website, and the press release is available from Unruly. –Matthew]

Marketers Take a Trip to 2020 in News Corp.’s Home of the Future

By Emma Hall. Published on May 11, 2017.

A wardrobe that matches your outfit to the weather forecast. An online shopping assistant who knows you well enough to purchase new products for you. Art that adjusts itself to your mood.

These futuristic concepts are a reality in a 2,000 square foot “Home of the Future,” created by News Corp. and ad tech company Unruly in partnership with marketers including Amazon Launchpad, PepsiCo, Heineken, eBay, Unilever, HTC, Nokia Health, and Tesco.

The installation opening today in London has been created to give marketers and agencies a first-hand experience of the connected home, and a chance to think about how they might use it to engage consumers. It will be a permanent fixture at Unruly’s London office and a pop-up version will be installed at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next month. Another temporary version has been set up at Unruly’s New York office.

Unruly will add new partners and update the space regularly – runway show holograms and virtual furniture installations are not far off – as well as introducing seasonal and thematic experiences for Christmas or major sporting events.

Regular Facebook Live streams will bring audiences into the home, and provide updates on the latest “technosocial” trends and innovations. Read more on Marketers take a trip to 2020 in News Corp.’s Home of the Future…

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Job: Professor of Digital Living (with tenure) at Northumbria University, UK

Northumbria University, UK
Position: Professor of Digital Living (with tenure)
Faculty: Engineering and Environment

Deadline: 7th June 2016

Northumbria University, UK, is currently recruiting for a Professor of Digital Living. To further strengthen our world-leading research we are investing to develop exciting opportunities in multi-disciplinary research areas. The Digital Living multidisciplinary research theme draws together expertise from the Faculty of Engineering & Environment, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Faculty of Business & Law and Faculty of Art, Design and Social Sciences.

We are particularly keen to encourage applications from those with research interests in the areas of: Urban Informatics, Human-Computer Interaction, Data Analytics, Social Computing, Interactive Architecture, Smart Cities.

Successful applicants would join either the Department of Computer and Information Science or the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, and will become part of the strong community of HCI researchers at Northumbria (see: Read more on Job: Professor of Digital Living (with tenure) at Northumbria University, UK…

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This dystopian wearable detects AIs pretending to be humans

[The tool described in this story from Motherboard addresses, and hopefully will raise awareness about, a key ethical challenge of evolving presence-evoking technologies: the obligation to make presence experiences voluntary. It reminds me of the tools, such as ad skipping features in DVRs, developed in the conflicting efforts of advertisers to reach consumers and consumers to avoid forced exposure to advertising messages, but with potentially much more far-reaching consequences. –Matthew]

[Image: Flickr/Abode of Chaos]

This Dystopian Wearable Detects AIs Pretending to Be Humans

The ‘Anti-AI AI’ will literally send a chill down your spine.

Jordan Pearson
May 26, 2017

As AI algorithms that can impersonate the human voice get better and better, it might not be long before you pick up the phone and genuinely can’t tell if you’re talking to a human or a machine that’s been trained to sound like one. In the far future, you might not be able to tell the difference in person, either.

In this vision of a future filled with computers pretending to be people, you might need a device like the Anti-AI AI. Designed as a fun proof-of-concept by Australian firm DT, the device uses essentially the same algorithms that impersonate human voices to detect if you’re being spoken to by a computer. If the Anti-AI AI clocks some synthesized vocal patterns, it uses a thermoelectric plate to literally send a chill down your spine. The prototype isn’t pretty at the moment, but a video shows the device discriminating between a recording of the real Donald Trump, and an AI-generated impersonator.

DT’s mock-ups of the Anti-AI AI envision a sleek wearable that rests behind the ear. Imagine: It’s the year 2060 and you’re talking about your day at the cricket farm with a new barista at your usual coffee spot. Suddenly, you feel it working its way down your goosebump-covered neck. This isn’t a person you’re conversing with.

Or, maybe it’s 2023 and you’re listening to the news. The anchor throws to some new, damning audio from America’s latest horrorshow president. You’re shocked, but doubly so when your AI speech-detecting wearable goes off. Read more on This dystopian wearable detects AIs pretending to be humans…

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Call: Perceiving Video Games – Young Academics Workshop at Clash of Realities 2017

Call for Papers

Perceiving Video Games
Young Academics Workshop – Pre-conference event at the Clash of Realities 2017
Monday, November 6, 2017
Location: Cologne Game Lab (Cologne, Germany),

Organized by the Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences (Germany) in cooperation with IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Workshop committee: Federico Alvarez (CGL), Curtis Maughan (CGL), Michael S. Debus (ITU)

Submission deadline for abstracts: July 28

Whenever we interact with video games we engage in different modes of perception. Video games are complex artifacts that bombard players with myriad stimuli, prompting them to act in particular ways. These stimuli are not only absorbed through the senses, but they are also processed and interpreted for meaning.

How do human cognitive and emotional capacities relate to video games? How does changing our behavior within a game affect the perception we have of it? How do different themes and topics influence our perception of particular game mechanics (and vice versa)? How do technological advancements (VR, AR) change our perception of familiar games or genres? This workshop will bring the human component of gaming to the foreground of the discussion, from low-level processes of perception to high-level rational thinking and meaning making.

Aiming to favor an interdisciplinary exchange, we encourage submissions from all corners of the game studies field – such as cognitive science, social science, philosophy, media studies, literature, and art history – with diverse approaches to the object of study, from the strictly empirical to the purely conceptual. Submissions should focus on perception, cognition, and the ways in which players experience and make meaning of games.

The call is aimed at young academics, i.e. those who have recently entered the academic world: PhD students, Postdocs, and Master and Bachelor students working on their thesis.

Participants will hold 15-minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of discussion. They will also be offered the possibility to prepare a poster about their research that will be displayed in a public space during the main conference days.

Applicants should submit abstracts (no longer than 250 words) along with a bibliography/ludography to

All submissions will be assessed by a peer-review committee. Read more on Call: Perceiving Video Games – Young Academics Workshop at Clash of Realities 2017…

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Montreal schizophrenia patients face their demons through virtual reality

[A treatment that uses presence to treat schizophrenia is yielding promising results, as reported in this story from CBC News (where it includes four more images and related links). –Matthew]

[Image: The Philippe-Pinel Institute’s pilot project has patients such as Richard Breton designing and facing their inner demons with the help of virtual reality technology. (Radio-Canada)]

Montreal schizophrenia patients face their demons through virtual reality

New experimental treatment has patients interact with avatars they design to reflect what they see and hear

CBC News
May 23, 2017

A pilot project at Montreal’s Philippe-Pinel Institute has patients with schizophrenia confronting voices that torment them by way of a virtual reality experience.

The project, developed by psychiatrist and researcher Alexandre Dumais, allows patients to create computer-generated avatars that look and talk like the demons they face inside their heads.

Richard Breton, a 52-year-old father of two, has struggled with schizophrenia since his early 20s. He told CBC’s French-language service that his episodes of psychosis and paranoia at times put his life at risk.

Tormented by voices and hallucinations despite medication and traditional therapy, Breton turned to Pinel’s pilot project.

He was the first participant in the project, inspired by a U.K. study conducted in 2010.

Breton described the appearance of his internal tormentor to a design technician, and with the help of a virtual reality headset, came face to face with that tormentor projected before his eyes. Read more on Montreal schizophrenia patients face their demons through virtual reality…

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Job: Postdoctoral position on design of museum experiences at IT University of Copenhagen

Postdoctoral position in the GIFT project on design of museum experiences
The IT University of Copenhagen

Application Deadline: 6 June 2017

The IT University of Copenhagen invites highly motivated individuals to apply for a postdoc position starting on 1 September 2017 or soon thereafter for a duration of one year, with a possibility for extension.

The position will form part of a Horizon 2020 project entitled “Meaningful Personalization of Hybrid Virtual Museum Experiences Through Gifting and Appropriation (The GIFT project)”, at the Center for Computer Games Research. The GIFT project aims to develop a framework with tools, theory, and best practice guidelines to guide the development of mobile apps for museums that facilitate personalized experiences of both digital and physical museum exhibitions, along with two prototypes of such applications.

The project includes 6 European research partners beside ITU: Blast Theory (UK), NextGame (RS), University of Nottingham (UK), University of Uppsala (SE), European Foundation (NL) and Culture24 (UK). In addition, the project will work with representatives from museums in 8 countries: Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Norway, Serbia and the US.

For more information, see the project website:

Candidates for the positions will be expected to contribute to both the project’s outcome and research goals. The project’s outcome goals include:

  • Formulating a set of best practice guidelines for meaningful personalisation of hybrid virtual museum experiences, based on an action research process with a panel of museum partners;
  • Contribute to the design of prototypes for hybrid virtual museum experiences;
  • Study, validate and evaluate prototypes developed by project partners.

In addition, the project has the following research goals:

  • Develop innovative approaches to the design of playful experiences with art and cultural heritage;
  • Formulate new perspectives on pervasive games and other playful experiences that incorporate both physical and virtual presence;
  • Propose new approaches for facilitating personalized experiences with cultural heritage, which aim to bridge or problematize the distances between audiences, and heritage, e.g. cultural, historical, ideological, aesthetic, or other.

The postdoctoral researcher’s task is to contribute to the development of the overall GIFT framework by consolidating knowledge from design experiments and action research into design guidelines that can be used by museum professionals and designers. The researcher’s main task is to help to turn project’s research results into actionable guidelines for designers and other practitioners. This may entail both practical design work as well as studying and reviewing experimental results from other parts of the GIFT project. In addition, the candidate may be asked to contribute to developing new proposals for external funding. We seek a highly motivated candidate with interest in researching and designing for museums and other cultural institutions. Experience with applications for research funding is also valued. Technical competencies with relevant technologies (e.g. mobile application development, mixed reality/augmented reality applications, etc.) is a plus but is not necessary. The candidate is expected to do research resulting in one or more publications at a high international level, including the project’s planned midway symposium, final conference, and anthology. The project is based on a strong international team with an ambitious publication strategy and great interest in supporting younger researchers to succeed with their research. The project team aims to develop several high-quality co-authored publications, to which the postdoctoral researcher is expected to contribute.


  • PhD in a relevant field such as design, media, and communication, computer games, computer science, arts, museology or other cognate areas.
  • Candidates should have a high level of oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Candidates who can document practical experience with design and/or development in the field are prioritized.

Read more on Job: Postdoctoral position on design of museum experiences at IT University of Copenhagen…

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‘North Korea VR’ is an extraordinary glimpse of the world’s most oppressive country

[Presence via virtual reality lets us explore places most of us can never visit but that we need to better understand. This story is from Mashable, where it includes more images and a 4:37 minute video. See also coverage in Wired, and a closely related December 2015 post in ISPR Presence News. –Matthew]

‘North Korea VR’ is an extraordinary glimpse of the world’s most oppressive country

By Gianluca Mezzofiore
May 04, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has really upped the war of words with North Korea in the past few months, prompting an endless flow of news reports about the hermit regime.

What these reports often leave out, though, is the daily life in the North’s capital.

People commuting, playing, cycling, praying, chatting, moving around the city. What is it like to live in one of the most authoritarian, secretive places on earth?

To try to answer this question and fill a massive curiosity gap, a Swedish startup has produced a fascinating virtual reality experience that parachutes you straight into the streetlife of urban North Koreans.

From the outset, it is clear that North Korea VR is more than your simple 360-degree video.

Using the SceneThere platform, users have the chance to interact with the video and stay longer in that world, to explore at their own pace.

“We’re interested in 360 videos, they’re a great medium to report in amazing places — not framing reality but actually going in and seeing it. But they’re limited,” said Marcus Olsson, the cofounder and CEO of Swedish startup SceneThere.

“Until now it wasn’t possible to change camera position, it was up to the director. We’re giving a chance for people to walk around and explore at their own pace.” Read more on ‘North Korea VR’ is an extraordinary glimpse of the world’s most oppressive country…

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Call: AIC 2017 – 5th Edition of the International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Cognition


AIC 2017
5th Edition of the International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Cognition
Larnaca, Cyprus, November 1-3 2017
Workshop website:
Follow us on Twitter:
hashtag: #aic2017ws

Paper submission deadline: July 15, 2017


The research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been based, from an historical standpoint, on a strong collaboration with Cognitive Science. This collaboration, has produced – along the years – mutual benefits. In AI this partnership has driven to the realization of intelligent systems based on plausible models of human cognition.

In turn, in cognitive science, this partnership allowed the development of cognitive models and architectures providing greater understanding on human thinking.

In recent years, after a period of partial fragmentation of the research directions, the area of cognitively inspired artificial systems is progressively attracting a renewed attention both from academia and industry and the awareness about the need for additional research in this interdisciplinary field is gaining widespread acceptance.

AIC 2017 is the 5th appointment of the workshop series AIC (, started in 2013 and stemming from the need of creating an international scientific forum for the discussion and the presentation of the theoretical and applied research developments in the field of cognitively inspired Artificial Intelligence.

SPECIAL-FOCUS: AIC 2017 particularly welcome papers related to the problems concerning cognitively-inspired methods of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Knowledge Acquisition and Learning, Knowledge Processing Mechanisms in Cognitive Systems and Architectures

As for the previous editions, the AIC 2017 workshop aims at putting together researchers coming from different domains (e.g., artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, engineering, philosophy, social sciences, etc.) working on the interdisciplinary field of cognitively inspired artificial systems.

Both papers spotlighting theoretical issues and experimental research in the field are welcome. We also particularly welcome papers raising challenging questions, innovative ideas and out of the box thinking and which, as a consequence, can help to promote interesting discussions at the workshop.

Argument & Cognition: AIC 2017 will host the launching of a new workshop on Argument and Cognition as a special session/track within the AIC program. This will aim to examine the kinks between the computational nature of human reasoning and the dialectical nature of argumentation. In particular, it will address the question of how argumentation could form an underlying theoretical and practical basis for building Cognitive Systems. Papers in this special session will concern the synthesis of work from Cognitive Science and Psychology on (high-level) aspects of cognition with work on Argumentation in Artificial Intelligence and other fields. (Some further information on this link of Argument and Cognition can be found at


Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Knowledge Representation and Cognition (e.g. Neural Networks models, Ontologies and representation of common sense etc.)
  • Cognitive Architectures (e.g. SOAR, ACT-R) and Cognitive modelling for Artificial Systems
  • I.C.A. (Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures) and systems
  • Cognitive Robotics
  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Evaluation of cognitively driven AI systems compared with other AI approaches
  • Cognition and Semantic Web
  • Methodological open questions on AI and Cognition
  • Automated reasoning: deductive, probabilistic, diagnostic, causal and analogical inference
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Historical and theoretical relation among Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence
  • Knowledge discovery and acquisition
  • Modelling of human learning and knowledge acquisition in complex domains
  • Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing & Understanding
  • Logic and Reasoning
  • Evolutionary Computation
  • Cognitively inspired Machine Learning
  • Computational Theories of Learning
  • Computational Models of Narrative for Artificial Systems (Visuo-Auditory Narrativity, Perception)
  • Cognition and Moving Image
  • Computational Creativity
  • Decision Support Systems

Topics for the special session on Argument and Cognition include links of Argumentation with:

  • Human Reasoning
  • Human Decision Making
  • Comprehension
  • Persuasion
  • Learning
  • Computational Cognition
  • Cognitive Systems design

Read more on Call: AIC 2017 – 5th Edition of the International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Cognition…

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Newcastle U study explores prospects and ethics of VR porn

[This news release from Newcastle University describes a new study that raises important questions about the ethics of presence in the context of sexuality; see also researcher Matt Bloom’s opinion piece in The Conversation. –Matthew]

The ‘reality’ of virtual reality pornography

How the latest digital technology could blur the line between reality and fantasy, pushing the dangers of porn to a whole new level.

Published on: 19 May 2017

Experts at Newcastle University, UK, are investigating how virtual reality is changing the experience of pornography.

Through headsets such as the Facebook owned Oculus Rift and Playstation VR, the technology allows the user to become an active part of these ‘new’ sexual experiences.

Presenting their research at the CHI 2017 conference, the Newcastle team say the growing popularity of VR technologies that put users into experiences where previously they were an onlooker, could mean the extreme, degrading or even abusive imagery in pornography becoming all the more ‘real’.

Now the team, based in Open Lab, part of Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science, are calling on the digital community to take responsibility for this emerging technology and to help inform the development of this “very prominent, but not often talked about, ‘human-computer’ interaction”. Read more on Newcastle U study explores prospects and ethics of VR porn…

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