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Background: Things become networks, autonomous things with their own agency as result of the developments in artificial intelligence. The character of things is changing into things that predict, that have more knowledge than the human it interacts with. Things are building new kinds of relations with humans, predictive relations. What is the consequence of these predictive relations on the interaction with humans? Will the things that know more than we humans do, help us understand the complex world, or will the things start to prescribe behaviour to us without us even knowing? What is the role of predictive relations in the design practice of the future designer?

Project: As part of the research of designing for things that predict and the new relations we have with things as we build predictive relations, in this master graduation project we invite a student to hack an existing smart object and compare the relation we will have with this object.

In this project you will start with a compact literature review on mechanics of predictions in engineering interactions, the mechanics of mixed-initiative interactions, predictive analytics and cognitive working of predictions and modelling.

In the second part you will use these concepts of predictions in a ‘hacking case study’ of a smart object to extend it with predictive capabilities. With a ‘wizard of oz’-prototype you will do a research with designers and/or users to learn on the impact of new predicting smart objects.

Hacking existing objects with fictional prediction scenarios

You will be ‘hacking’ an existing smart object with predictive knowledge – extending the capabilities of the smart object with predictive capabilities. You use design methods to build knowledge on the mechanics of predictive capabilities from this process of ‘hacking’. Comparing customer journeys, context maps and service blueprints both without and with predictions. Get insights on the impact of the predictive knowledge by doing user research. Use methods from service and digital design and also methods from Thing Centered Design (Chang, Giaccardi, Chen, & Liang, 2017) to make intangible interactions tangible.

As an example four steps of the hacking case studies in this table. I use here the NEST learning thermostat as an example. In making the definite briefing we will decide what smart object will be starting point of your project.

Outcome: This master research project aims to contribute to the understanding of the role of predictive relations in designing the interactions we have with smart objects. The design of the smart object is not the primary outcome but a mean to be able to learn on the interactions.

Profile: This project fits a student that likes to explore new interactions, design fiction and do research. The project fits the best the DfI master.

Lab Director
Iskander Smit