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Aesthetics of Intelligence: Designing User Experience for Systems of Smart Things

Lin-Lin Chen
Professor, Industrial and Commercial Design, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology


Newell-Simon Hall 1305 (Michael Mauldin Auditorium)

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The vision of a smart environment, where invisible technologies seamlessly support people’s daily activities, is closer to becoming reality. After decades of research, smart things have become commonly available and are being adopted into people’s homes.

Despite of the commercial optimism, several long-standing challenges remain unresolved. One such challenge is the “intelligibility” problem (Bellotti, 2001): how people can understand smart systems, and vice versa. Time and time again, studies of people living in smart environments revealed mutual misunderstanding — smart things fail to decipher intents behind sensed user behaviours, and people fail to understand the reasoning behind actions taken by smart things. Without making the machine intelligence comprehensible, systems of smart things can never become truly useful, usable and enjoyable.

In this talk, I will share our thoughts on “aesthetic of intelligence”, a phrase coined by Stephan Wensveen during a discussion: how to design user experience for systems of smart things, so that people perceive the machine intelligence behind such systems to be aesthetically pleasing — rather than autonomously making “ugly” decisions for them!

Speaker's Bio

Lin-Lin Chen is professor in the department of industrial and commercial design at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) and in the faculty of industrial design at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. She received B.S. degree from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the United States. She was dean of the college of design at Taiwan Tech from 2004 to 2010, president of the Chinese Institute of Design from 2007 to 2008, and convener for the arts (and design) area committee of Taiwan’s National Science Council (now Ministry of Science and Technology) from 2009 to 2011. She is currently editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Design (SCI, SSCI, AHCI), vice president of the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), and fellow of the Design Research Society. Her research focuses on designing user experience of smart things, product aesthetics, interdisciplinary collaboration, and design innovation strategy.

John Zimmerman