Welcome to the Lunchtime series!

The lunchtime series are informal talks by scientists, artists, designers, and other (awe-)inspiring folks that we host in our group.

Time & Location:

HCI Library (Seminarraum 187 - Argentinierstr. 8, 2. floor)


If you would like to join online, email Kay at silvia-kay.kender@tuwien.ac.at and they will send you a zoom link!


Lunchtime Series is on Summer Break B-)

Looking for more food for thought? Katta Spiel organised an academically acclaimed public lecture series online that we highly recommend: Critical Perspectives - recordings of selected lectures from this series are available on Youtube.

Past Talks

Tuesday, 18.06.2024: Verena Fuchsberger - Material Manifestations of Remote Relationships

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Being together over distance can be challenging, despite the variety of digital tools being available that allow contact over distance. Focusing on the case of remote relationships of grandparents and grandchildren, I will discuss characteristics of such relationships, the role that tangibility plays in interactions over distance, and what design possibilities there are for materializing remote relationships that address enjoyable, but also wistful aspects.

Verena Fuchsberger ist Postdoc at the Human-Computer Interaction Division at Paris Lodron University Salzburg. Her research centers around the interplay of human and nonhuman actors in Human-Computer Interaction and Interaction Design, asking how they develop agency, negotiate power, and thereby change. Based on a new materialist understanding of how the world is made up, she particularly focuses on the material (re-)configurations of human-nonhuman networks.

Tuesday, 11.06.2024: Martin Warnke - Media Cultures of Machine Translation: A Perspective between Cultural Studies and Technology

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The shift from linguistics to Big Data offers the promise of accessibility to the vast knowledge of the world without linguistic barriers and continues to leave its mark. Beginning from the radical differences between intellectual (i.e., human), meaning-centered translation and machine-based translation freed from the constraints of semantics, Benjamin’s notion of »pure language« and the computerized large language models are now being thought alongside one another – and in light of current debates within cultural studies, these differences are being reassessed. An emerging epistemology of digital media seeks to describe these translation paradigms – moving back and forth between technical terminology and the terminology of cultural studies. How closely connected is Benjamin’s »pure language« – utterly bound to semantics – to current large language models that rely on artificial neural-networks and are utterly divorced from semantics? Are the latter influenced in any way by Benjamin’s ideas or concepts stemming from the realms of the humanities and cultural studies? Can the construction of concepts within these two different realms profit from one another?

Martin Warnke, studied in Berlin and Hamburg, received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics in Hamburg in 1984, was head of the Computing and Media Centre of Lüneburg University for many years, habilitated in Computer Science/Digital Media at Leuphana University Lüneburg in 2008 and has been a professor at the Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, of which he was the founding director, at the School of Culture and Society since 2010. He has held visiting professorships at the universities of Basel, Klagenfurt and Vienna. He is now Senior Fellow at ifk International Research Center for Cultural Studies | University of Art and Design Linz in Vienna.

He works in the field of the history and theory of digital media and the digital documentation of complex artefacts of the visual arts. He is the director of the Institute for Advanced Study "Media Cultures of Computer Simulation" (mecs). He founded the »HyperKult« workshop series, was spokesperson for the "Informatics and Society" section of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V. and is chairman of the Springhornhof Arts Club.

Tuesday, 21.05.2024: Doris Allhutter - What is critical about critical design? Looking at the micropolitics of design through the lens of sociomateriality, ideology, and hegemony

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As users of digital technologies, we often find ourselves in a paradox: we struggle with how they endanger our privacy, restrict our agency and how they materialize discriminatory worldviews - at the same time, we might love engaging with tech that inspires new ways of sociality, co-creation and collectivity. When creating systems, critical designers encounter a similar conundrum: they are urged to capitalize on the available data to make decision processes more efficient and to generate economic prosperity; they want to develop sound technical methods and deliver elegant solutions to real-world problems - at the same time, norms of technical feasibility and business mindsets limit their inventiveness on how design can co-create livable worlds for divers and inclusive societies. In this talk, I want to question what is critical in critical design approaches.

Doris Allhutter is a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the UNESCO Advisory Board on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and teaches Gender and Diversity in STEM at the JKU and New Materialism at the STS Department of the University of Vienna. Doris works with critical computing communities from an STS perspective and focuses on how ideologies and social inequality co-emerge with sociotechnical systems. She uses ethnography and deconstruction to trace the implicit normativity of computing practices and study how these practices are entrenched in societal power relations. Current work includes Automating Welfare https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/ita/projects/auto-welf.

Monday, 13.05.2024 (12:00!): Ruadhán James Flynn - Whose Standpoint Matters? Imagining Disability Justice

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Disability Justice is an "intersectional, multisystemic" way of thinking about disability and accessibility (Lazard, 2019). In this talk, I will give a brief outline of standpoint theory, and use it to argue that disability justice can only be imagined and achieved when disabled people's individual and collective knowledge dominates in accessibility design and implementation.

Ruadhán (pro: Roo-awn) is currently prae-doc on the FWF project "The Limits of Imagination" (University of Innsbruck), PhD candidate in the Vienna Doctoral School of Philosophy (University of Vienna), and guest researcher at the Messerli Research Institute (Vienna). His research is centred on theories and practices of dehumanization, currently focusing on cognitive disability as a category of social oppression. See: ruadhanjflynn.com.

16.04.2024: Julie A. Adams - Towards Adaptive Human-Robot Teams: Workload Estimation

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The ability for robots, be it a single robot, multiple robots or a robot swarm, to adapt to the humans with which they are teamed requires algorithms that allow robots to detect human performance in real time. The multi-dimensional workload algorithm incorporates physiological metrics to estimate overall workload and its components (i.e., cognitive, speech, auditory, visual and physical). The algorithm is sensitive to changes in a human’s individual workload components and overall workload across domains, human-robot teaming relationships (i.e., supervisory, peer-based), and individual differences. The algorithm has also been demonstrated to detect shifts in workload in real-time in order to adapt the robot’s interaction with the human and autonomously change task responsibilities when the human’s workload is over- or underloaded. Recently, the algorithm was used to post-hoc analyze the resulting workload for a single human deploying a heterogeneous robot swarm in an urban environment. Current efforts are focusing on predicting the human’s future workload, recognizing the human’s current tasks, and estimating workload for previously unseen tasks.

Dr. Adams is the founder of the Human-Machine Teaming Laboratory and the Associate Director of Research of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute. Adams has focused on human-machine teaming and distributed artificial intelligence for almost thirty-five years. Throughout her career she has focused on unmanned systems, but also focused on crewed civilian and military aircraft at Honeywell, Inc. and commercial, consumer and industrial systems at the Eastman Kodak Company. Her research, which is grounded in robotics applications for domains such as first response, archaeology, oceanography, and the U.S. military, focuses on distributed artificial intelligence, swarms, robotics and human-machine teaming. Dr. Adams is an NSF CAREER award recipient, an Army Mad Scientist, a Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Fellow and was recently appointed to the DARPA Information Science and Technology Study Group.

09.04.2024: Renate Baumgartner - The role of participatory design in developing inclusive AI in healthcare

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Development of AI in healthcare is a tricky process. Critical analysis of AI tools revealed different forms of bias present in tools used e.g., for skin cancer detection or blood oxygen level measurements. A social science perspective helps to make sure not only technical perspectives are present during a development process. Participatory design is one possibility among many to develop inclusive digital health technologies in healthcare by working in multidisciplinary teams and involving different, also marginalized stakeholders. This talk will explore the role of participatory design as one method among many and show its possibilities, strengths and weaknesses when it comes to developing AI-based technologies in healthcare.

Renate Baumgartner is an assistant professor of participatory AI at the Athena Institute at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research is on (inclusive) healthcare technologies using a feminist science and technology framework, qualitative research methods and participatory design.

05.03.2024: Mattia Thibault - Semiotic inquiries and design speculations: two mindsets in dialogue

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Design is a forward-looking activity, prefigurating future contexts and interactions. Semiotics is a discipline that looks backwards: the meaning we assign to things is often a posteriori. In this presentation I will argue that the two disciplines complement each other nicely, into an approach that is, at the same time, creative, critical and playful.*

Mattia Thibault is an Assistant Professor in Translation in the Creative Industries at Tampere University and has a PhD in Semiotics and Media. His research interests include semiotics and translation, speculative research, and playfulness in the built environment (real and digital). In Tampere, he is a member of the Language Unit and of the Research Centre in Gameful Realities. He is also the leader of the research group Interreal which focuses on the interrelations between different virtual spaces (and their inhabitants) and their connections with the “real” world. He is PI of the project NERX, funded by Business Finland and by several industrial partners, which investigates how extended realities can be integrated in a meaningful and accessible way with the Finnish creative industries. His postdoctoral project “ReClaim” focused on urban gamification and bottom-up and punk ways to use playfulness for good.


In addition to his online lunchtime series talk, Mattia will be visiting us and holding a Speculative Design workshop on Robosemiotics:

In this workshop we will make use of creative, emergent, and participative approaches to engage with “robosemiotics” as a key node in which reflections about human communication, technology, and otherness intersect. Without any necessity for realism, we will use the tools of speculative design to explore technological possibilities and impossibilities, to create fictional personas, to bring them to life with roleplay and bodystorming, and, finally, to critically reflect on our assumptions and ideologies when it comes to communicating with the other and to create mechanical creatures.

Registration is required for participating in this workshop. Registration is now closed.

Time: 13:00 - 17:30

Place: Argentinierstrasse 8, 2. Stock E193/5, 1040 Vienna

16.01.2024: Alejandra Gomez Ortega - Data Donation in Practice: Challenges and Lessons Learned

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Alejandra is a PhD Candidate at the Knowledge and Intelligence Design Group at the Delft University of Technology. Her research investigates data donation as an alternative way for designers and researchers to collaborate with people through their data. Specifically, she focuses on individual experiences interacting with and sharing data, privacy perceptions and considerations around data, and data themselves. Alejandra uses Research through Design and Participatory Design approaches to critique and envision alternative ways for people to interact with their data and for researchers to access and apply these data in their processes.

12.12.2023: Alexandra Fruhstorfer - Design for a Planet in Trouble

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Alexandra Fruhstorfer is a transdisciplinary designer with an investigative and research driven approach. Within her creative practice she questions prevalent political and cultural paradigms, while trying to embrace phenomena of accelerated technological and ecological change.

Using design as a strategic, yet playful tool she aims to enable more equitable imaginaries for our material culture on a planet in trouble. Experimenting with methods from industrial design, design research, social design and futuring Alexandra creates artefacts and experiences that aim to provide space for critical reflection and collaborative action.

As an advocate of a holistic and inclusive approach to her practice she works with stakeholders from science, culture, business, activism and the civil society in order to bring the transformative power of design to a broad audience.

You can find a selection of her work here https://www.alexandrafruhstorfer.com/

05.12.2023: Eva Hornecker - Re-Thinking Care Robots: From Substitution to Interaction

Picture of the ReThiCare project brochure

Most projects in the care robotics market start from an already clearly formulated goal vision and trajectory - that of rather complex, multifunctional robots, which tend to follow a specific imagination of robots, that of anthropomorphic machines. The remit of the ReThiCare project was to explore the much larger potential design space for robotic technology in elderly care. It envisioned care-robots as (potentially simple) assistive robotic helper machines and devices. It followed a user-centred, creative design and development approach, as well as design-led rapid prototyping methods, to demonstrate new possibilities for care technologies that support caregivers and enhance the quality of life of the cared-for. I will discuss the interdisciplinary, creative approach followed in the project and present example outcomes. These range from very unobtrusive helpers embedded in everyday objects (e.g. a cup that encourages fluid consumption) to more speculative, playful concepts that explores alternative roles for robots, which lighten up the monotony of life in care.

Eva Hornecker is a Professor in Human-Computer Interaction at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Her work is located at the intersection between technology, design, and the social sciences. She researched and taught, amongst others, in Bremen, the Vienna University of Technology, University of Sussex UK, Strathclyde University UK, and the HITLAB-NZ in New Zealand. Her research focuses on anything that is not classical desktop computing, but embodied, material, or embedded in physical environments, and utilizes mainly qualitative methods of enquiry. She co-founded the ACM TEI conference. In Weimar, she leads the HCI Master program.

7.11.2023: Sebastian Schlund - Towards Adaptive and Personalized Work Systems!

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Schlund is Full Professor for Industrial Engineering and Human-Machine Interaction, head of the Institute of Management Science at TU Wien and head of Center for Sustainable Manufacturing and Logistics at Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH.

He researches and teaches in the field of digitally and automatically supported work design in manufacturing with a focus on assistance systems, work organization, human-machine partnership, and work-based learning. He is acting president of the Austrian Scientific Society for Production Technology (ÖWGP) and board member of the GfA (Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft).

Sebastian Schlund studied transport engineering at the TU Berlin and the INSA Lyon and earned his doctorate in quality management at the University of Wuppertal. Until 2017 he was assistant professor at the University of Stuttgart and head of the Production Management Competence Center at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO).