Day 1 – Opening Plenary Notes

Here are my very nearly unedited notes from the opening plenary given by Genevieve Bell (Intel), taken on my mobile device…

“CHI has been around for a long time, and you haven’t turned turned the opening talk into either a drinking game or bingo. As an Australian, I found this lacking.”
Ethnography and anthropology.
What are real consumers? They don’t have kids and white furniture, or all stare transfixed with such pleasure as in marketing photos..

Future involves shifts:
Demographic shifts – toward 75pct of people living in cities
and those may mean crises in resources and infrastructure
US avg home 2300-2700 sq.ft, 2.5 people.
Elsewhere goes down to about 1000 and more people.
Women in workforce an accellerating trend.
Global economic crisis has disproportionately affected men.
Companies will have to move beyond just “shrink it, pink it” to make items appeal to women.
People still think of the intrnet as a destination in places – and the idea of “feral” also applies.
“Feral internets”
Percent of internet users that are American from 70 down to ~25: bring different ways of interacting and conceiving of information.

The TV was not a PC with internet waiting to happen: viewership is growing. – like hot or not for networks
Device convergence didn’t happen, and a “simple” network looks a bit messy.
When it breaks it’s not clear what’s broken or who to call.

New anxieties. concern for privacy changing: accept providers having demographics, but terrified that what we are really doing will get out.

Implications for research – future controversial topics:
Religion: Still a very important part of many people’s lives, and technology becoming integrated with it. Church sign with “God answers KNEe-mail”, Vatican has a web site with a link labeled “secret archives”…

Government: clashes between internet time and government time.
Australia took data on government-managed systems, came up with a site called “it’s buggered, mate” and it will become real!

Sex: Poloroids brought sexting to the world long before mobile phones, but institutions get anxious when people think about studying this. And, look beyond just pornography, even though there is precious little HCI research even there.

Sport: It’s a big thing for those not in this room, but less on ACM portal about it than the others together. 40% of US households upgrading to HDTV cited sports looking better as the reason. Not understanding cricket is a social crime.

Etiquette: sign in church that roughly translates to “it would be a blessing if you turned your cellphone off.” We will increasingly have to negotiate how we interact with constant connectivity. We even lack the language to discuss it: our terms like “not connected” imply a social norm that those folks are on the wrong side.

Gender: Lists of best apps for men included “PMS Buddy” (Track up to 5 women!). Best apps for women include “For Aunt Flo” and “iPeriod”. Things worth studying here! What does it means to talk about these things from feminist theory, queer theory points of view?

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