More-than-Human-Data Interaction:Bridging Novel Design Research Approaches to Materialise and Foreground Data Sustainability

Stead, Michael and Coulton, Paul and Pilling, Franziska and Gradinar, Adrian and Pilling, Matthew and Forrester, Ian (2022) More-than-Human-Data Interaction:Bridging Novel Design Research Approaches to Materialise and Foreground Data Sustainability. In: Academic Mindtrek 2022 - Proceedings of the 25th International Academic Mindtrek Conference. ACM, FIN, pp. 62-74. ISBN 9781450399555

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Our everyday interactions with numerous smart devices, digital services and the Internet are creating enormous volumes of data. Almost half of the data created globally is now said to originate from Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (IoT-AI) systems. Further, the processing of such data and its transmission from the ‘Edge of computing networks’ to ‘the Cloud’ and back again, is significantly contributing to ICT’s carbon footprint of almost 4% of global CO2 emissions. These emissions are increasingly affecting the planet’s natural environment as they increase the Earth’s temperature and contribute to climate change. Crucially however, the environmental impact of the data collected and produced through IoT-AI is rarely considered within the design process as the perceived potential monetary value of said data dominates. Current Human-Data Interaction (HDI) theory and practice aims to help to make ongoing IoT-AI data operations more legible to users as well as empower them with levels of agency to negotiate how their data is managed between themselves and technology providers. As such, HDI presently places primary emphasis on the needs of human actants. Given the urgent need to highlight and improve Data Sustainability, in this paper, we shift perspective and refocus data interactions in relation to the needs of ecological actants – flora, fauna and climate.We firstly describe the theoretical merging of current research methods HDI with More-than-Human-Centred Design to develop the conceptual scaffold for an approach we term More-than-Human Data Interaction. Using the relationship between IoT-AI data and Edge Computing as a context for such design activities, we outline how we concretised the notion of More than-Human Data Interaction through the creation of Speculative Games. Based on these explorations, we put forward a series of More-than-Human Data Interaction considerations for designers and technologists to address when approaching the design and implementation of future IoT-AI data-driven products and services. Further, by framing the issue of Data Sustainability within such design research challenges, we aim to contribute to growing technological discourse related to Net Zero 2050 targets and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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24 Oct 2022 15:25
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16 Sep 2023 03:25