Kinda Human / Discovery Phase

Dates: August 2018
Team: Scott Dombkowski
Advisors: Stacie Rohrbach and Molly Wright Steenson
Work Type: Academic

The discovery phase centered around building a base of knowledge that could inspire and inform this thesis.

I initially became interested in this area when I wrote Cybernetics and Conversational Interfaces, a paper in which I employed cybernetic frameworks and historical conversational interfaces to examine why conversational interfaces were "failing in their most basic form, conversation" (Dubberly & Pangaro, 2009) and propose potential approaches to address those shortcomings. This paper served as my introduction to Hugh Dubberly and Paul Pangaro's work on conversation and several precursory conversational interfaces including Gordon Pask's Musicolour and Terry Winograd's The Coordinator. Research that ultimately provided me insight into how those interfaces not only laid the groundwork (i.e., development of technology, GUI, etc...) for the recent influx of conversational interfaces available today, but also kickstarted the directional shift from exploratory inquiries to the commercial applications we see in contemporary conversational interfaces. Musicolour and The Coordinator also struck me as examples of what an experience that focused on expression and understanding instead of efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity could be. With this inspiration, I moved into a secondary phase of research as I wanted to learn more about conversation and other relevant areas that could inform designed interfaces to enhance an intimate partners' capacity for expression and understanding

To understand why I focused on intimate relationships and how an artificial agent might constructively affect those relationships see the scope page.

Next Phase

Learn more about the literaure and artifact reviews focused on investigating the theory, potential applications, and affordances of relevant research areas by exploring the definition phase.