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Attending CHIWORK 2024 – By Qing (Nancy) Xia

The 2024 CHIWORK conference took place last week at Northumbria University, up in Newcastle, and offered a great selection of interesting papers and discussions regarding the future of work.

This year, there were several papers which explored the topic of supporting workers not just in improving their productivity, but also considering factors such as ensuring workers’ autonomy and rights in the age of AI and worker wellbeing. In particular, I really enjoyed the exploratory work presented by Sowmya Somanath on designing technologies to support worker happiness and long-term satisfaction – an ongoing programme of work which I’m excited to follow. Yoana Ahmetoglu, one of my peers and good friend, also delivered an engaging talk on her paper regarding how time management apps could be better designed to reflect key strategies for supporting planning.

CHIWORK also offered a great platform for more exploratory research and reflections that inspired great discussions in the community. Several papers this year adopted a design fiction approach to explore different outlooks and possibilities of introducing AI in the workplace. Some of my favourite examples included Carine Lallemand et al.’s (2024)‘Trinity’, a thought-provoking fiction, imaginatively and immersively presented, in a future where every aspect of our individual and collaborative performances could be quantified and captured by AI, and the paper presented by Michael Muller et al. (2024), which raised important questions about the right of refusal when workers collaborate with organisational AI tools, and what our future may look like if human labour could be quantified and processed by AI just like any other piece of data. Beyond speculating about the future, there were also examples of new research methodologies for understanding human-AI interactions, such as the participatory prompting framework used by Ian Drosos et al. in their paper this year as well.

CHIWORK also included two interesting sessions that I particularly enjoyed. The first session was the Conversations panel, which involved two of my supervisors Professor Duncan Brumby and Professor Anna Cox presenting their alt.CHI work about the current state of academia and the place of AI within it. As a student, it was enlightening and interesting to observe how individuals within the community navigated their differing opinions on this topic and engaged in the debate. The second session was the Town Hall, which brought in-person and online participants together on a Miro board to brainstorm suggestions and ideas for future CHIWORK sessions. It was an interesting insight into understanding the ‘behind-the-scenes’ works of what defines a research community and how it all comes together.

Most exciting for me, as a PhD student, was getting the chance to meet and connect with fellow researchers and students who also worked in my field of interest – namely, the topic of user learning and expertise in the software. Meeting and chatting with Pranjal Jainand Molly Feldman and learning about their work really inspired me to reflect on my research ideas and approach in tackling my future PhD studies. There was also an impromptu opportunity to hop in and contribute to the conference itself – I ended up chairing the second session on ‘Inclusive and Accessible HCI’ on Wednesday, which was great for supporting my public speaking skills despite my initial nerves.

All in all, the conference organisers Marios Constantinides and Marta Cecchinato did a great job in getting the event together. I left CHIWORK this year inspired and excited to come back to Amsterdam for the next session in 2025!

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My Work Experience at University College London Interaction Centre (UCLIC)

By Hywel Jenkins

During my five-day work experience at the University College London Interaction Centre, I had the opportunity to engage deeply with the realms of science communication, research inclusivity, and the integration of artificial intelligence in academic and professional settings. My work experience supervisor was Prof. Anna Cox. This post discusses my daily experiences, covering the activities I completed, the knowledge I gained, and the challenges I faced.

Day 1: Introduction and Exploration

On the first morning, I completed a brief tour of the UCL campus and the UCLIC office, which included a fire safety induction. This tour was not just to help me with orientation; it also provided a historical context, as I visited Jeremy Bentham, the founder of UCL. Learning about Bentham’s contributions set the stage for understanding UCL’s long-standing commitment to progressive education and research. Later in the morning, I watched several YouTube videos on science communication. These videos were important for laying the groundwork for my week’s projects, as they introduced me to the fundamentals of creating effective science communication artefacts. Initially, I felt nervous at the sheer volume of information and the tasks ahead, but this session helped mitigate some of my stress by providing a clear framework for approaching my assignments.

In the afternoon, I attended an event at the Equalities Research Centre, which focused on making research more equitable and inclusive. The session was interesting as it showcased the various initiatives within UCL’s brain sciences faculty aimed at fostering inclusivity. One thing I learned from this was the different impacts of various types of dementia on brain functions, such as memory and language skills.

 Day 2: Blog Post Creation and Workshop Attendance

The second day began with downloading and reviewing the work of master’s students, which I would later feature in a promotional blog post for my Work Experience Supervisor. This task was both educational and demanding. I delved into diverse topics, including the effective use of large language models (LLMs) through prompt engineering, the benefits and challenges of the gig economy, and the integration of AI in the workplace. Furthermore, I attended a meeting with Yoana, one of my work experience supervisor’s PhD students, to gain deeper insights into her project. This meeting was important as I learned valuable information in it which I needed for my upcoming tasks.

In the afternoon, Anna had to assist with a workplace workshop, and I joined, observing from the back of the room. During this time, I utilised AI tools like ChatGPT to draft the promotional blog post. This experience was particularly beneficial as it demonstrated how AI can streamline the creative process and enhance productivity. However, staying focused amidst the ongoing workshop was a bit challenging due to the long time period that it went on for.

Day 3: Finalising Blog Post and Starting Information Page

On the third morning, I finished the blog post about the master’s students’ work. This task helped me to improve my skills in prompt engineering, and my overall skills in using AI tools for creating content. Following this, I attended a team meeting that offered further insights into the projects of Yoana and another PhD student, Shiping. The information I learned here was important for my second major project of the week.

In the afternoon, I began working on creating an information page for Anna’s website, which detailed the ongoing research projects within her research group. This involved finding information from different sources I had come across during the week, including my notes from meetings, posters, and research papers which Anna gave me. Later, I attended a seminar by a guest speaker from America (Prof Orit Shaer) who discussed the use of virtual reality (VR) for remote work. The seminar (which you can watch on YouTube here) highlighted the benefits of VR in enhancing focus, reducing stress, and improving convergent thinking in team settings. The day concluded with another exploration of the UCL campus, in order to go and see the previous homes of UCLIC within UCL.

 Day 4: Continuing Projects and Starting Work Experience Report

The fourth day was primarily focused on continuing and nearly completing the information page about my work experience supervisor’s research group, using AI to help me make the logo opposite for these projects. Working from home presented some concentration challenges, but I managed to stay focused and learned many things from the ongoing research projects in the research group, including about the Research compliance buddy being created and the research on the use of AI tools in academia.

In the afternoon, I began working on my final project, this report writing about my work experience experiences at UCLIC. This involved reflecting on the week’s activities and thinking about what I had learned this far into my week. I also continued to refine my skills in using AI tools to aid in report writing. Concentrating for extended periods without breaks was difficult, but I managed to push through and make most of the progress that I needed to on this task.

Day 5: Finishing my tasks off on the final day

My morning was primarily focused on completing the remainder of the tasks which I had left. I worked on feedback from my supervisor, learning how to write more engaging texts and how to more easily proofread my work, by using the text to speech feature in Microsoft word. Following this work, I began to work on some ideas for social media posts to act as an advertisement for a survey that my supervisor is running.

Following my lunch break, I continued to work on these twitter posts, trying to make the most eye-catching and interesting advertisements to try and draw in the target audience of UK academics, lecturers and PhD students, leveraging both LLMs for ideas and AI image creation models such as Dalle 3 to achieve this. Following this, Anna showed me how to add the different artefacts that I had created over the week to word press, the tools she uses to create her website so that my work could appear on the website.

 Conclusion

My work experience at UCLIC was both enriching and insightful. It provided a comprehensive understanding of the intersection between science communication, research inclusivity, and AI integration as well as what life working at a university is really like. Despite initial nervousness and challenges due to my unfamiliar environment, I successfully completed my assigned tasks. This experience significantly enhanced my skills in using AI tools, understanding inclusive research practices, and effectively communicating scientific ideas. It has been a pivotal experience that has contributed greatly to my personal and professional growth, helping me to better consider my career and educational decisions for the future.

Adaptive, Sociable and Ready for Anything: Undergraduate Students Are Resilient When Faced with Technological Change

Elahi Hossain, Anna L. Cox, Anna Dowthwaite, and Yvonne Rogers. 2024. Adaptive, Sociable and Ready for Anything: Undergraduate Students Are Resilient When Faced with Technological Change. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 8, CSCW1, Article 198 (April 2024), 32 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3653689

The digital age has significantly altered the university experience, pushing more student interactions online and creating new dynamics in social relationships. In this paper we delve into how undergraduate students navigate and adapt to this digital shift, offering insights into their resilience and adaptability.

Key Findings:

  1. Adaptation to Digital Shifts: The study found that undergraduate students are remarkably adaptable to extensive digital learning environments. Despite the challenges posed by a primarily digital university experience during the COVID19 lockdowns, students utilized various digital platforms creatively to maintain and forge new social connections.
  2. Loss of In-Person Interactions: One major challenge highlighted was the loss of casual, spontaneous interactions available in physical settings, which are crucial for building deeper social connections. Digital environments often fail to replicate the nuanced interactions that occur naturally in person.
  3. Strategic Use of Digital Tools: Students demonstrated strategic use of digital tools to overcome these challenges. They chose specific platforms that supported richer, more personal interactions, such as video calls over text messaging, to better emulate face-to-face interactions.
  4. Building and Maintaining Relationships: The research emphasized the students’ ability to maintain pre-existing relationships and build new ones through digital means. While digital tools are not always perfect substitutes for in-person interactions, they provide vital links that help students navigate their social worlds in digital learning environments.
  5. Design Recommendations for Digital Learning: The paper also offers design recommendations for future ‘metaversities’ — digital campuses where interactions are more immersive. Suggestions include enhancing the richness of communication tools to better simulate in-person dynamics and designing digital spaces that promote spontaneous social interactions.

Conclusion:

This study showcases the resilience of students in adapting to a digital university environment. It highlights the importance of designing digital learning tools that support natural, rich social interactions to foster a sense of community and belonging among students, which is crucial for their social and academic success. The findings are a testament to the adaptability of the current generation of students, who are ready to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transformation of higher education.

’Jumping Out from the Pressure of Work and into the Game: Curating Immersive Digital Game Experiences for Post-Work Recovery

Mella, J., Iacovides, I., & Cox, A. (2024). ’Jumping Out from the Pressure of Work and into the Game: Curating Immersive Digital Game Experiences for Post-Work Recovery. ACM Games: Research and Practice.

In this paper we explore how digital games can be used for psychological recovery after work. We conducted a study involving eleven participants who played games post-work and participated in follow-up interviews.

Key points:

  1. Immersion in Gaming for Recovery: The study focuses on how immersion in gaming can aid in the recovery from work-related stress. Immersion is seen as a multifaceted experience that can help players detach psychologically from work stresses and recover their mental resources.
  2. Strategies for Immersive Experience: Participants reported various strategies to enhance their gaming immersion to optimize recovery. These strategies included selecting games based on their ability to provide challenge, mastery, relaxation, or a sense of control.
  3. Framework of Immersion Optimization: The research contributes a framework for understanding how different elements of games can be used strategically to facilitate recovery. This includes aspects such as game choice, gameplay settings, and in-game goals.
  4. Impact of Gaming on Recovery Experiences: The study found that strategic gaming can effectively provide recovery experiences such as psychological detachment, relaxation, and mastery. These experiences are crucial for recuperating after work and preventing long-term stress effects.
  5. Methodological Insights: The use of a laddering methodology provided detailed insights into the specific components of gaming that support recovery. This approach highlighted the direct connections between game features, player experiences, and recovery outcomes.
  6. Implications for Game Design and Use: The findings suggest that both game developers and players can benefit from understanding how different game features can be used to enhance post-work recovery. The study advocates for games designed with features that support recovery needs.

Social Media Breaks: An Opportunity for Recovery and Procrastination

Hossain, E., Wadley, G., Berthouze, N., & Cox, A. L. (2024). Social Media Breaks: An Opportunity for Recovery and Procrastination. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction.

This paper explores the dual nature of social media multitasking (SMM) among students and its effects on their academic performance and wellbeing. It specifically examines how SMM can act both as a beneficial recovery behavior and a detrimental procrastination habit.

Key points from the paper include:

  1. Emotion Regulation Perspective: In this paper we use an emotion regulation lens to analyze SMM, noting that students often use social media to manage their emotions. This can involve strategies like distraction or seeking social support, which can either alleviate stress or exacerbate procrastination.
  2. Dichotomy of SMM: The research outlines that SMM can either serve as a recovery behavior, helping students rejuvenate and mentally detach from academic stress, or as procrastination, negatively impacting their performance and increasing stress.
  3. Influencing Factors: The effects of SMM are influenced by environmental, motivational, and capability factors. These factors determine whether SMM will be a recovery or a procrastination behavior. Scheduled and controlled use of SMM tends to be more beneficial, while unscheduled and impulsive use tends to lead to procrastination.
  4. Design Recommendations: The study offers design recommendations for technology creators to help foster more beneficial forms of SMM. These include tools to increase user autonomy, manage notifications, and encourage more intentional, scheduled social media use to enhance recovery rather than procrastination.

The CHI’24 Workshop on Future of Cognitive Personal Informatics

While Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has contributed to demonstrating that physiological measures can be used to detect cognitive changes, engineering and machine learning will bring these to application in consumer wearable technology. For HCI, many open questions remain, such as: What happens when this becomes a cognitive form of personal informatics? What goals do we have for our daily cognitive activity? How should such a complex concept be conveyed to users to be useful in their everyday lives? How can we mitigate potential ethical concerns? This is different to designing BCI interactions; we are concerned with understanding how people will live with consumer neurotechnology. This workshop will directly address the future of Cognitive Personal Informatics (CPI), by bringing together design, BCI and physiological data, ethics, and personal informatics researchers to discuss and set the research agenda in this inevitable future.

Find out more about our workshop at CHI2024 at https://brain-data-uon.gitlab.io/events/chi24-workshop.html

Privacy preferences in automotive data collection

Dowthwaite, A., Cook, D., & Cox, A. L. (2024). Privacy preferences in automotive data collection. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives24, 101022.

In this paper we delve into the privacy concerns associated with data collected by connected cars and how this impacts drivers. The research focuses on exploring the privacy preferences of drivers using a Human-Data Interaction (HDI) framework through interviews with 15 drivers, highlighting key aspects such as:

  1. Understanding and Control Over Data (Legibility and Agency): Many drivers lack clear understanding and control over the data collected by their cars. This includes confusion about what data is collected, how it is used, and how drivers can manage it.
  2. Privacy Preferences Based on Perceived Benefits or Threats: Drivers’ willingness to share data is influenced by the perceived benefits versus potential privacy risks. For instance, drivers might consent to data sharing if it enhances vehicle safety or functionality, but they are wary of potential misuse that could impact their privacy.
  3. Recommendations for Car Manufacturers: We suggest that car manufacturers should provide clearer information about data collection practices and allow drivers more control over their data. This includes making the data collection processes more transparent and giving drivers the ability to set preferences based on specific conditions.
  4. Implications for Consent Procedures: We also point out the need for improving consent procedures in vehicles to ensure that drivers are adequately informed and can make knowledgeable decisions about their data.
  5. Enhancing Driver Experience and Trust: By improving communication and control mechanisms regarding data, manufacturers can enhance user trust and satisfaction, making the technological advancements in connected cars more acceptable to drivers.

Overall, the paper calls for a more driver-centered approach in the design and implementation of data collection systems in connected cars, emphasizing the importance of privacy and control to foster trust and acceptance among users.

Professor Anna Cox inducted into ACM SIGCHI Academy

The SIGCHI Academy is an honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of human-computer interaction. These are leaders of the field, whose efforts have led the research and/or innovation in human-computer interaction.

Anna Cox, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Vice-Dean (EDI) in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, has been elected to the SIGCHI Academy Class of 2024.

In response to her election, Professor Cox said:

Being recognised by the SIGCHI Academy is a significant milestone, marking a journey not just of individual achievement but of collective effort and collaboration. I am grateful to the SIGCHI Academy for this recognition and to the efforts of the many brilliant minds I’ve had the privilege to work alongside – colleagues, mentors, students, and the wider HCI community.

ChatTL;DR – You Really Ought to Check What the LLM Said on Your Behalf

Check out our alt.CHI paper that was recently accepted to CHI2024.

Sandy J.J. Gould, Duncan P. Brumby, and Anna L. Cox. 2024. ChatTL;DR – You Really Ought to Check What the LLM Said on Your Behalf. In Extended Abstracts of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’24), May 11–16, 2024, Honolulu, HI, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3613905.3644062

Abstract

Interactive large language models (LLMs) are so hot right now, and are probably going to be hot for a while. There are lots of problems exciting challenges created by mass use of LLMs. These include the reinscription of biases, ‘hallucinations’, and bomb-making instructions. Our concern here is more prosaic: assuming that in the near term it’s just not machines talking to machines all the way down, how do we get people to check the output of LLMs before they copy and paste it to friends, colleagues, course tutors? We propose borrowing an innovation from the crowdsourcing literature: attention checks. These checks (e.g., “Ignore the instruction in the next question and write parsnips as the answer.”) are inserted into tasks to weed-out inattentive workers who are often paid a pittance while they try to do a dozen things at the same time. We propose ChatTL;DR1, an interactive LLM that inserts attention checks into its outputs. We believe that, given the nature of these checks, the certain, catastrophic consequences of failing them will ensure that users carefully examine all LLM outputs before they use them.