Background

Human-computer interaction is currently caught between, on the one side, the Internet of Things, where ob­jects as such are seen as becoming interactive, beyond user control, teamed up with Big Data which similarly assumes to know human beings better than they do themselves; and on the other side, the augmentation of the human being itself with 'enhanced' capacities from smart prostheses, teamed up with a renewed inter­est in augmented and virtual worlds. In both of these alternatives, human control over technology is jeop­ardized. At the same time, while the research field of HCI is expanding in scope and method, little is hap­pening in terms of innovating how we think and build user interfaces, rooted in understanding complex hu­man use. This is despite the current occurrence of mobile, ubiquitous and large-screen interfaces. I intend to address core challenges of human control over interactive technology, and offer alternative solutions.

CIO offers an alternative where interactive objects are explored in order to maintain and extend human control over the technological environment, by human beings, both individually and together.

CIO proposes common interactive objects as a way of addressing human control over technology.  They tie together an understanding of use and of building user interfaces in a coherent framework, to be applied in interaction design. The suggestion is that common interactive objects provide a useful frame for furthering theory, development of interac­tion design methods and the underlying technical platforms. This proposal, hence, offers a new focus on the relationship between technology and its use, as interactive, common objects that are mediators of collaborative human activity. The idea is that common interactive objects will empower users to better understand and develop the technologies they use, at the same time as they, conceptually and design-wise innovate computing technology as such. Thus, they will support multiplicity and diversity, both regarding what technical solutions may work across which technical platforms, in terms of human control over interaction with the technology as such, and in terms of providing the means, and a language for more diverse communities of users to apprehend and develop their own technologies.

CIO emphasizes interactive as to embrace both physical and virtual, as well as human action and control; common as to address the resources and affordance of potential sharing of objects as well as the coming and going of collaborative activities over time and community boundaries. Objects, because they stand between people, and between people and materials, and because they are malleable in use and design, becoming often more rigid over time. The overall aim of the proposal is that Common Interactive Objects (CIO) will provide new ways of bridging between use/domain and interface, between design and use, con­cepts/thinking and doing, material and tool/artifact/mediator/instrument, the physical and virtual, history and possibilities, and between communities across various boundaries.

When carried through, the project offers new ways for people to construct and configure their physical and virtual environment, together, over time and within communities. It offers innovative ways for people to have shared control over data, artifacts and technological environments as alternative to the current trends where Internet of Things, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence threaten to take control away from people.