In 2020, Microsoft Excel introduced a new function: LAMBDA. Software updates are frequent, and often go unnoticed. But sometimes, a software update brings something somewhat surprising: a shift in the identity of the user. The Lambda update shifts the identities of spreadsheet users and communities, and reinvigorates longstanding debates about whether spreadsheet use ought to … Continue reading Could a software update change your identity?
Enough with ‘human-AI collaboration’
Describing our interaction with Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems as ‘collaboration’ is well-intentioned, but flawed. Not only is it misleading, but it also takes away the credit of AI ‘labour’ from the humans behind it, and erases and obscures an often exploitative arrangement between AI producers and consumers. In this article, I explore how the AI … Continue reading Enough with ‘human-AI collaboration’
Look, no hands! Exploring data with your eyes
Can you imagine using a computer without a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen? Why would we even need to do that? In this article, we will learn how virtual on-screen ‘lenses’ can be controlled using eye-tracking technology, to magnify and show additional details on charts. Using your eyes to control a computer has some unexpected challenges, … Continue reading Look, no hands! Exploring data with your eyes
Product design and the myth of faster horses
Product design often encounters a tension between solving observable customer needs (reactive design), and inventing novel experiences without concrete basis in current customer behaviour, but which designers believe will be valuable (proactive design). Both reactive and proactive design can produce successful results. However, the practical question remains: given that most product design teams have finite … Continue reading Product design and the myth of faster horses
What if charts could control your data?
We typically think of charts as the end result of data analysis. To create a chart in Excel, you must first select some data. To produce a chart in Python or R using charting libraries, you must provide an array, data table or data frame. When William Playfair was inventing the line and bar charts … Continue reading What if charts could control your data?
The fundamental value of the metaverse is sensory misdirection, not replication
The “metaverse” is the collective marketing term for a set of virtual reality media experiences. It is accessed using headsets such as the Oculus Quest, Valve Index, and HTC vive. It is often presented in marketing materials as newly enabling the digital replication of physical space, despite the fact that this has always been possible … Continue reading The fundamental value of the metaverse is sensory misdirection, not replication
Revealing the hidden guesswork of spreadsheet comprehension
This article is based on the following publication [PDF]: Sruti Srinivasa Ragavan, Advait Sarkar, and Andrew D Gordon. 2021. Spreadsheet Comprehension: Guesswork, Giving Up and Going Back to the Author. Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 181, 1–21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445634 … Continue reading Revealing the hidden guesswork of spreadsheet comprehension
The rise of parallel chat in online meetings: how can we make the most of it?
By Advait Sarkar and Sean Rintel. Originally published on the Microsoft Research Blog. “I’ll put a link to that doc in the chat” “Sorry, my internet is terrible, I’ll put my question in the chat” “That GIF from Amy in the chat is hilarious” If these phrases sound familiar to you, you’re not alone – … Continue reading The rise of parallel chat in online meetings: how can we make the most of it?
Tell, don’t show: how to teach AI
Should we teach good behaviour to Artificial Intelligence (AI) through our feedback, or should we try and tell it a set of rules explaining what good behaviour is? Both approaches have advantages and limitations, but when we tested them in a complex scenario, one of them emerged the winner. If AI is the future, how … Continue reading Tell, don’t show: how to teach AI
People reluctant to use self-driving cars, survey shows
Autonomous vehicles are going to save us from traffic, emissions, and inefficient models of car ownership. But while songs of praise for self-driving cars are regularly sung in Silicon Valley, does the public really want them? That’s what my student Charlie Hewitt, and collaborators Ioannis Politis and Theocharis Amanatidis set out to study. We decided … Continue reading People reluctant to use self-driving cars, survey shows