What does the smart office know?

Posted on | January 11, 2017 | No Comments

Tamara Kneese and I are organizing a panel at 4S on the smart office. Please consider submitting a paper! Abstracts of 250 words are due March 1. More info at the meeting website.

    In the spirit of STS scholars who have studied configurations of non-human and human actors (Braidotti 2013, Haraway 2008, Hayles 1999, Sharp 2011), this panel asks: Can an office ever be smart? What skills will a building need to prove its value? How do humans respond to jobs and environments that are intended to make them irrelevant? These and other reflections on the smart office are necessary to situate the imminent Internet of Things (IOT) in the broader history of office automation. From artificial intelligence to embedded assistance, the smart office ostensibly solves workplace inefficiencies by applying the processing power of cognitive computing. But it does this on terms that favor the enterprise. The worker’s experience is rarely prioritized, even though the specificity of human skill will be increasingly important as nonhuman agents contribute to a digitally augmented workplace. This panel welcomes papers on the taskification of white-collar work, the role of virtual agents in the labor process and the prospect of instrumented, computational objects as peer companions for workers. We seek contributions that can inform the design of both IT and management protocols in this new landscape, to overcome historical biases in the composition of assistive technologies, and to ensure the possibility of sustainable and fulfilling workplaces.

    Further topics of interest include:
    – Filing, finding and searching the cloud
    – “Below the line” office labor
    – Ergonomics, aesthetics and euthenics
    – Surveillance, measurement and privacy
    – Interspecies sociality and IOT


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