International Joint Conference on Ambient Intelligence

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Pisa, Italy - November 13-15, 2012


Societal impacts of Internet of Things

Dr. Florian Michahelles
ETH Zürich

The Internet of Things has become an established term for describing the expansion of Internet to physical things of everyday environments. Research on building architectures and standards for networking heterogeneous devices and things to each other has been going for some years now: the internet-oriented approach focuses on building upon established Internet and Web protocols (often also referred to as Web of Things) to reach out to physical devices, whereas the thing-oriented approach proposes identification schemes (e.g. electronic product code - EPC) to associate data with products and things in order to make things part of the Internet. Standardization on how to capture and share about our world is still on-going, business models are under investigation. What will be the impact of these technologies once embedded in physical things of our daily activities? Today, we are used to judge things based on their physical characteristics – affordances – and our human experience about how things work. However, once things get augmented by digital services we have yet to build an understanding about which other effects beyond the original physical function can be caused. In my talk I will outline the technical pre-requisites for making products smart and propose a road map for future research: informationized products, monitoring products, human-behavior changing products.

Bringing Social Computing to Ambient Environments: Synergies and Challenges

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth André
Augsburg University

Societal challenges, such as assisted living for elderly people, create a high demand for technology able to emulate human-style interaction modes. Currently, most human-machine interfaces focus on input that is explicitly issued by human users. However, often it is the myriad of unconsciously conveyed social and psychological signals that will determine whether an interaction with a machine is successful or not. In my talk, I will demonstrate how progress made in the areas of social computing and ambient environments can contribute to a deeper symbiosis in human-machine interaction by collecting subtle behavioral cues under naturalistic conditions and linking them to higher-level intentional states. However, on the way to this goal, a number of challenges need to be solved: Users show a great deal of individuality in their behaviors, and there is no clear mapping between behavioral cues and intentional states. This is in particular true for real-life settings where users are exposed to a more diverse set of stimuli than under laboratory conditions. Furthermore, it isn’t obvious how to acquire ground truth data against which to evaluate the performance of system components that map unconsciously conveyed behavioral cues onto intentional states. Finally, we need to cope with limited resources when recording social and psychological cues in a mobile context and responding to them in real-time. Apart from technological challenges, psychological, societal and privacy issues need to be taken into account. Based on an analysis of recent activities in the areas of social computing and ambient environments, I will outline a road map for future research.

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