The Future of Looking Back

Tuesday 02/10/2012 13:00 - 14:00
Location: Brunel University, Howell Building, Room H313
Speaker: Richard Banks, Principal Interaction Designer, Computer Mediated Living in Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK.

The things we own connect us with our past. They remind us of the people, places and events that have formed and informed our lives, and if they have been inherited they connect us with the pasts of others. The possessions in our lives, though, are changing in nature, from being physical things with a strong sense of “placeness” to digital things, often distributed and ephemeral. How will we be remember, and be remembered, now that we live increasingly digital lives?
Drawing on observations made in his book, “The Future of Looking Back”, Richard Banks will present a number of issues, as well as design explorations and prototypes that explore the space of digital legacy, personal reminiscing and technology longevity. He will:
• Describe ethnographic work done by Microsoft Research in Cambridge looking at the role of artefacts in our lives, as well as through the process of bereavement.
• Present a number of conceptual, but working, “Technology Heirlooms” used as design probes to draw out issues from real study participants.
• Discuss some of the changing notions of legacy that come about because of the digitisation of our things, particularly the impact of the huge quantity of digital things in our lives; our changing sense of possession of our things; and the now default social nature of our possessions.

Richard Banks is principal interaction designer in the Socio-Digital Systems group, part of Computer Mediated Living in Microsoft Research’s Cambridge facility, based in the UK. He is the author of “The Future of Looking Back”, a book which focuses on new digital legacies and the impact they’ll have on how we reminisce about our lives. Richard Banks is honorary professor of design for the University of Dundee and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. A graduate of Brunel University’s Industrial Design course (’92) and the Royal College of Arts Computer Related Design course (’95) Richard’s primary interests are in the role of digital artefacts in our lives, and the potential contribution of design research to social-science study.