Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Hedonic Computing" by Dr Barry Brown

Dr. Barry Brown of the Dept. of Computer Science, University of Glasgow has visited the IDC and has given a talk on Monday, November 28th on “Hedonic computing: the computer science of leisure and enjoyment”, followed by open discussion.
This talk explores the opportunities for a ‘hedonic computer science’. Within many parts of computer science there has been a subtle change in approach: from video conferencing to mobility, from flight simulators to video games, from artificial intelligence to A-life. These changes open opportunities for a computer science that is as concerned with enjoyment as much as it is with formalism.  I discuss how we might take leisure seriously as a goal within computer science.  In particular, I discuss three examples of playful technologies - a piece of RCA designed furniture known as the ‘drift table’, an online virtual environment called There, and a collaborative tourism system we have designed. These examples suggest how we might build systems differently to support activities such as wasting time, sociability and enjoyment.

Barry Brown, Equator Research Fellow, Dept. of Computing Science, Uni. of Glasgow

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