BCNM at Creativity and Cognition 2019

23 Jun, 2019

BCNM at Creativity and Cognition 2019

BCNM offered a stellar showing at this year's 2019 ACM Creativity and Cognition conference!

Ken Goldberg and his wife, the award-winning filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, offered a keynote on "Screen Smashing: Iconoclasty in an Age of Illusionary Intelligence."

From the abstract: "Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves are frighteningly inert."" - Donna Haraway. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature.

The boundaries that Haraway lamented in 1990 were further eroded by the World Wide Web, wireless networks, smartphones, and today by social media, fake news, claims about Artificial Intelligence and an impending "Singularity". Are all boundaries truly illusionary? Or can we question illusions of illusion by actively asserting boundaries between ourselves and our machines? Artistic collaborators Shlain and Goldberg will describe how their art projects and experiences with technology are leading them to rediscover old barricades.

In addition to serving as a mentor at the Graduate Student Sympsoium, Eric Paulos co-authored and presented a paper in session 1: Design Process Oriented, with Cesar Torres, Matthew Joerke, and Emily Hill, titled Hybrid Microgenetic Analysis: Using Activity Codebooks to Identify and Characterize Creative Process.

From the abstract: Tacit knowledge is a type of knowledge often existing in one's subconscious or embodied in muscle memory. Such knowledge is pervasive in creative practices yet remains difficult to observe or codify. To better understand tacit knowledge, we introduce a design method that leverages time-series data (interaction logs, physical sensor, and biosignal data) to isolate unique actions and behaviors between groups of users. This method is enacted in Eluent, a tool that distills hundreds of hours of dense activity data using an activity segmentation algorithm into a codebook - a set of distinct, characteristic sequences that comprise an activity. The results are made visually parsable in a representation we term process chromatograms that aid with 1) highlighting distinct periods of activity in creative sessions, 2) identifying distinct groups of users, and 3) characterizing periods of activity. We demonstrate the value of our method through a study of tacit process within computational notebooks and discuss ways process chromatograms can act as a knowledge mining technique, an evaluation metric, and a design-informing visualization.

Find out more about this great program at