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Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 23092

A Human-Computer Interaction Perspective to Drive Change towards Sustainable Future

( Feb 26 – Mar 03, 2023 )

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Motivation

Sustainability from an ecological, social and economic perspective requires more attention than ever. To address and to implement the United Nation’s set of sustainability goals is of utmost importance to all scientific communities, including information technology researchers. As a multidisciplinary field located within information technology, Human-computer interaction (HCI) constantly transfers knowledge and skills between the technically-oriented computer science, and psychology, social sciences, design, as well as other disciplines related to sustainability, such as environmental sciences. HCI’s focus embeds technology into personal and societal practices and, thus, greatly influences the way technology is used in everyday life. At the same time, each new technology impacts the way we live. It shapes people’s behavior and experiences. Through this mutual relationship, technological innovations have a great power to transform the world to be more ecological, resource-efficient, and inclusive. Not only can technologies be more resource-friendly, they can offer more ecological and social ways of interacting with the world. As a field, HCI is positioned to conceptualize, design, and evaluate digital tools, able to suggest and to support the transformation of current into more sustainable lifestyles. Yet, while in principle HCI has all a field needs to contribute to a more sustainable future, it only hesitantly takes on the challenge of establishing sustainability at the heart of designing interactive information systems.

While sustainability is a global goal and needs many stakeholders from countries, organizations, and companies to make the transformation into sustainable societies happen, there is a large potential of individuals to make behavioral changes and contribute to sustainability as an individual and a collective. Digital interactive technology can play a major role in informing, supporting, reflecting, and acting in everyday life and in individual societal and cultural context. However, this is not a single behavior change challenge in which we just have to offer a mobile app nudging us and that's it. Making such changes and decisions comes with various tensions such as who gets to decide which lifestyle is better? who can afford that change in their individual context?

In this workshop we aim to discuss the following questions related to tensions between the different perspectives:

  • When and where is sustainability negotiable? We can observe that humans, and particularly the most disadvantaged, hardly have a chance of a livable future. What does this mean for designing interactive systems that support sustainable behavior? Is sustainable behavior actually negotiable or a must for all?
  • How do we address conflicts between people’s individual goals, business goals, and global sustainability goals?
  • What can HCI offer for those who cannot afford a more sustainable lifestyle? Lifestyle HCI sustainabiliteers who can feel better versus an inclusive approach? How do we model the contextual factors of individuals who make / do not make sustainable decisions?
  • Can interactive technology help people who want to change to make changes in their lifestyle towards a more sustainable behavior? We will contrast technology that tells people what to do with technology in which persons are involved in the steps of behavior change.
  • Can technology outbalance injustice in the situations in which sustainability challenges are caused by a few?
  • How can technology help people compensate differently, adequately, and fairly?

In this Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop we will map the contribution that HCI can make in light of the SDGs and what role HCI must play in informing and changing the behavior of individuals and collectives. We will focus on the goals: Health and Wellbeing (SDG3), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7), and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12); and what these mean for structuring our efforts for supporting sustainability with HCI. We aim to bring different perspectives from the field of HCI for sustainability together, this involves international researchers who already work in the areas addressed by different SDGs. Researchers who have already made a scientific contribution in the field of HCI but are also deeply rooted in the context and background of the SDGs will be able to bridge and translate the challenges of the SDGs into the foundations, methods, and application of human centered design and interactive technologies. A main outcome of the workshop is to formulate a manifesto and roadmap for HCI contributing to our common sustainable future.

Copyright Nic Bidwell, Susanne Boll, Marc Hassenzahl, and Kaisa Väänänen

Participants

Classification
  • Computers and Society
  • Human-Computer Interaction

Keywords
  • Sustainability
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Behavior Change