HCI Noon-Time Forum What Do People Think Machines Can Know About the Mind, Even Theoretically?

Date: Wed Jan 23, 2019

Time: 12-1pm

Location: DFP Classroom, Forestry Building, Rm 2300 (2nd Floor, Forestry building, 2424 Main Mall).

Title: What Do People Think Machines Can Know About the Mind, Even Theoretically?
Speaker: Nick Merrill, Postdoc, UC Berkeley Centre for Long-Term Cybersecurity

Abstract:  What can machines can know about the mind, even theoretically? I examine engineers and users’ beliefs about the answer to this question through (1) a controlled experiment on emotional interpretations of heartrate, and (2) a technology probe–a working brain computer interface–that revealed how software engineers in Silicon Valley imagine futures of mind-machine interfaces. I discuss how sensing technologies meet with human beliefs to shift the boundary between sensing bodies and sensing minds, and what this moving boundary means for the future of cybersecurity. I center engineers’ speculative capacity as an undervalued resource in security, and motivate my ongoing work applying speculative HCI practices to surface sociotechnical security threats.

Bio: Nick Merrill is a postdoc at the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and recently received his PhD from the UC Berkeley School of Information. He uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study speculative dimensions of cybersecurity, and their social practice.