Call for Abstracts – alt.CHI 2020 Children in 2077: Designing children’s technologies in the age of transhumanism
Submission Deadline – December 2, 2019
With this call, we want to propose an opportunity to human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers from various fields to contribute with a speculative paper on “How to design and what stance to take when designing children’s artifacts in 2077 when transhumanist enhancement technologies are a major part of our lives?.” By drawing upon this question, we will curate a design fiction paper focusing on the potential research topics that might be of interest for the HCI field in 2077 (see the detailed motivation below).
Similar to the speculative research paper curated by Baumer , a selection of the submitted abstracts will be used to develop an alt.CHI paper. All types of approaches including proposals of utopian technologies, dystopian futures, critical reflections, cautionary tales, and progressive visions are welcome. Moreover, we expect to get submissions from diverse communities including, but not limited to design, user experience and usability, games & play, education, interaction design and children.
We acknowledge that speculating on transhumanist technologies that will affect children is controversial yet the peril requires consideration. Our aim here is, by using the power of design fiction, to portray a future that reveals the pitfalls and threats that might be caused by these technologies and possible speculative research visions that will touch on the issues related to ethics and values as well as cautionary calls for the required regulations. On the other hand, we are also curious in what circumstances these types of technologies can help improve the quality of the children’s lives. These inquiries also prompt to think what design research would focus on in terms of children’s artifacts in the age of transhumanist technologies. Our purpose is to encourage critical thinking on the topic, but also create speculative research ideas that can help us to understand how these technologies can help for an improved state of life. To be clear, this call does not aim at supporting to create transhumanist technology for children but questioning and critically evaluating a future state by both emphasizing the problematic sides and revealing the opportunities. Please see the detailed motivation below for possible questions that might encapsulate both aspects.
We ask authors to write their abstracts as if they were written in the year 2077 by using present tense. We expect abstracts to have the title of the paper, preferably an image (e.g., diagram, sketch, illustration) and affiliation of authors. Word limit for the abstracts is 150. The selection of the abstracts will depend on the diversity of the topics, provocative nature, their potential to raise discussion and also the space limit of the alt.chi submission guidelines. Authors of accepted abstracts will be added as co-authors to this alt.CHI submission.
Abstracts should be submitted via email to Oğuz ‘Oz’ Buruk (email@example.com) with “[ALTCHI77]” in the subject line
P.S. Year 2077 is an attribution to the game Cyberpunk 2077 which depicts a fictional world in which the transhumanist technologies have an immense impact on humanity (we do not necessarily aim to adopt the dystopian future it depicts though and open to submissions that draws an optimistic futures too)
Submission Deadline – December 2, 2019, 23:59 PT
Notification of Decision – December 6, 2019, 23:59 PT
Submission Prepared and Sent to Authors for Review – December 13, 2019, 23:59 PT
Revision Request Deadline by Authors – December 20, 2019, 23:59 PT
Submission to alt.CHI 2020 – January 3, 2020
Oğuzhan Özcan, Koç University, Design Lab
Oğuz ‘Oz’ Buruk, Gamification Group, Tampere University
Gökçe Elif Baykal, Aarhus University,·Information Studies
Tilbe Göksun, Koç University, Language and Cognition Lab.
Selcuk Acar, Buffalo State College, SUNY, The International Center for Studies in Creativity
What for and how will we design children’s technologies in the transhumanist age, and what stance will we take as designers?
Tranhumanist thinking envisions that a new node in human evolution will come with technological enhancements that will augment the body and mind of the future human beings . As Bostrom argues, transhumans are expected to possess superior abilities in terms of physical, sensory, and cognitive skills as well as a longer lifespan and emotional state . In a future where technology is blended into the human body, what will the children be like? In this call, we are interested in the five pillars of the envisioned transhumanist enhancements; 1) intellectual capacity, 2) bodily functionality, 3) sensory modalities, 4) emotional capabilities (mood, energy, and self-control) and 5) life-span  that will be possible results of today’s advancements in such technologies as brain-machine interfaces, bodily implants or genetic modification.
- Baumer, E. P., Ahn, J., Bie, M., Bonsignore, E. M., Börütecene, A., Buruk, O. T., … & Guha, M. L. (2014, April). CHI 2039: speculative research visions. In CHI’14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 761-770). ACM.
- Garreau, J. (2006). Radical evolution: the promise and peril of enhancing our minds, our bodies–and what it means to be human. Broadway.
- Bostrom, N. (2008). Why I want to be a posthuman when I grow up. In Medical enhancement and posthumanity (pp. 107-136). Springer, Dordrecht.
- Bostrom, N. (2005). Transhumanist values. Journal of philosophical research, 30(Supplement), 3-14.
- Neuralink. (2019). Neuralink. Retrieved October 31, 2019, from https://www.neuralink.com
- Fourtané, S. (2018). Neuralink: How the Human Brain Will Download Directly from a Computer. Retrieved October 31, 2019, from https://interestingengineering.com/neuralink-how-the-human-brain-will-download-directly-from-a-computer
- Eisenberg, M. (2017, June). The binding of Fenrir: Children in an emerging age of transhumanist technology. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 328-333). ACM.
- Bickley, N. Z. (2002). The social and emotional adjustment of gifted children who experience asynchronous development and unique educational needs (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Connecticut, Storrs.
- Silverman, L. K. (1997). The construct of asynchronous development. Peabody Journal of Education, 72, 36-58.
[Image credit: Darkart.cz]