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Following a design workshop hosted by CARET to explore issues related to scholarly networking, this design project for client Laura James explored the potential to automate some of the routine tasks carried out by working academics via email.

Design brief:

Most knowledge-workers (and professional scholars are no exception) have a serious struggle to differentiate routine correspondence from management of the new ideas that make the job interesting. Design an automated personal assistant that filters email, infers rules on the likely response to routine items, and looks for thematic patterns in the rest. This can be used to track research ideas, or even set up new clusters of collaboration. All rules should be customisable by the user, and confirm proposed actions before sending a message that might be harmful. After a little ‘bedding-in’, the customised result might be indistinguishable from a real professor.

Undergraduate group design projects