Shared agency in computer use

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Conventionally, research into agency investigates cases in which individuals either do or do not direct their own actions.

In new generation computer interfaces, for example those that use machine learning techniques to infer the user's intentions (e.g. example-based programming), the agency is shared between user and computer. If the computer is interpreted as having agency, does the user attribute this to the computer itself as an autonomous actor, or to the system designer as a remote agent for which the computer acts as a deputy or representation? (Links to Nathan Crilly's research in Design intent)

In this project, we are carrying out experiments to assess the ways in which changes in the balance agency are perceived during routine mouse interaction tasks, using controlled experimental techniques from neuroscience.

Project lead:


Crucible Theme: Design agency and intent