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SXSW Interactive 2013

Painting Posthumous Portraits w/ Digital Detritus

Kids today have data-points uploaded about them before they are born. Then they create, save and share even more data. They will be able to trace their entire life in data. The more data collected about them the more holistic the picture we can paint of them over the course of their life. Over the years, the digital artifacts they leave behind will help their loved ones remember and perhaps better understand them after they are gone.

This panel will explore the potential for long-term sentimental uses of big data each of us generate, both passively and actively. We will conceptualize about interfaces and devices that could display, make sense of and encourage reflection on individual lives using that data.

We'll explore how pools of seemingly bland big data can reveal behavior patterns in people's lives tied to their emotional and social experiences, especially when layered with actively generated digital artifacts.

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  1. What meaning will your information and digital objects hold for people looking back on a lifetime of data, assuming they will be able to access it at all? What interface would you want them to use, and how curated would you want it to be? But, more importantly, who’s going to manage your Facebook account?
  2. Will we begin to curate our data (and demand ownership of said data from data collectors) in different ways when we think about it in the long term, rather than the transitory nature of our current web publishing and social networking practices?
  3. Can systems be built to help us pre-curate our digital detritus and even provide tailored collections to others? Is tagging a photo/post/song with a person's name the digital corollary of a post-it stuck to the bottom of an object or a bequeathment in a will?
  4. How might we design systems that allow us to record why certain things are sentimental to us? What are some other uses for that emotional metadata? If those objects live in the cloud, how do we protect that emotional metadata from the public view (or even the service provider)?
  5. Can we paint holistic views of people with data (we’ve got a start on holograms), and what parts of their data should (or should not) be included? How much data is needed before their personality traits become visible?



Charlene Zvolanek, experience designer, Evicted Media

Meta Information:

  • Tags: interfaces
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: WTF and Beyond
  • Level: Intermediate
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