Towards New Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks for the Interdisciplinary Design of Information Society Technologies
Ambient intelligence is the seamless integration of Information Society Technologies (IST) into society at large and into every aspect of daily life. The vision is one of ISTs that are an integral part of everyday life and everyday objects such as furniture, clothes, buildings, cars, washing machines, etc., so much so that the ISTs would in effect be invisible to citizens and just a taken-for-granted aspect of any object. However, this has led to concerns about the acceptability of such a goal and raised many social issues. To deal with some of these social issues one possibility is to consider an interdisciplinary approach, where a new breed of professional would emerge, who would operate in the spaces between the social sciences on one side, and engineering and technology on the other. Much of the development of this type of interdisciplinary design however, relates to the workplace, but the scope of applications and consideration of purpose are now much wider. This paper therefore addresses the topic of the development of new conceptual and theoretical frameworks that could underlie an interdisciplinary profession of the type mentioned above, but in the context of non-workplace environments. To begin this journey towards the development of such new conceptual and theoretical frameworks, some of what has already been developed in the workplace context will be analysed. This is undertaken within the context of two general classes of IST (interactive and non-interactive) that provide a means of considering the usefulness of the existing knowledge base. Considered in the paper are sociotechical design principles, as well as some more recent theories and concepts developed for the interdisciplinary design of advanced computer-based manufacturing technologies, and these will be briefly explained. The conclusions from the analysis are presented, along with suggestions and recommendations for further research in this domain.
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Design, Information Society Technologies
Dr. P.T. Kidd
Researcher, Cheshire Henbury