What Do People Think Machines Can Know About the Mind, Even Theoretically?

Examining Engineers' and Users' Beliefs
Nick Merrill
DFP Classroom: FSC 2300

What can machines can know about the mind, even theoretically? I examine engineers and users' beliefs about the answer to this question through (1) a controlled experiment on emotional interpretations of heartrate, and (2) a technology probe–a working brain computer interface–that revealed how software engineers in Silicon Valley imagine futures of mind-machine interfaces. I discuss how sensing technologies meet with human beliefs to shift the boundary between sensing bodies and sensing minds, and what this moving boundary means for the future of cybersecurity. I center engineers' speculative capacity as an undervalued resource in security, and motivate my ongoing work applying speculative HCI practices to surface sociotechnical security threats.

Event directions

Once you are inside the Forestry Science building walk to the rear (south-east) of the building by passing through the large open study area and up the stairs to the 2nd level student (“treetop”) lounge area. Turn left, pass through the double doors, and room 2300 will be immediately to your right.

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