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Jose Abdelnour-Nocera <[log in to unmask]>
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Jose Abdelnour-Nocera <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:11:12 +0100
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The BCS Sociotechnical Specialist Group

Annual Symposium on Sociotechnical Methods and Perspectives in Innovation, Automation and Sustainability
Date/Time: Friday 26 October 2018, 10.00am - 5:00pm

BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

£10 + £1.19 fee + VAT (BCS Members) £20 + £1.79 fee + VAT (General Public)

Book Online:

The Sociotechnical Specialist Group of BCS has the pleasure to invite all its members and society at large to our first annual symposium. The event will provide an opportunity to interact with leading researchers in the field of sociotechnical systems and related areas. The symposium will be interactive and comprise keynote talks and panel discussions examining the role of sociotechnical perspectives in a hyper-connected, digitised society. Invited keynote speakers are:

Prof. Cathy Urquhart
Manchester Metropolitan University

How Can We Build Socio-Technical Theories in IS?

This presentation considers how socio-technical theories have evolved in IS over the last thirty years, and what the future might hold. In particular, how we might build socio-technical theories native to the IS discipline - and whether that is indeed required - will be discussed. The potential of social mechanisms for helping us understand the nexus between the social and technical will also be discussed.

About the speaker:

Cathy Urquhart is Professor of Digital and Sustainable Business at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. She is the author of Grounded Theory for Qualitative Research, published by Sage. Details of the book can be found here: She is a previous Senior Editor for MIS Quarterly, and an Associate Editor for Information Technology and Development.  Honours and awards include the AIS Volunteer Spotlight for Outstanding Contributions to Membership Services in 2008, MIS Quarterly Most Developmental Associate Editor in 2007, Best Paper Award Journal of the Association of Information Systems (with Antonio Diaz Andrade and Tiru Arthanari) in 2015. She is a founding member of the AIS Womens College, and co chaired the ICIS Womens Breakfast from 2010 – 2013.  She was ICIS co-program chair for ICIS 2015 in Fort Worth Texas. She is a member of the AIS College of Senior Scholars. She has a strong interest in the use of grounded theory in information systems, and has written extensively on this topic. Her website can be found here and her email address is [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Tara Smith
HFE Solutions LTD

"The Logos Chasm: Beyond Turing Machines"

This talk considers some of the issues around autonomous systems and the different types of risk involved in their implementation. These risks are both barriers to the implementation of a successful autonomous system and risks that are consequences of the use of such systems. It introduces the concept of the “logos chasm”: the gap between achievable autonomous systems and those which currently only exist in the realm of science fiction; and discusses possible reasons for its existence.

The author has developed an initial generic assessment structure for the consideration of risk in the implementation of autonomous systems, with the aim of providing a useful construct for the design and development of acceptable autonomous systems that are intended to replace elements of the human cognitive process, specifically in situations involving decision-making.

About the speaker:

Tara Smith is the Managing Director of Human Factors Engineering Solutions Ltd. He has over 30 years experience of applying knowledge, principles and techniques from Human Factors and Design to the Analysis, Specification and Design of work complex systems. His career has focussed primarily on the cognitive aspects of human factors, specifically in relation to the development and use of complex systems. For the past 10 years he has been conducting groundbreaking research into the human components of situational awareness and cognitive workload, developing a unique predictive model looking at the effects of the introduction of new technologies and systems on the decision-making process.

Prof. David Wastell

‘NeuroIS meets sociotechnical design: love at first sight?’

Neuro-mania refers to the proliferation of neuroscience across diverse disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences, spawning nouveau subfields such as neuro-economics, neuro-ethics, neuro-politics etc. Information Systems has not been immune, witnessing the recent birth of NeuroIS, devoted to the application of neuroscience and its technologies “to study the development, adoption and impact of Information and Communication Technology”. Papers have appeared in august journals excitedly setting out research agendas, promising new traction on old problems. In this talk, I will take a critical look at what may realistically be achieved, beyond the hype and over-claiming, and examine some of the moral hazards that may lie ahead. I will make a positive (but balanced) case for NeuroIS, drawing on some of my own work, on stress and mental workload, which shows the utility of neurophysiological methods (in both laboratory and field) in the context of sociotechnical systems design. I will also underline some of my more general concerns, drawn from my recent book on the malign impact of techno-biology on social policy.

About the speaker:

David Wastell is Emeritus Professor of Information Systems at Nottingham University Business School. He began his academic career as a cognitive neuroscientist at Durham University studying the relationships between brain activity and attentional processes. He continued his interests in cognitive and clinical neuroscience at the Applied Psychology Unit (Cambridge), investigating stress and technological innovation in collaboration with British Telecomm, and subsequently at Manchester Medical School. David’s interests in Information Systems developed during this latter period, and he was appointed as Professor of the Information Society at Salford University in 2000, before moving to Nottiingham in 2005. His current research interests include: neuroscience and social policy, cognitive engineering of complex human-machine systems, and design/innovation in the public services. His ideas about design and the managerial role are set out in a 2001 book “Managers as designers in the public services: beyond technomagic”; his recent book with Sue White (“Blinded by science: the social implications of neuroscience and epigenetics”) presents a critical appraisal of the implications of technobiology for family policy.

Dr. Jose Abdelnour Nocera

‘Sociotechnical HCI for Ethical Value Exchange: Lessons from India’

Ensuring ethical value exchange is moving to the forefront of the global challenges that HCI will have to address in the coming years. In my talk I will argue that applying a context-sensitive, sociotechnical approach to HCI can help meet the challenge. The background is that the life of marginalized people in contemporary society is challenging and uncertain. The marginalized can face health and cognitive issues as well as a lack of stability of social structures such as family, work and social inclusion. Three questions are of concern when innovating together with people ‘at the margins’: how can we describe users without attempting to stereotype badly, what sociotechnical HCI methods fit the local societal context, and how to make the design sustainable in face of current planetary challenges (e.g.,climate change)? I discuss a sociotechnical HCI approach called human work interaction design (HWID) to meet the challenges of designing for ethical value exchange. I introduce three ongoing cases of service design, and present in detail a fourth similar case based on a field trip to Alibaug in India where I evaluated as part of a team the sociomaterial infrastructure surrounding a mobile app to support sustainable fishing. This is done through the lens of HWID.  I conclude that applying a context sensitive sociotechnical HCI framework implies that both the backend and frontend of service design and product innovations should be executed and valorized from within the local context.

About the speaker:

José Abdelnour Nocera is Associate Professor in Sociotechnical Design at the University of West London and Affiliate Associate Professor at M-ITI. He is the current Chair for UNESCO IFIP TC 13.8 working group in Interaction Design for International Development as well as Chair for the British Computer Society Sociotechnical Specialist Group. His interests lie in the sociotechnical and cultural aspects of systems design, development and use. In pursuing these interests, he has been involved as researcher and consultant in several projects in the UK and overseas in the domains of mHealth, e-learning, social development, e-commerce, e-governance and enterprise resource planning systems. Dr. Abdelnour-Nocera gained an MSc in Social Psychology from Simon Bolivar University, Venezuela, and a PhD in Computing from The Open University, UK.

Other members of the BCS Sociotechnical Specialist Group will also give talks and join the discussion panel (see programme for more detail)

Dr. José Abdelnour Nocera
Associate Professor in Sociotechnical Design
School of Computing and Engineering
Head of Sociotechnical Centre for Innovation and User Experience
University of West London
St Mary’s Road, Ealing – London W5 5RF

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