Interactions in Context-Zero: Towards Conceptual Adaptation through the Izbushka Agent

Interactions in Context-Zero: Towards Conceptual Adaptation through the Izbushka Agent

James Braman (Towson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-171-3.ch010
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Designing computer interfaces and other technologies that interact with users in adaptive ways that attempt to emulate natural styles of learning is generally difficult. As technology has become common in our daily interactions, adaptive interfaces are key in helping users in many situations. In this chapter the preliminary investigation with the intelligent agent Izbuhska is discussed, along with how it can be used to collect various data from users in an attempt to understand how they perceive the program and “learn” while interacting. Izbushka as a tool will help to generate new ways of understanding and conceptualizing interaction by presenting users with a “zero-context” environment. Izbushka presents users with a unique interface in an attempt to study user interactions that lack traditional metaphors or ontological grounding typical in many computer interfaces. The Izbushka agent is our first step towards filtering our preconceived metaphorical ideas in order to generate new understanding of human-computer interaction.
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Through the use and investigation of intelligent agents we can study human- computer interactions in ways that are new and unconventional. Agents can be used to study various emergent behaviors that occur when users interact with technology. These behaviors and interaction patterns are what shape and drive many interfaces. Only by changing our perception and developing new ideas can we truly understand the best methods in which humans and machines learn and interact together. It is not in our best interest to create interfaces or rely only on our current methodologies and metaphorical constructs for current computer environments and software; we need to truly have an understanding of human perception in these contexts in order to develop the best ways of interaction. Through the interaction with computers and other technology, the process has generally “been structured through metaphors drawn from physical spaces…and through certain assumptions about the user derived from pre-existing, physical relationships” (Trajkovski, 2007). Some preconceived metaphors commonly shared between users of internet and other technology that are grounded in the real physical world include: online shopping, shopping carts, virtual classrooms, chat rooms, desktops, multi-user dungeons, e-books, email etc. Many computer related metaphors are drawn from real objects or real physical spaces or interactions. Our investigations seek to find new and different ways to interact in these environments in ways that are not grounded in such preconceived metaphors.

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