Kinda Human: Enhancing Expression and Understanding in an Intimate Relationship Through Artificial Agents

2019-07-10T18:57:38Z (GMT) by Scott Dombkowski
Today, many designers concern themselves with efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity when considering relationships between humans and artificial agents. While these three dimensions are essential to consider, they fail to embrace our humanity (i.e., our ability for self-expression and for understanding others) and present an opportunity for designers to consider dimensions present in our relationships that make us human. This thesis project explores two of those dimensions—expression and understanding—in the context of intimate relationships.
In this thesis, I:
• Investigated the theory, potential applications, and affordances of intimate relationships (which tend to be a person’s most defining and determining), artificial agents, and other relevant research areas.
• Acquired a comprehensive understanding of the models users have of artificial agents and intimate relationships by conducting several design studies.
• Created and evaluated several artificial agents designed to enhance intimate partners’ capacity for expression and understanding.
• Developed a set of principles and challenges to assist those designing for expression and understanding in intimate relationships.
Ultimately, this thesis serves as a lodestar that is intended to guide designers through the inherent complexities of designing interfaces that leverage artificial agents to aid expression and understanding by the user. I aim for my research and exploration to apply to areas that extend beyond a focus on expression and understanding, and serve as a guide for anyone who is interested in learning how designers might address dimensions that cannot be easily measured.