Thursday, September 13, 2012

Instructions for seminar 4

First, I have to apologize for the (relative) lateness of these instructions in relationship to the seminar deadline - you will only have a few days to prepare for the seminar so please start as soon as possible. Also note that another complication is that the whole schedule for next week has been "squeezed together" - everything will happen on Monday and Tuesday due to the fact that I will go to a conference during the rest of the week.

Seminar 4 will be held on Tuesday September 18 (8-10 for groups C/D and 10-12 for groups A/B).


You have seen films, read texts and heard lectures about energy and resource challenges (I am more specifically referring to lecture 4 (Pargman) and the literature for the upcoming lecture 6 (Hagens). You should prepare for seminar 4 by watching an additional movie (a 16 minute TED talk), reading a text and thinking about the seminar question:

The movie (TED talk) you should see is:
- Hopkins, Rob, Transition to a world without oil (2009).
Optional: if you want to, you can also have a look at the 16 minutes long TED talk counterargument by Peter Diamandis, Abundance is our future (2012).

The text you should read is:
- Tomlinson, Silberman, Patterson, Pan & Blevis (2012), "Collapse informatics: Augmenting the sustainability and ICT4D discource in HCI" (pdf file here). The paper was presented at the CHI conference earlier this year (the largest and most prestigious conference in the field of Human-Computer Interaction).

The question you should think about is:
Is it prudent (wise) for individuals, companies and/or societies to prepare for a future of materials and energy scarcity and/or negative economic growth - or is it just plain stupid? Why? Furthermore, if these are issues that we should care and think about, do you have any suggestions for possible implications for ICT and media (production, distribution, use, disposal)?
Although it can be difficult, you might also consider what (if any) the implications are for you in the future that you personally think we are most likely to face.

Perhaps the question above is too direct and too big? Then here is an alternative, slightly more analytical and roundabout way of thinking about the same issues:
- Try to identify the Pargman-Hagens "discourse" (the set of interlinking ideas and underlying assumptions). Use the questions below (taken from Wangel's lecture that partly covered the topic of discourses - slides available in Bilda) as a starting point:
- What, according to this discourse, is to be considered a problem?
- What is to be considered a feasible conclusion?
- What is to be prioritized?
- What are your personal opinions as to these matters?

It is assumed that you will be adequately prepared for the seminar. It is not primarily up to the teachers to in detail query and make sure that you have prepared - it is your job to convince us that you have. In relation to seminar 4, that more specifically means:

1 Read/watch the materials for the seminar (above) as well as those connected to lecture 4 and lecture 6.
2 Write a short "position paper" (around 1 page or 400 words - where you take a position on these issues) based on the questions above. Please make sure that you in some way(s) refer to and make use of course materials in your paper. You should in your paper also propose a question that you would like to discuss at the seminar. Please either use of seminar assignment template available in Bilda (/Documents) or otherwise look at the template and make sure you include the same information in your own position paper.
3 Upload your position paper to Google docs (or write your position paper directly as a Google document).The deadline for finishing your paper is Monday Sept 17 at 15.00. Post the link to your position paper in Bilda so other group members can find it. Finally, read the other group members' mini-papers and comment on them! IMPORTANT: watch this instruction video to learn how to do these things.

Each seminar group (A-D) has been divided into three smaller groups (4-5 persons/group), see the previous blog post. You should thus only read and comment on 3-4 other person's position papers.

Do note that not preparing adequately for the seminar entails the risk of not receiving top points (2 p) for the seminar (which might naturally have adverse effects on your grades).


  1. Topp, Daniel skulle vara kul att få ta del av vad som skrivs av deltagarna!

  2. Hello Martin.

    (Comment: Martin is not taking the course - I know him from outside of KTH).

    I will not hand out documents that are written by students in the course - but I could give a talk at some point/in some context about my reflections on the students' reflexions and some other thoughts of mine after having given the course!