Self-Obviating Systems and their Application to Sustainability

TitleSelf-Obviating Systems and their Application to Sustainability
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTomlinson, B., Norton J., Baumer E. P. S., Pufal M., & Raghavan B.
Other Numbers3778

Most research in computing and information science reinforces the premise that information andcommunications technology (ICT) can be productively applied even more broadly than it is at present. Arecent thread of research in sustainable HCI, however, has focused on the possibility that there are manysituations where less ICT, not more, may be desirable. We envision an adaptation of this premise, where the goal is not just to consciously omit or remove ICT systems, but rather to create systems explicitly designed to make themselves superfluous through their use. Such a system — one in which the successfuloperation of the system in the short term renders it superfluous in the long term — could be called a “self-obviating system”. We present a case study in the sustainable food domain for a context in which self-obviating systems could be useful, and a typology of self-obviating systems that could be relevant to otherdomains. Self-obviating systems could be an important part of a sustainable future, and could be appliedmore broadly in ICT design.

Bibliographic Notes

Proceedings of iConference, Newport Beach, California

Abbreviated Authors

B. Tomlinson, J. Norton, E. Baumer, M. Pufal, and B. Raghavan

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in conference proceedings