We had a very lively and productive journal club this week, based on a provocative paper from CHI2010. The main paper under discussion was Fear and the City – Role of mobile services in Harnessing Safety and Security in Urban Use Contexts, from Jan Blom et al at Nokia research. We also discussed some related work such as this and this.
Apart from methodological issues to do with the paper itself, the discussion was focussed on big issues in HCI – questioning why these technologies are seen as necessary, whether they are more of a problem for society than a cure (i.e. are they facilitating fear of particular areas?), and whether they are in fact just more stuff to buy rather than genuine attempts at improving peoples everyday lives.
We realised that the paper had some very obvious implications in terms of research in other disciplines such as risk perception, surveilance and security, exposure therapy for anxiety disorders.
We were lucky to be joined in our discussions by Jamie Warman from Dept. of Psychology, who has previously undertaken a great deal of research in the field of risk perception. We plan to work closely with jamie moving forward on research that is directly related to this field.