Smart home technologies have significantly contributed to the design of new applications that improve people’s domestic lives, such as systems for energy monitoring, home surveillance, activity tracking, and air quality monitoring. Even though homes are not the same across the globe, human computer interaction (HCI) research on smart home technologies overwhelmingly take place in western societies. In this talk, Hope will present his work focusing on using smart home technologies to support domestic activities in the Global South, specifically in some part of sub-Saharan Africa. Generally, his findings suggest that people in the Global South are interested to use sensor-based technologies, and they quickly find different ways of appropriating them to suit their needs. Hope will focus on the unexpected ways people use these technologies and their reflections on using them to support domestic activities. He will conclude his presentation with a discussion about the unintended consequences which accompany the deployment of smart home technologies in the Global South. Hopes’ work presents opportunities for designing smart home technologies to support people’s needs beyond western societies. Further, his work expands on existing discussion about smart home technologies by considering marginalized perspectives on how they can be used in the home.
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George Hope Chidziwisano is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on designing sensing technologies for resource constrained areas. More specifically, he conducts design-oriented studies in the Global South, where he collaborates with local technicians and families to design, develop, and deploy novel sensing technologies that have the potential to solve some of the challenges facing homes. Hope’s research has received recognition from Google Research and ACM COMPASS. Hope was a fellow in the Data Science for Social Good program; a program affiliated with the University of Washington’s eScience Institute. He used his expertise in machine learning, natural language processing and deep learning to contribute to a project on identifying disinformation in online news articles. Hope has also participated in the Global Innovation Exchange program (University of Washington and Tsinghua University) where he practiced a variety of human-centered design methods to develop novel sensing techniques, user-friendly interfaces, and cutting-edge computer technologies. Before joining CMU, Hope completed his Ph.D. and M.A. in Information and Media at Michigan State University. Hope completed his undergraduate studies in Computer Science and Physics at the University of Malawi.