Figure 2: Using the image of a sound mixer to tune 4 dimensions of witnessed presence into one configuration to enhance trust. (Graph: Mike de Kreek)
Design of a process with the YUTPA framework involves (1) Analysis of the 4 dimensions with respect to the requirements. (2) Having analyzed the design problem the four dimensions are tuned to different values to explore the impact on the negotiation of trust and truth. (3) When the preferred configuration has been found, the new products or services can be further configured and designed.
Especially in business environments, communication processes are costly. The configuration of not-You, not-Here, not-Now and not-Do (when all the slides are up in figure 2) would to be very cost effective using technological systems, which can run by themselves and incur no personnel costs. However, if clients loose trust in the service because it is too impersonal and hard to control, people will refrain from using it. So a balance between communication costs and ‘trust-investment’ needs to be found.
This paper proposes a conceptual framework that facilitates a better understanding of the ethical implications of presence design. Where Floridi proposes to focus on the spaces of observation and levels of abstraction instead of focusing on the perception and experience of the subject as most tele-presence research does, the notion of witnessed presence proposed in this paper takes the sociological perspective of ‘witnssed presence as agency’ in mediated and non-mediated environments to sustain well-being and survival for the individual human being and between human beings as well. It takes the perspective of the individual human being, who, while being present ‘here’ is also present in several ‘there’s’ while interacting and observing others. Having witnessed presence, enacting being in natural and mediated environments, is considered to be an act of performitivity in which biological and social realites merge. To be a witness is an act with distinct consequences, especially with respect to the ethical implications of presence design.
Further research will explore each of the four dimensions in relation to each other. Earlier tele- presence research will be revisited, as will the perspective of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to use the capability approach to translate these values in practical and measurable terms for presence design (Nussbaum 1999). The challenge is how to understand, create and integrate witnessed presence in social structures of system and service designs, so human beings can take full responsibility for their actions and safeguard human dignity for generations to come.
Current research focuses on the implications of witnessed presence for the design of autonomous systems, systems that participate in communities in their own right (Nevejan 2009). With social scientists, artists and designers the concept of witnessed presence is further explored.