Introduction to the research question

The question "How to design presence in environments in which technology plays a crucial role?" is critical in the current era when social systems like law, education, health and business all face major challenges about how to guarantee trustworthy, safe, reliable and efficient services in which people interact with, and via, technology.

The speed and scale of the collection and distribution of information that is facilitated by technology today demands a new formulation for basic concepts for our modern societies like property, copyright, privacy, liability, responsibility and so forth. The research question assumes that presence is a phenomenon that we have to understand much better than we currently do, if we want to be able to formulate new concepts of design that will be capable of dealing with these new challenges. In this study, presence is understood as a phenomenon that is part of human interaction. Being with another person, at a certain place, at a certain time in a certain action is changing because of the fact that technology mediates, contributes, controls and/or facilitates communication. This study accepts all kinds of presences as a starting point. Generally I do not distinguish between the different technologies that facilitate mediation. My focus is on the effect of mediation itself.