I’ve been commissioned by the head of a research department at INRA to propose design artefacts that help scientists take new perspectives on their work. The aim is to discuss social, cultural, economical, juridical, ethical implications of these researches.
The main topic is: “Challenges and Opportunities of the BigData for Predictive Biology”. In clear, how does massive statistics turns diagnostics into prognostics – based as much on DNA sequencing as on more general users datas. The targets are scientists and practicians from the fields of medicine and agronomy (plant and animals). The deliverable is a series of scenarios materialising relevant problematics/controversies in the field, presented as a solo poster session aside a one day conference on November 28th 2014.
We proposed 4 posters covering 4 main topics related to BigData and Predictive Biology. Thanks to a questionnaire we collected participants’ impressions. Questionnaires, informal interviews, audio and video recordings of the situation were used mainly to identify the next public where to show this itinerant project.
Team = Charles Chalas (discovery phase), the Sociable Media group (development phase), Jeremie Lasnier (defining and delivery phase), Fred, Juste & Annie (delivery phase).
Subtlety is a key component. The audience of the conference had voluntarily access to a framed portion of informations, under the shape of these posters. The subject is so vast and the sub-problematics are so numerous, that four scenarios – containing specific trails to specific issues – were the best way to let scientists engage with our approach. Indeed, a poster combines one general topic and clues to sub-problematics. Therefore participants would recognise one or another sub-issue depending on their own sensitivity.
Why hiding these informations (the articulation of problematics between and within each scenarios, plus the path that lead to the generation to these ideas)? Because they were not generated by (or in close collaboration with) scientists. We believe our scenarios to still highlight relevant problematics for biologists. However, if we would have provide those hidden details, we believe participants would pay less attention to the consequences of these scenarios into society and the probable link to their research. Indeed, when we shown them in private, one participant sought to correct our “designer point of view on a biology topic” in terms of precision and scientific validity.
About these details, we could organise the sub-problematics suggested by these scenarios into several dimensions, like a “design-space”. However, in order to respect the medium used during the conference and to reveal the suggested problematics, we just updated the posters, as you will see now.