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Imagining and framing new technologies through concept videos

Richmond Wong, Deirdre Mulligan

This project explores corporate concept videos frame new and emergent technologies and how they embed a vision about the future of computing - including how computing should be done, for whom, and what social norms might exist. We introduce a method for critiquing and analyzing concept videos, using the lens of design fiction, that surfaces social values and narratives embedded in the videos. We analyze Google Glass’ and Microsoft HoloLens’ concept videos as two case studies. We also analyze early media reactions to these technologies to see how media authors imagine the future with Glass or HoloLens. We then introduce the language of "anticipatory" and "speculative" orientations toward the future to better describe how people imagine sociotechnical futures. We also analyze two of Amazon Prime Air's concept videos of an automatic drone delivery service to see how changes in the drones' portrayal over time reflects different attitudes toward privacy.


Richmond Y. Wong and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2016. These Aren’t the Autonomous Drones You’re Looking for: Investigating Privacy Concerns Through Concept Videos. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 5(3). [Read Online].

Richmond Y. Wong and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2016. When a Product Is Still Fictional: Anticipating and Speculating Futures through Concept Videos. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '16). [PDF].

Other links

Glass concept video

HoloLens concept video

Amazon Prime Air 2013 concept video

Amazon Prime Air 2015 concept video

Blog post on the project

Project Webpage