DI Webinar – Exploring the risks of D-RISK: Training algorithms through public engagement

The week’s DI Research Webinar is a panel event. This panel will explore the opportunities and tensions that emerge as AI projects extend their engagement methods into the public domain. The D-RISK project is a commercial project that is asking the public to introduce ‘edge cases’ to train algorithms that will drive autonomous cars of the future.

An edge case can be understood to be a tricky or hazardous scenario in which a vehicle might find itself. Individually, they may be very unlikely to occur — like an object that is blown into the path of the car or a shopping trolley that rolls into the street — but together these edge cases can be classified into datasets that prepare a car to anticipate almost anything. At least that’s the theory.

Following an introduction to the project by Ed Houghton, Head of Research and Service Design at D-RISK, Heather Wiltse (Umeå Institute of Design) and Eric Laurier (Institute of Geography & the Lived Environment, Edinburgh) will act as critical respondents to explore their interpretation of the role of data, people, artefacts and labour that are in play as they consider the assemblage of technologies and interactions. Following a panel discussion, we welcome the audience to follow up with questions to extend the discussion further.

Click here to learn more about D-RISK.


About the panel participants:


Ed Houghton is Head of Research and Service Design at DG Cities which specialises in smart city innovation through human-centred service design, with a focus on utilising digital technologies in urban environments to improving social, economic and environmental outcomes. Ed is a behavioural scientist and environmental engineer with over a decade of experience running qualitative and quantitative research in local authorities, academia, the public and the third sector. Ed is a published author and frequent speaker on topics including the future of work and future of cities, urban and systems resilience and inclusive design.


Twitter: @edhoughton1

Twitter: @DGCities


Heather Wiltse (PhD) is currently associate professor in design for the data-intensive society at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University (Sweden). Her transdisciplinary research centers around trying to understand, articulate, and critique the role of digitally connected, responsive, and data-intensive things in experience and society in ways that can inform response-able design. Building on a background in human-computer interaction, science and technology studies, design, and communication and culture, Heather’s research focus is currently on doing design philosophy at the intersection of design theory and philosophy of technology. Her recent books are Changing Things: The Future of Objects in a Digital World (with Johan Redström, Bloomsbury 2019); and (as editor) Relating to Things: Design, Technology and the Artificial (Bloomsbury, 2020). She is part of the DCODE project team and a member of the executive boards of the Society for Philosophy and Technology and the Design Research Society.


Twitter: @hrwiltse


Eric Laurier is currently working on assistive technologies, trouble in public places, small talk practices in service work, wayfinding and family relationships in walking and cross-cultural driving practices. His long term approach to research emerges from ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. He is concerned, in fundamental ways, with the what of social things and how events happen, where those things might be as familar as crossing at traffic lights, or, as technical as professional film editing practice. To try and recover the overlooked details of how people organise the things that they do, he uses video recordings.


Twitter: @Eric_Laurier


Running Order

16.00 – Welcome by Chris Speed

16.05 – presentation on D-Risk by Ed Houghton

16.15 – Heather Wiltse responds

16.25 – Eric Laurier responds

16.35 – Panel discussion

16.50 – Q&A

17.00 – End