Exploring the Design and Use of Forecasting Groupware Applications with an Augmented Shared Calendar
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Changes in work, along with improvements in techniques to statistically model uncertainty, have resulted in a class of groupware tools able to forecast the activities and/or attentional state of their users. This thesis represents an exploration into the design, development, and use of one such system. I describe the design and development of a groupware calendar system called Augur that is augmented with the ability to predict the attendance of its users. Using Bayesian networks, Augur models the uncertain problem of event attendance, drawing inferences based on the attributes of calendar events as well as a history of attendance provided by each user. This system was deployed to an academic workgroup and studied over the course of a semester. To more deeply explore the social implications of Augur and systems like it, I conducted a structured privacy analysis of Augur to examine the vulnerabilities inherent in this type of forecasting groupware system. I present an architecture, user interface, and probabilistic model for Augur. This work also addresses the feasibility of such a system and the challenges faced when deploying it to an academic workgroup. I also report on an exploration of the systems use by individuals, its effects on communication within working relationships, and its effectiveness with respect to the presence of domestic calendars. Finally, I present a set of implications for the workplace social environment with the introduction of Augur. Specifically, I show how the integrity of predictions generated by Augur can have consequences for the privacy of users and their representations through the shared calendar. Overall, this thesis is presented as an early exploration into the potential for a new class of forecasting groupware applications. It offers guidance and lessons learned for both designers and researchers seeking to work in this area. It also presents a complete calendar application as an example for building and studying such systems.