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Personal profile

Research interests

My practice led research is in human centred design for complex technical scenarios; the cognitive and behavioural affordances of the designed image and human agency. This concern sits within 'computational media aesthetics' (IBM 2001) as my work investigates specifically how models based upon established visual languages might close the semantic gap in diverse forms of sentiment analysis for complex human/machine convergence.

This has involved a long term investigation into the social semiotics of the constructed image in an algorithmic and networked context, informing novel methods in design for complexity, human factors and machine learning.

These methods have thus far helped define workable human centred morphologies of, and topographies for, User Experience Design (UXD) vectors, grammars and architectures of digital artefacts, products and services by means of natural language analogies for corpus and systematic algorithmic formalisms.

Contributing to research in

  • behavioural analytics
  • attribution metrics
  • cognitive modelling
  • hybrid AI
  • neural networks

My work is applied in transformational, parametric and/or generative systems in

  • eCommerce
  • computer games
  • digital health
  • psychometrics
  • neuro-marketing
  • cognitive, emotional, social and cultural computing
  • next generation wearables such as Brain Computer Interfaces

I have always been interested in the technicities of material culture : 

  • how visual meaning, values and affordances are designed, transacted and maintained through media technologies
  • how iconography, belief, ideology, narrative and mythology are designed, commodified and transacted in representational systems
  • the technical performativity of cultural capital
  • the relationship between asset, affordance, agency, end user engagement, behaviour and social impact

Specifically over the last 25 years, this has been in relation to digital transformation of values and complex human factors engineering. 

My first neuro-game & dementia tech in 2009 led to breakthrough cognitive UX design patterns. From that work, I developed “RhizoMetrics” TM (2014), a parametric design method that supports the development, monitoring and recalibration of behavioural affordances in any computational context.

 Using RhizoMetrics, I am developing cognitive UXD paradigms for

  • ‘nudge mechanics'
  • 'neuro-navigation'
  • 'neuro-transformation'
to guide valuable and ethical singularities in IoT, robotics & immersive environments for Industry4.0 and beyond, as core to a fundamental Human / Machine Operating System - HM/OSS www.rhizometricdesign.com

My work has always generated personal, behavioural and socio-cultural data and insights, putting me at the fore of ethical debates over many years, and defining ethical parameters for designed User Experiences is a primary objective of my research. 

 

 

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in Supervising work that contributes to the development of Industry 4.0 transformational, parametric and/or generative systems, particularly with regards human factors, ethics and the singularity

For example :

  • digital transformation of values / policy / ideology / law
  • commercial applications of biometric interfaces 
  • psychometric hypernetworks in MNOs
  • social and cultural applications of Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies
  • 5G native user experience
  • human centred Mobile Edge Computing (MEC)
  • HCD and network slicing applications
  • cognitive / neural networks 
  • behavioural Internet of Things (IoT)
  • causal AI
  • intelligent personas
  • digial immortality
  • Internet of Mind (IoM)

 

Scholarly biography

As Academic lead for Connected Futures research & enterprise,  I am one of five strategic, cross University Professorial leads implementing the 2017 Research and Enterprise Plan. We are responsible for leading the development of an international, interdisciplinary and impactful research environment. Connected Futures themes include :

  • Digital Economies
  • Immersive, Simulations & Virtualisation
  • Complexity & Design
  • Digital Health (in collaboration with Healthy Futures)


As Professor of Digital Transformation Design I was employed as an outstanding research active academic with an influential position outside of HE, to help to maximise the impact of the University’s work in industry, explicitly exploitation and development of the Brighton FUSE Reports, The Fusebox research projects and the resultant Brighton Digital Catapult Centre partnership. I now head up two innovation ecosystem projects - a £1.3m big data project with Gatwick airport in a B2B Data Innovation Lab and Digital Catapults £1.2m 5G Brighton testbed in partnership with 5GIC, a named part of the UK Govts 5G Strategy. I am a Member of UK5Gs SME Working Group, advising on the development of a viable and achievable plan for encouraging SME and other business in the adoption of 5G technologies, contributing towards a stand-alone, UK-wide policy report.

I am also a Non Executive Director and Trustee of NEST, the UK Govts £10bn workplace pension fund with 12m users, where  I have particular responsibility for guiding their PPP digital transformation of FinTech to a digital first behaviour change strategy at scale. I work closely with NEST Insights - a collaborative research unit that brings together leading researchers, such as colleagues from Maastricht University and the RSA, to provide a rich store of data and insights on the needs and behaviours of a previously under researched population. 

My academic career started in 2000 with an AHRC PhD Scholarship to SIAD, now part of University College of the Creative Arts (UCCA) to investigate semiotic systems and computational affordances. My first post was in 2004 at The Open University as a Central Academic in the Design & Innovation Dept under Prof Nigel Cross; 5* RAE and third in UK for design research after the RCA and Imperial. As part of the Complexity & Design Research Cluster (Computational Design theme), I worked closely with the Knowledge Media Institute (KMI) under Professor Marc Eisenstadt on Early Careers work developing semantic computer vision ontologies for Content Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) that went on to my honourary affiliation to the Digital Imaging Research Centre (DIRC), one of the largest clusters of computer vision scientists in Europe as part of my next post at Kingston University. 

I have 35 years in human centred design (HCD) and technology innovation and 25 in User Experience Design (UXD), digital transformation and computational design. With a background in experimental electronic arts and design, my first bid was to Arts Council England New Collaborations Fund in 1991; commissioned artworks include my first website for Boddingtons Manchester Festival in 1994 (FACT) and touchscreen narrative alongside Jane & Louise Wilson (LFVU) in 1995, interactive game (HTBA) 1995 and A.I. 1997 (LJMU) alongside Sean Cubitt as part of the seminal TechnoCultures One. Exhibitions include Video Positive at Tate Liverpool (1998), MicroTel Voluptous Blinking Eye Teletext intervention on Nederland Channels 1, 2 & 3 (2006) and Big Screens, across ten cities in Russia (2005). 

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Women In Games Ambassador, sponsored by Google Women Tech Makers.

Knowledge exchange

I am a human centred industrial designer who works with technology; expert in R&D for ‘Next Gen’; delivering creative innovation in complex technical scenarios; leading on complexity and design methods for socio-technical outcomes at scale; creative industries / STEM convergence in industrial and teaching, research and enterprise transformation.

My expertise is as an industrial designer in designing for persuasion, emotion & trust (PET) in User Experience Design (UXD) and I have worked in e-commerce, games, e-health, e-learning, heritage & the arts, FinTech and military & defence with iOS, Android, Windows, Cloud, Xbox, Playstation & Drones; MIDI, haptics, holography, stereoscopy and AR/VR; applied sensor technologies, biometrics (inc. eye tracking, facial recognition, EEG, EMG, GSR), computer vision, machine learning, predictive analytics, big data and automatic signal recognition and I have ten years working with Brain Computer Interfaces. 

By means of experiential marketing and then eCommerce, I started my first digital business in 1996 and won EU recognition for the micro-business model I devised outsourcing production worldwide via ISDN from two PowerMac 8500s with 16MB RAM as the PYBT regional delegate at the Youth For Europe Conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels. I went on to lead first wave digital transformation from print to digital at Realtime Interactive, part of EHS advertising agency in Soho Square, alongside Malcolm Garrett (1998). Process innovations, for example for the first ever pan-Eurpoean website for Playstation2 (1999), included maintenance contracts and a paid problem definition phase to account for a high level of innovation (now ‘Sprint0’ in Agile Development) went on to contribute to ‘FULCRM’, a global user centred design innovation service at Havas Worldwide.  

My own commercial clients include Which?, Top Shop, EDF & EY. 

External positions

Non Executive Director & Trustee

1 Jul 201930 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • QA76 Computer software
  • computation
  • design
  • complexity
  • algorithmic formalisms
  • generative systems
  • augmentation
  • cognition
  • singularity
  • technology
  • organisational transformation
  • digital economy
  • neural plasticity
  • philosophy of mind
  • ethics

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Projects

Research Output

Designing the Future, a Handbook for Effective Innovation: Computation, Complexity & Globalisation

Cham, K. & Johnson, J., 1 Nov 2020, (Accepted/In press) Springer.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

5G Accelerated Complexity, Human Centred Networks & Data Driven Transformation ​

Cham, K., 15 May 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

  • Cognitive UX Design: Engineering Behaviour Change

    Cham, K., 21 Jun 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

  • www.drivaartsdriva.com

    Cham, K., 1 Jun 2019

    Research output: Non-textual outputSoftware

  • Activities

    What Could Travis Scott's Live Gig on Fortnite Mean for the Future of Brands?

    Karen Cham (Presenter)

    21 May 2020

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERDISCIPLINARY CYBER PHYSICAL SYSTEMS ICPS 2020 (Event)

    Karen Cham (Programme Committee Member)

    2020 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    HM Government (External organisation)

    Karen Cham (Member)

    1 Jul 201930 Jun 2024

    Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesPersonal board membership of professional/academic bodies

    Designing Digital First Behaviour Change: Full Stack Cognitive UXD Process

    Karen Cham (Presenter)

    20 Jun 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Emotional UX and Designing for PET (Persuasion, Emotion & Trust)

    Karen Cham (Presenter)

    19 Apr 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk