Unraveling the context of context


We are increasingly developing sophisticated systems which are aware of the context that they are used in, and intelligently adapt their behavior to this context. This keynote delves into the essence of ‘context’, acknowledging its diverse conceptualizations in literature, ranging from ‘any information’ to a few categories. Despite acknowledging that the relevance of context is domain-specific, it often remains unclear what is relevant specifically. Technically, context representations aim to objectively capture measurable context elements. However, practical significance often lies at a different abstraction level, where a context element’s relevance and meaning may shift based on how other context elements manifest. For instance, spacial coordinates have no immediate connection with the real word; their relevance and meaning are defined by what is there else. An individual’s (past) experience further complicates relevance: Is it an arbitrary house or is the one where you grew up? Do you currently live there? It context could become more intricate if a stranger enters that house. In this keynote address, I will embrace the subtleties of context, emphasizing that the compound of context elements matters, and underscoring that objective context representations may often only serve as proxies for truly significant experienced context.

3 July 2024
Campus Sant’Ignazio (St. Ignatius Campus)
Via Sant’Ignazio da Laconi 76
09124 Cagliari