, , & , FORTNIoT: Intelligible predictions to improve user understanding of smart home behavior,Proc. ACM Interact. Mob. Wearable Ubiquitous Technol. 4, 124:1–124:24 (2020). DOI  PDF


Ubiquitous environments, such as smart homes, are becoming more intelligent and autonomous. As a result, their behavior becomes harder to grasp and unintended behavior becomes more likely. Researchers have contributed tools to better understand and validate an environments' past behavior (e.g. logs, end-user debugging), and to prevent unintended behavior. There is, however, a lack of tools that help users understand the future behavior of such an environment. Information about the actions it will perform, and why it will perform them, remains concealed. In this paper, we contribute FORTNIoT, a well-defined approach that combines self-sustaining predictions (e.g. weather forecasts) and simulations of trigger-condition-action rules to deduce when these rules will trigger in the future and what state changes they will cause to connected smart home entities. We implemented a proof-of-concept of this approach, as well as a visual demonstrator that shows such predictions, including causes and effects, in an overview of a smart home's behavior. A between-subject evaluation with 42 participants indicates that FORTNIoT predictions lead to a more accurate understanding of the future behavior, more confidence in that understanding, and more appropriate trust in what the system will (not) do. We envision a wide variety of situations where predictions about the future are beneficial to inhabitants of smart homes, such as debugging unintended behavior and managing conflicts by exception, and hope to spark a new generation of intelligible tools for ubiquitous environments.

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