Jonah Brucker-Cohen
Lehman College / City University of New York

Copy of jonah cohen headshot.jpeg

Jonah Brucker-Cohen is an award winning researcher, artist, and writer. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Lehman College / CUNY in the Bronx. He is a New INC. mentor and New York Hall of Science Designer in Residence. He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department of Trinity College Dublin. His work focuses on the theme of “Deconstructing Networks'' and includes over 100 creative projects that critically challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and experience. His artwork has been exhibited and showcased at venues such as SFMOMA, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Art, MOMA, ICA London, Whitney Museum of American Art, Palais de Tokyo, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, and more. His projects, “Bumplist'' and “America’s Got No Talent” are both included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. His writing has appeared in publications such as WIRED, Make, Gizmodo, Neural and more. His hardware hacking Scrapyard Challenge workshops have been held in over 15 countries in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Australia since 2003.

Copy of HumanError_Password - Jonah Brucker-Cohen.jpg

Human Error: A Collection of Projects that Emphasize Things We Do Wrong With Technology and the Internet.

Today we are often confronted with computer interfaces that are built to be “easy to use”, but in reality, are more confusing than ever. “Human Error” consists of software projects and hardware devices that integrate elements of human error into their design to provoke and materialize human frailty when it comes to operating digital devices and interfaces. Perhaps by designing these "human" elements into user interfaces we will move closer to creating machines that could pass the "Turing Test”. James Reason, former Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester, coined the term “Human Error” in the late 1980s. Reason quantified human error in two distinct categories: that of the (1) person approach and the (2) system approach. While the person approach examines errors of individuals in areas of deficit such as forgetful-ness, carelessness, negligence and similar, the system approach takes a wider stance and blames human error on organizational mishaps or structural systems that are difficult to master. The projects in this series focus on the “person approach” where most of the error-correctable tasks could have been avoided entirely. Human Error projects include “Password”, a web-based password field that automatically changes your chosen password to the word "Password" when submitted, “Lttr Dial”, An iOS app that removes the numbers from the dialing interface forcing users to dial with (and second guess the existence of) letter combinations, “PPRJM”, a modified printer that continually causes a paper jam when in use, “TheftID”, A web entry form built to cause identity theft, “Auto-CRCT”, a modified auto-correct engine that integrates wrongly used abbreviations into typed messages, “NoSGNL”, a monitor that continually changes source to “no-signal”, “CRWDDSTRP”, a modified power strip that contains too many plug holes and spaces to allow for more than a single plug to fit. This design forces users to try and plug in their device and fail every time, and more.