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Intermediated Technology Use in Developing Communities Intermediated Technology Use in  Developing Communities Nithya Samb...
3 ITU, ICT stats, 2008 4 Internet World Stats, 2009 2 UNSESCO, 2008 1 Google Public Data, 2009 Technology penetration in I...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary/3819765986/ How are technological benefits extended in two slums of Bangalore, In...
<ul><li>In the “developed world”– one user, one computer </li></ul><ul><li>Personal  and  private </li></ul><ul><li>Design...
<ul><li>In the “developing world” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technology deficits are common </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of lite...
<ul><li>Intermediaries act as  bridges   between technology and communities </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediated interactions  ...
In this talk.. Related work Study design Ethnographic findings Challenges in design Broader effects of intermediation Desi...
Intermediation in ICTD babajob Parikh:  “those having only partial or no physical access to computing devices, who must in...
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CandlestickTelephoneGal.jpg http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/81773342/Retrofile
http://www.citrus.k12.fl.us/staffdev/Social%20Studies/Secondary%20Social%20Studies.History%20Sounds.htm
<ul><li>Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Field work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>S...
The Slum Ecology <ul><li>External Geography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Metro-core </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Domestic Space </li></...
<ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disruptive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discontinuous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><l...
 
 
“ all human experience is shaped by the tools and sign systems we use. Mediating tools connect us organically and intimate...
“ all human experience is shaped by the tools and sign systems we use. Mediating tools connect us organically and intimate...
Intermediary-user:  a person possessing technology-operation skills and possibly textual literacy who enables technology u...
User : “someone who uses a particular computer system or application” [Bannon] Use is  split A broader definition of use B...
<ul><li>Fear  of the technology </li></ul><ul><li>-  combination of unfamiliarity and lack of self-efficacy </li></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Surrogate  usage </li></ul><ul><li>Proximate  enabling </li></ul><ul><li>Proximate  translation </li></ul><ul><li>...
“ Sometimes I am not in a position to advise the women on certain topics, such as reproductive problems. In such cases, I ...
When Lakshmi, 22, helped her mother watch movies: “My mother knows nothing about playing audio CDs in our stereo system, b...
<ul><li>Operational  knowledge and inability to understand system output </li></ul><ul><li>Technology  cul-de-sacs </li></...
<ul><li>Combination  of intermediating channel and actual device </li></ul><ul><li>Beneficiary-user has to  control  and  ...
 
Design challenges – availability <ul><li>“ Anytime”, “anywhere” changes </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediary-users are limited, ...
<ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><li>Two more dimensions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Relationship between the users </li></ul>...
Accuracy <ul><li>Onus of accuracy on the intermediary </li></ul><ul><li>Information loss </li></ul><ul><li>Information tra...
Storage <ul><li>Reliance on memory </li></ul><ul><li>Sushila, numerate and non-literate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- could not ...
Privacy <ul><li>Mediated nature </li></ul><ul><li>Complex nuances of gender, power, and social dynamics </li></ul>“ Usuall...
Broader effects – A give-and-take economy <ul><li>Gift economy , reciprocity </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition, reputation, an...
The multiplier effect <ul><li>Gateway between ICT and unconnected households </li></ul><ul><li>Bare minimum </li></ul><ul>...
Digital habituation <ul><li>Familiarization with the technology [Ratan] </li></ul><ul><li>Collocated intermediated use is ...
Some thoughts on design Resource constraints Multiple  users Positioning and re-orientation Persistence and storage Symmet...
Re-conceptualizing the user Ownership is just one part of technology access - Prevailing statistics  privilege ownership -...
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Intermediation CHI talk

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Describes intermediated technology use in resource-constrained urban slums, including mechanisms, interface requirements, and its broader effects. Can help designers of technology for "developing" regions.

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Intermediation CHI talk

  1. 1. Intermediated Technology Use in Developing Communities Intermediated Technology Use in Developing Communities Nithya Sambasivan | UC , Irvine Ed Cutrell | Microsoft Research India Kentaro Toyama | UC, Berkeley Bonnie Nardi | UC, Irvine
  2. 2. 3 ITU, ICT stats, 2008 4 Internet World Stats, 2009 2 UNSESCO, 2008 1 Google Public Data, 2009 Technology penetration in India Population 1 : 1.1 billion Telephone penetr ation 3 : 36% Internet penetration 2 : 7% Literacy rate 4 : 66% Technology penetration in the United States Population : 300 million Telephone penetration: 89% Internet penetration: 74.1% Literacy rate: 99%
  3. 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary/3819765986/ How are technological benefits extended in two slums of Bangalore, India? What are the various social, cultural, economic, and technical factors that affect technology access /usage? What does this suggest about the conceptualization of use?
  4. 4. <ul><li>In the “developed world”– one user, one computer </li></ul><ul><li>Personal and private </li></ul><ul><li>Designed expecting literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediation when user needs assistance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Typically trouble-shooting [Kiesler, Poole] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Photo: http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/4913697/162743-main_Full.jpg </li></ul>Primary-user Technology
  5. 5. <ul><li>In the “developing world” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technology deficits are common </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of literacies, financial constraints, gender issues </li></ul><ul><li>Informal help goes beyond spot assistance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fundamental enabler of technology access </li></ul></ul>Beneficiary-user Technology Intermediary-user
  6. 6. <ul><li>Intermediaries act as bridges between technology and communities </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediated interactions co-exist with one-to-one, direct interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Complex human-mediated relations are involved </li></ul><ul><li>“ Single User” technologies must be re-examined </li></ul>
  7. 7. In this talk.. Related work Study design Ethnographic findings Challenges in design Broader effects of intermediation Design considerations Conclusion
  8. 8. Intermediation in ICTD babajob Parikh: “those having only partial or no physical access to computing devices, who must interact with information resources via a proxy primary user who has the required access rights and skills” Positioning of intermediary and technology [Sukumaran et al.] Human mediators are important to ICTD projects Studies of intermediation Commercial and institutionalized settings DakNet Digital Green
  9. 9. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CandlestickTelephoneGal.jpg http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/81773342/Retrofile
  10. 10. http://www.citrus.k12.fl.us/staffdev/Social%20Studies/Secondary%20Social%20Studies.History%20Sounds.htm
  11. 11. <ul><li>Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Field work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photo Diaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>26-69 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Habitats – 2 urban slums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People – 22 women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic workers, services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary to no schooling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Migrants </li></ul></ul>http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3418/3723699858_d8cfa7f0b9.jpg
  12. 12. The Slum Ecology <ul><li>External Geography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Metro-core </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Domestic Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>100-200 sq feet, partitioned, open doorways </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communal Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Play grounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water Taps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Street corners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Door steps </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disruptive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discontinuous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unstable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Devices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nokia 2600 Phone/radio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cable TV/VCD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fridge/ Blender </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always-on devices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cable TV </li></ul></ul>Technology landscape
  14. 16. “ all human experience is shaped by the tools and sign systems we use. Mediating tools connect us organically and intimately to the world; they are not merely filters or channels through which experience is carried” [Nardi] Mediation – Activity Theory In Activity Theory
  15. 17. “ all human experience is shaped by the tools and sign systems we use. Mediating tools connect us organically and intimately to the world; they are not merely filters or channels through which experience is carried” [Nardi] Human-mediated computer interaction In Activity Theory Second-order mediation
  16. 18. Intermediary-user: a person possessing technology-operation skills and possibly textual literacy who enables technology usage for other persons Beneficiary-user : derives value out of technologies through third parties, typically affected by non-literacy, non-numeracy, lack of digital operation skills, financial constraints, and socio-cultural and empowerment issues Definitions
  17. 19. User : “someone who uses a particular computer system or application” [Bannon] Use is split A broader definition of use Beneficiary-users were resourceful Exhibited agency Intermediary-users may gain information, reputation management, sense of doing good, or welfare Use and users
  18. 20. <ul><li>Fear of the technology </li></ul><ul><li>- combination of unfamiliarity and lack of self-efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of textual literacy, numeracy, or technology skills </li></ul><ul><li>- mutually exclusive skills </li></ul><ul><li>Habits of dependency </li></ul><ul><li>- age, lack of self esteem, social order gave rise to dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of owning technology </li></ul><ul><li>- purchase, but also in maintenance, subscriptions, updating, or repairs (Rs4,500/Rs5,000) </li></ul><ul><li>Access constraints </li></ul><ul><li>- 36% (N=8) for women, 82% (N=18) for men </li></ul>Factors motivating intermediation
  19. 21. <ul><li>Surrogate usage </li></ul><ul><li>Proximate enabling </li></ul><ul><li>Proximate translation </li></ul><ul><li>- trajectory of skills and access </li></ul><ul><li>- variety in age, education, family profile, skill-sets, occupation </li></ul>Interaction mechanisms
  20. 22. “ Sometimes I am not in a position to advise the women on certain topics, such as reproductive problems. In such cases, I look up medical websites, take printouts, and read them out to the community” [Sharanya, 26] <ul><li>Expands information boundaries otherwise closed to community </li></ul><ul><li>Last-mile connections </li></ul>Surrogate usage
  21. 23. When Lakshmi, 22, helped her mother watch movies: “My mother knows nothing about playing audio CDs in our stereo system, but she loves to listen to music. Sometimes when her chores are done, or after a long argument with my father, she wants to relax. She will then ask me to play her favourite music — old songs from MGR movies.” <ul><li>Hides complexity of user interface, yet outcome is known </li></ul><ul><li>Direct engagement </li></ul>Proximate enabling http://www.outlookindia.com/images/mgr_jayalalitha_20090713.jpg
  22. 24. <ul><li>Operational knowledge and inability to understand system output </li></ul><ul><li>Technology cul-de-sacs </li></ul>Proximate translation “ She learns English in school! She can understand everything!” [Mythili, 30]
  23. 25. <ul><li>Combination of intermediating channel and actual device </li></ul><ul><li>Beneficiary-user has to control and assess the state of the system </li></ul><ul><li>Dependency on the intermediary-user </li></ul><ul><li>Process of handling input </li></ul><ul><li>Actual input and output </li></ul>The intermediated “user-interface”
  24. 27. Design challenges – availability <ul><li>“ Anytime”, “anywhere” changes </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediary-users are limited, although leaps do occur </li></ul><ul><li>Availability depends upon intermediary </li></ul>“ Sometimes when Suguna and Sangeetha’s families are not in town, I feel uncomfortable asking other women or children here to help me with playing DVDs. Then I just put it off until they return.” [Janaki, 35]
  25. 28. <ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><li>Two more dimensions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Relationship between the users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Second-order usability of the application for the beneficiary-user </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Abstraction makes interface usable </li></ul>“ Whenever they (neighbours) call me for help, I just perform the tasks. The other day, it had rained heavily and I was called for ghost correction on TV. I helped them out, but I did not give them details on how to do it. It might have confused them.” [Shankar, 25, an intermediary-user] Photo credit: Nimmi Rangaswamy
  26. 29. Accuracy <ul><li>Onus of accuracy on the intermediary </li></ul><ul><li>Information loss </li></ul><ul><li>Information travel distance increased in surrogates </li></ul><ul><li>Printouts and phone calls </li></ul>
  27. 30. Storage <ul><li>Reliance on memory </li></ul><ul><li>Sushila, numerate and non-literate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- could not write names to associate with the phone numbers on the wall </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dependencies continue to exist </li></ul>
  28. 31. Privacy <ul><li>Mediated nature </li></ul><ul><li>Complex nuances of gender, power, and social dynamics </li></ul>“ Usually I ask my grandson or daughter to make the phone call (dial the number) and I speak to relatives in my native village near Madurai. But I will not ask my neighbour, since she may overhear and spread rumours.” [Shankaramma, 65]
  29. 32. Broader effects – A give-and-take economy <ul><li>Gift economy , reciprocity </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition, reputation, and social good are drivers [Bauwens] </li></ul><ul><li>Local process, requires interpersonal and institutional trust </li></ul>“ When Suguna or Sangeetha helps me out, I may not be as talented as them in operating these devices, but I try to return the favour in other ways. I take care of their children when they are late from work, or share my food with them, sometimes.” [Janaki, 35] Photo credit: Bill Thies
  30. 33. The multiplier effect <ul><li>Gateway between ICT and unconnected households </li></ul><ul><li>Bare minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Overcomes access barriers (2/12 women) </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary diffusion </li></ul>http://blurringborders.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/bangladesh1.jpg
  31. 34. Digital habituation <ul><li>Familiarization with the technology [Ratan] </li></ul><ul><li>Collocated intermediated use is inevitably demonstrative </li></ul><ul><li>Familiar face of intermediary </li></ul>“ From my earlier experience with using the buttons on the DVD player, I knew how to eject the tray and insert the disc. I hit the mukkonam (triangle — play button) and a coloured box (menu) showed-up on the TV which I could not understand. Fortunately, my friend Suguna’s 10-year old son was around, and he was able to play the menu. I watched what he did — he pressed the mel pakkam kuri (Up-arrow), pressed the vattam (circle) button, and then the mukkonam (play button). From then onwards, every time I played the disc, I remembered that.” [Janaki, 35]
  32. 35. Some thoughts on design Resource constraints Multiple users Positioning and re-orientation Persistence and storage Symmetrical engagement Legibility and involvement
  33. 36. Re-conceptualizing the user Ownership is just one part of technology access - Prevailing statistics privilege ownership - X% penetration, Y% intermediation, and Z% diffusion - “ Collective access ” is increased Limitations of the user/non-user dichotomy - Not a binary - Several shades of use; non-use is degrees away - Move away from ownership paradigm - Qualitative-quantitative bridging exercises
  34. 37. How are technological benefits extended in a slum? What are the various social, cultural, economic, and technical factors that affect technology access /usage? What does this suggest about the conceptualization of use?
  35. 38. In sum Intermediation overcomes technology, access, literacy, and social constraints Surrogate usage, proximate enabling, and proximate translation Intermediation pulls apart the standard notion of user Re-think the traditional HCI conception of user
  36. 39. Thank you!
  37. 40. Backup
  38. 41. Future work Resource-constraints, infrastructures, access mechanisms (subversive and non-legal /gray) Commons, sharing, and economic modes of production Production, re-production, distribution and circulation of goods Non-instrumental uses of technology Design methods
  39. 42. Need to scale beyond the simple notion of the human accessing the interface, to one that encompasses the wider socio-technical system Implies participation with the system [Ito et al] A degree of social, cultural, or economic usefulness A broader definition of use
  40. 43. <ul><li>“ Native” “ethnographer” [Narayan, Srinivas] </li></ul><ul><li>Question the notion of development. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the local idea </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand scope </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic violence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand internal politics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Snowball sampling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand the moral economy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bag tensions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remix the method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kolangal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mind the gap </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign visitors </li></ul></ul>
  41. 44. Methods used <ul><li>Participant observation (hung out in meetings, casual chats) </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews (Sociality, community, technology consumption, familial units) </li></ul><ul><li>Photo diaries (a day-in-the-life-of) </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys (trust) </li></ul><ul><li>Profile-building (age, marital status, profession, income, religion, education, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Scenarios (healthcare, education, domestic violence) </li></ul>
  42. 45. <ul><ul><li>IEEE/ACM ICTD : ICT – “comprises computing devices (e.g. PCs, PDAs, sensor networks), and technologies for voice and data connectivity such as mobile telephony, the Internet, and related technologies.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application domains are education, agriculture, enterprise, healthcare, poverty alleviation, general communication, and governance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Toyama and Dias defined ICT4D as a field involving multiple sectors—governments, academia, small start-ups, large corporations, intergovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—and drawing interest from multiple disciplines: anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, design, engineering, and computer science to name a few </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burrell and Toyama define ICT4D elsewhere as broadly involving a consideration of human and societal relations with the technological world and specifically considers the potential for positive socioeconomic change through this engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ICTD is the application of information technology in socio-economic development, can include Millennium Development Goals to include climate change, justice, money transfer, or expression. Can equally well apply to the “developed world.” </li></ul></ul>
  43. 47. Engagement <ul><li>Translation between interface and user </li></ul><ul><li>Perception and interpretation lie in the hands of the intermediary-user </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation is oral </li></ul>
  44. 48. Key differences b/w Ragigudda and Nakalbandi <ul><li>Ragigudda </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Higher literacy levels among parents </li></ul><ul><li>Younger children (5-10 years old) </li></ul><ul><li>Single-room houses, fewer appliances </li></ul><ul><li>DVD players </li></ul><ul><li>Water issues </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-religious, but petty arguments are dominant </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd generation migrants </li></ul><ul><li>Early 20’s </li></ul><ul><li>Flattened social structures? </li></ul><ul><li>Broad topics of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Children in Kannada medium schools </li></ul><ul><li>Ration shop protests underway </li></ul><ul><li>Nakalbandi </li></ul><ul><li>Illiterate or semi-literate. Informants could sign. </li></ul><ul><li>Older children (15+) </li></ul><ul><li>2-3 rooms, more appliances and accessories </li></ul><ul><li>DVD players </li></ul><ul><li>Sanitation issues </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-religious and united social structures </li></ul><ul><li>1 st generation migrants </li></ul><ul><li>Late 30’s </li></ul><ul><li>More alpha women than Ragigudda </li></ul><ul><li>Resonant with the NGO’s voice </li></ul><ul><li>Atleast one child is a call-center employee in Mumbai. Children stagnating in class 10 and12. </li></ul><ul><li>Pioneered ration shop protests </li></ul>
  45. 49. Current interaction model <ul><li>Information Types </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare – Occupational hazards, Gynecological issues, Children’s health, Cleanliness and hygiene, Diet & nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Savings - Micro-financing, Savings account </li></ul><ul><li>Activism – worker’s rights, Passing the worker’s rights law, Increase of pay </li></ul><ul><li>Careers – available options, Incremental training, Adult education </li></ul><ul><li>Children – Career planning, Dropouts, Modernity and relationships, performance </li></ul><ul><li>Family unit – Alcoholic husbands, Domestic violence, Ageing, </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual health – Extra-marital relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure – Water, Rations, Electricity </li></ul>Who owns? Listens? Mediates? Delivery mechanisms Leader women – Gita and cohorts Members of sangams Nakalbandi – voices of the community – Lakshmi, Mary, Channama, Venkatamma Ragigudda – flattened social structures Word-of-mouth NGO uses media such as video, CDs, audio etc.
  46. 50. Baseline <ul><li>What do you do? </li></ul><ul><li>What would you do? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you happy with current practices? </li></ul><ul><li>What do others do? </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare and personal welfare </li></ul><ul><li>Performance in school </li></ul><ul><li>Finances </li></ul><ul><li>Workers relationships with employers </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  47. 51. <ul><li>What is a developing country? </li></ul><ul><li>A “developing country” is defined as a country with a Human Development Index (HDI) score less than .8 </li></ul><ul><li>ƒThere are currently 99 countries in the world with HDI scores less than .8 or medium to low human development </li></ul><ul><li>ƒThe HDI is comprised of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ŠLife expectancy at birth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ŠAdult literacy (age 15 and above) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ŠCombined gross enrollment ration in education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ŠGross domestic product (GDP) per capita </li></ul></ul>
  48. 52. Intermediation in HCI Technical gurus Internet usage [Kiesler] Home networks [Poole, Chetty] Importance of helpers in using CSCW applications [Eveland] Cost of seeking help and gender in hospitals [Lee] Spontaneous workplace learning [Twidale] Lack of literacies and technology skills Scope of investigation: slum community
  49. 53. Acknowledgements Many thanks to Ed Cutrell and Kentaro Toyama for their brilliant mentoring. Thanks to my committee: Bonnie Nardi, Donald J. Patterson, Alladi Venkatesh, Bill Maurer, and Ed Cutrell Thanks to my informants and Stree Jagruti Seva (Geeta Menon, Selvi, Shaku) for letting me into their lives. A special thanks to Nimmi Rangaswamy, Bill Thies, Indrani Medhi, Aishwarya Ratan, and David Hutchful for excellent discussions. Thanks to Vaishnavi, Prathiba, and Mallika for their invaluable help with the research. Finally, thanks to Arvind Venkataramani, Jahmeilah Richardson, Ann Light, and Heather Horst for insightful feedback.

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