The Social Media & Society conference series has been bringing together social media researchers annually since 2010. This year’s meeting in London (UK) was the first time it was held outside of Canada. For CaSMa this offered an excellent opportunity to present the results of the work Andrew Moffat at the Horizon CDT did for our POET project. Follow these links for more information about Andrew’s project, poster he presented at SM&S 16 and the report he wrote about his work.
As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Gada for the civic-engagement in the digital age project, we participated in the Connected Life 2016 conference that was held at the Oxford Internet Institute on June 20th and 21st. We were particularly interested in this conference because of the deliberate efforts by the (student) organizers to include not only academics but also activists and civic/civil-society NGOs among the speakers and discussion panels. While the first day of the conference consisted of academic talks, the second day was organized around workshops and panel discussions by activist/NGOs.
On June 2nd and June 3rd the biennale Danish conference on STS (DASTS16) was held at Aarhus, Denmark. The tagline for the conference was the “quintessential anti-determinist and anti-essentialist mantra of STS ‘It could have been different'”.
On March 1st I participated in a debate on Digital Ethics organized by the Digital Enlightenment Forum (DEF). The debate was a follow-up of previous discussions at the DEF in 2015 and brought together lawyers, engineers, economists, social scientists and philosophers to discuss challenges and possible framework for digital ethics that might help people, organizations, businesses and societies deal with the fast and complex ways in which digital technologies are impacting human lives. What follows is an abbreviated summary of the event. A more complete version is available from the DEF website.
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Or would it? In his novel 1984, George Orwell introduces the idea of Newspeak whereby the Ministry of Truth reshapes language in order to make it impossible people to express, and hence think, concepts that go against the Party.
On 25th February 2016, the Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum, organized by the European Commission, took place in Brussels. This one day conference was centred on the progress made in creating a Digital Single Market in Europe. The agenda of the day started with a pre-conference breakfast session about the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI)’s financing opportunities for digital projects, especially for extending the roll-out of Broadband internet connections in rural areas that have not yet achieved full internet penetration.
On February 17th and 18th the Alan Turing Institute held a two day ‘scientific scoping workshop’ on Algorithm Society with the tag-line: “If data is the oil of the 21st century then algorithms are the engines that animate modern economies and societies by providing reflection, analysis and action on our activities. This workshop will look at how algorithms embed in and transform economies and societies and how social and economic forces shape the creation of algorithms.”
The workshop started with three talks covering FinTech (by Prof. Donald MacKenzie), human attitudes/expectations and willingness to use/trust algorithmic decisions (by Berkeley Dietvorst) and a proposal for a “Machine Intelligence Commission” to investigate and interrogate algorithm bias and compliance with regulations (by Geoff Mulgan).
Last week Thursday and Friday the ESRC and UK Data Services ran a workshop on “supporting human rights organizations to deliver insight from data”. Attendees for this workshop consisted of a mix of human rights organizations [Save the Children, Advocates for International Development, Fair Trials, the Ariadne network (European funders for social change and human rights), Housing Association Charitable Trust, the British Institute of Human Rights, Medaille trust, Freedom from Torture] and organizations or university researchers with relevant expertise in data management and/or analysis [UK Data Service, Surrey University, New Philanthropy Capital, The Times, The Guardian, the GESIS-Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences, King’s College London, DataKind UK, University of Manchester, COSMOS, CaSMa].
The whole CaSMa team joined ETHICOMP2015 at De Montfort University (Leicester) early last week. EHICOMP2015 was a fantastic ‘old school reunion’ that gathered well established researchers in the field – to discuss the role of computing in our societies and the question of the ethical values and consequences linked to the ever-growing importance of technology in our lives. The ETHICOMP community claims to be more than a highly multidisciplinary group of academics and industry related partners, and definitely more than a conference. ETHICOMP aims to be a ‘community mentor’ that would go beyond the usual conference academic output, and I could not disagree with this statement. A notorious aspect of this conference was the non-hierarchical, approachable and friendly attitude of delegates, presenters and keynote speakers and an obvious willingness to be as inclusive as possible. Continue reading 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration