Past Presentations
Crowdsourcing and Online Services: the Good, the Bad, and the Lucrative
Ben Zhao
Tue, 04/07/2015 - 3:00pm

Crowdsourcing provides a fast and easy way for those with challenging problems to get help from real human "workers" across the Internet.  The growing popularity of crowdsourced systems has a number of implications on the security and viability of today's online systems.  In this talk, I'll present some of our recent results across multiple projects that study the various benefits and downsides of crowdsourced systems.  First, I'll briefly describe some of our earlier work on using crowdsourced workers to detect fake user profiles in online social networks.

Climate Data Detectives: On the History and Politics of Knowledge about Global Climate Change
Paul Edwards
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 4:00pm

Edwards teaches in in the School of Information (SI) and the Dept. of History at the University of Michigan, an interdisciplinary professional school focused on bringing people, information, and technology together in more valuable ways. His research explores the history, politics, and cultural aspects of computers, information infrastructures, and global climate science. He sometimes direct the University of Michigan Science, Technology & Society Program which sponsors a distinguished speaker series, a biweekly faculty colloquium, a graduate certificate, and an undergraduate minor.

Drone Logic: Distributed, Ubiquitous Monitoring and the “Big Data” Deluge
Mark Andrejevic
Fri, 02/06/2015 - 2:00pm

The presentation is not about drones, per se (that is, the armed surveillance devices used in contemporary forms of asymmetrical warfare), but about what might be described as drone logic: the deployment of ubiquitous, always-on networked sensors for the purposes of automated data collection, processing, and response. It treats the drone as an avatar of the emerging logic of increasingly passive interactivity.

Networked Protests in the 21st Century: Strengths, Weaknesses and Protester Desires
Zeynep Tufekci
Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:00pm

Early predictions about Internet's impact on social movements was that lower coordination costs afforded by internet technologies would help help fuel movements, but that online symbolic acts, derided as slacktivism, would turn out to be of little to no influence. Based on field research and study of in multiple large movements, including those of the so-called Arab Spring, Gezi protests in Turkey, Occupy in the United States, I conclude the opposite.

The Materiality of the Virtual: A Global Environmental History of Computing from Babbage to Bitcoin
Nathan Ensmenger
Wed, 01/21/2015 - 5:00pm

For most Americans, one of the defining features of the modern digital economy is the invisibility of its material infrastructure.

Social Technologies and Social Cognition: Vicarious Learning through Ambient Awareness
Paul Leonardi
Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:00pm

A great many studies have extolled the virtues of shared cognition within social organizations. When individuals within teams and organizations share similar mental maps of task and communication behavior they perform better on a whole host of outcomes (e.g., faster product development, higher quality outputs, increased team performance, increased individual satisfaction at work, etc.). But how can individuals who work together develop shared cognition?

I like the news: Informational uses of social media and processes of attitude formation and expression
Stephan Winter
Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:00pm

Besides their original role as tools for private communication, social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook are increasingly used as sources of information on political and societal debates: News media organizations and politicians have set up channels within the network, and users frequently discuss current topics with their friends – especially in the younger population, SNS have become one of the major sources of news.

Bringing Communication into Participation: Communicative Factors Influencing Citizen Political Engagement
Magdalena Wojcieszak
Mon, 11/17/2014 - 12:00pm

What encourages citizens to take an active part in the political process? What are the factors that make people more inclined to join a protest, write a letter to a public official or attempt to persuade someone? Traditionally, scholars have shown that people participate because of who they are (e.g., Smith, 1999; Verba et al., 1995), because of the benefits they obtain (e.g., Riker & Ordeshook, 1968) and because they are mobilized (e.g., Rosenstone & Hansen, 1993; Tarrow, 1998).

Democratizing Technologies Conference
Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:00am

How can NGOs produce more equitable and sustainable outcomes of new technologies? What are the implications of NGO participation in governance for democracy and technological advancement? These questions are the focus of a multidisciplinary, global conference to be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), November 13-15, 2014.

Social Media and Political Engagement: Old and New Puzzles
Cristian Vaccari
Mon, 11/03/2014 - 4:00pm

Co-Hosted with the Department of Political Science.

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