Working with the RAInS project team and external stakeholders,
my primary responsibilities for the next two years will be to investigate
issues of trust and accountability in intelligent systems (AI). This will be
done using qualitative research methods to answer questions surrounding the
accountability of systems related to specific use cases.
For the non-AI folks, you can think of this (very, very
simply) as looking at who/what is “responsible” when a self-driving car goes
rouge or when AI-based hiring decisions are racist/sexiest.
The research was originally planned as a series of hands-on co-design workshops, but given the current state of the world (COVID19), we might need to re-think how best to proceed. I have been thinking about potential (digital) methods over the last couple of weeks and I am sure that we will have a few conversations about how to proceed in the next couple of weeks.
For now, I am just getting myself up to speed. I have
several documents and literature to review to provide me a good overview of the
project from background literature and proposals to research summaries and
workshop artefacts from other research partners. I am hoping that by the time I
get through those files we will have a better idea of how to proceed.
It is a bit of a strange start, given that we are on lockdown orders as part of the UK’s COVID19 response. This means that my work will be done remotely for the foreseeable future. I just hope that it won’t be long until I can move into my flat in Aberdeen and start meeting my new colleagues face-to-face. In the meantime, thank goodness for technology!
Calling all PhDs and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) for a sandpit-style workshop.
When is it? February 3-4 @ University of Surrey, UK
Who is it for? PhD students or Early Career Researchers (ERCs) working on topics in Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security (TIPS)
What is TAPESTRY? TAPESTRY is a socio-technical study of trust in online identities – the psychology of how trust is engendered on and off-line, how we can design for trust, and how emerging technologies such as AI and Blockchain can help create tools that enable us to make better trust decisions online. Further information can be found on the short video below.
What happens at the event? We are running a facilitated sandpit workshop on 3-4 February to explore novel applications of research outcomes from the EPSRC / UKRI Digital Economy funded TAPESTRY project. For more information on Sandpits, see these resources from the EPSRC – but note this event is being run by the TAPESTRY team not EPSRC (please apply using our EOI form below). The sandpit will be highly multi-disciplinary and we welcome applications from all disciplines across Sciences, Arts and Humanities.
As part of the Sandpit, participants will learn more about the TAPESTRY project. They will then form teams, and develop proposals to explore new uses of the social insights and technical tools that have been developed during TAPESTRY. We will award £10,000 of funding at the Sandpit, across the top three proposals. The three successful teams will then have three months to deliver their mini-projects, before attending a follow-up workshop to present a report on their research.
Please fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) form if you would like to attend the Sandpit.
** Funding to support attendance is available **
Bursaries: PhD/ECRs selected to attend will be awarded a bursary of up to £200 GBP to support travel. Accommodation will be provided for 3rd February, plus meals during the Sandpit. Academics/supervisors may also attend at own cost. In both cases please use the EOI form above.
Key dates: Event: 3-4 February, University of Surrey, Guildford UK Apply via EOI form by: 24 January 2020 — DEADLINE EXTENDED! Notification of acceptance: 24 January 2020
The multi-disciplinary project is ultimately quite technical when compared to my own skillset and research areas. That means that I sometimes struggle to explain the full project. (I find it quite fun and easy to explain my part of the project though, which is nice!) In the end, I generally explain that the project aim is to build a tool that helps people to stay safe online.
But as luck would have it, we have just finailsed a short video that helps to explain the project in plain language with simple graphics. The video is about a minute and a half and is an easy watch, so check it out below.
As part of my work with the Living Digital group at the University of Dundee, I am starting to recruit participants for a study related to trust and online dating. I will be using qualitative interviews and focus groups for this study, and I am hoping to have about 20 participants.
This study forms part of a larger project that looks at how
users establish trusting relationships online. In total, we will look at four
different scenarios in which users make trust judgments online: e-commerce,
health forums, online dating, and managing ‘Internet of Things’ devices. For my
qualitative portion of the project, I will aim to outline key factors that
contribute to trust behaviour in a particular online environment. These
findings will then be further examined in future studies, which will contribute
to the development of an automated system for authenticating the online
identity of other users who you are interacting with.
The aim of the project is to investigate, develop, and
demonstrate new ways to enable people, businesses and services to connect
safely online, exploiting the complex “tapestry” of multi-modal signals woven
by their everyday digital interactions. Through this project, the team
will develop a de-centralised registry that stores trails of users’ digital
activity, enabling users to share portions of it to prove they are
trustworthy – without giving away so much information that it violates their
privacy. By doing this, the work will de-risk the Digital Economy,
delivering completely new ways of determining or engendering trust
online, and enabling users and businesses to make better decisions about
who they trust online.
Now, if you’re wondering how I managed to land a job on such
a techy project, it’s simple: Sometimes the technical side of life needs a bit
of the human side of life to help weave things together. (weave, tapestry… get
To that, my role on the project is to run two qualitative
studies looking at different aspects of determining trust in online
environments. I am just starting to get my head around the details of what I’ll
be doing, so I won’t get into the details here just yet. However, I will share more
about this work as time goes on.
This will be my first time contributing to a large-scale study of this kind, which will be a learning experience in its own right. I will also be balancing this role along with my post-doctoral work on my “social media proxies” project, as well as completing my thesis edits. So, I expect it to be a fairly chaotic few months. But chaotic in a good way (I hope!)