Alum Stuart Geiger on Computational Ethnography at the University of Maryland

02 Mar, 2018

Alum Stuart Geiger on Computational Ethnography at the University of Maryland

Geiger presented "Computational Ethnography and the Ethnography of Computation: The Case for Context" to the University of Maryland's iSchool on February 26th. Geiger currently studies the infrastructures and institutions that support the production of knowledge at Cal's Institute for Data Science. While at Cal, he investigated the governance and moderation of Wikipedia and Twitter, focusing on the social and organizational roles of algorithmic systems. Geiger is also a founding member of UC-Berkeley’s cross-departmental working groups on Data Science Studies, Algorithms in Culture, and Algorithmic Opacity & Fairness.

From the event description:

The collection, curation, and analysis of data has always been as social as it is technical. As the statistical techniques and computational infrastructures of artificial intelligence and data science rapidly develop, we must continue to ground our understandings of data in context, drawing on the lived experiences of people who give that data meaning. But how do we bring human-centered perspectives and cultural contexts to data-intensive, highly-automated algorithmic decision-making? In this talk, I define and discuss two ways of thinking about ethnographic methods in relation to computer, information, and data science, then discuss how my research into various knowledge infrastructures and user-generated content platforms relates to both. Computational ethnography and the ethnography of computation bring key insights and collaborations to many classic and contemporary issues about information systems as socio-technical systems, letting us attend to data, information, and knowledge as it exists in particular organizational, institutional, social, cultural, economic, and political contexts.

Read more here.