Alum Stuart Geiger on the Human Contexts of Computation and Data at UC San Diego

16 May, 2018

Alum Stuart Geiger on the Human Contexts of Computation and Data at UC San Diego

Alum Stuart Geiger is a computational ethnographer and postdoc at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. His incredible work has been showcased across the globe, and this time he shared his latest research closer to home, at The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. "The Human Contexts of Computational and Data: Infrastructures, Institutions, and Interpretations" took place on May 9th.

The abstract of his talk reads:

The statistical techniques and computational infrastructures of artificial intelligence and data science are increasingly built into products, platforms, organizations, and institutions of all kinds. Yet the collection, curation, and analysis of data has always been as social as it is technical. Even in the most automated, “data-driven” systems, there is always human labor in designing, developing, deploying, documenting, debating, maintaining, managing, manipulating, training, triaging, translating, using, and not using such systems. In focusing on the human contexts of computation and data across the pipeline, we gain key insights into various issues across fields, as well as new possibilities for collaboratively producing knowledge. I will discuss several cases from my ethnographic research empirically studying institutions and infrastructures that support the production and distribution of knowledge. These include: how Wikipedians automate quality control while seeking to keep humans in the loop and uphold their principles of openness and decentralization; how targets of coordinated harassment campaigns on Twitter developed tools to help moderate their own experiences; the academic career paths of those who practice and support data science; the sustainability of open source communities that develop and maintain key software tools; and the interpretation of findings made from large-scale analyses of social data.

Looking forward to seeing more amazing discussions from Stuart in the future!