BCNM Around the Web April 2021

17 Apr, 2021

BCNM Around the Web April 2021

Check out the amazing work of our faculty, students, and alumni around the web this April!

Xiaowei Wang

Xiaowei's Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside featured on Public Books' On Our Nightstands: February 2021."

From the article:

We always think about technology as the epitome of culture, far removed from nature, the environment, soil, the earth. We also tend to think about it as a distinctly urban thing, and as gazed at through our Western lens. Xiaowei Wang flips that script. In their immensely enjoyable book Blockchain Chicken Farm, they treat the reader to beautifully narrated observations of the intersection of technology and society in China, often trhough the lens of agriculture and food. The connection made to larger questions around the political economy of AI, and our current obsession with AI and surveillance, are effortless and will make for a brilliant addition to both the nightstand and the syllabus.

Check out the full article here!

Gail De Kosnik

Gail will be giving a keynote lecture at the FanLIS 2021: Building Bridges Symposium on May 20th. Her lecture is titled "Archiving, Librarianship, and Futurity Among Pirates and Fans."

Register for the FanLIS conference here!

Ken Goldberg

Ken was recently featured in Robohub's "One robot on Mars is robotic, ten robots are automation." Ken's Dear Colleague Letter, which encouraged papers declined by ICRA (International Conference on Robotics and Automation) to revise them for CASE (Conference on Automation Science and Engineering), was praised for its note on the difference between robotics and automation.

Read the article here!

Ken spoke on the new approaches being taken when it comes to robotics research in his seminar, "New Wave in Robot Grasping". Hosted by the University of Toronto Robotics Institute, Ken explored the new hybrid methods that combine analytic models with stochastic sampling and Deep Learning models, and the results such methods bring in robotics research.

Check out the recorded seminar on Youtube here!

Ken also recently gave a presentation titled "Other Intelligence: Exoticism and AI" for the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence's spring conference on Intelligence Augmentation: AI Empowering People to Solve Global Challenges. In his presentation, Ken speaks on the interesting and complex relationship between art and artificial intelligence.

Learn more about the event and check out the recorded event here!

Sonia Katyal

Sonia's work on the ethics of artificial intelligence was recently highlighted and featured in VentureBeat's "AI Weekly: Facebook, Google, and the tension between profits and fairness."

From the article:

It also cites research by UC Berkeley law professor Sonia Katyal, who told VentureBeat, "What we should be concerned about is a world where all of the most talented researchers like [Gebru] get hired at these places and then effectively muzzled from speaking. And when that happens,whistleblower protections become essential."

Read the full article here!

Celeste Kidd

Celeste was a featured speaker for the first part of Reuters' Momentum Technology Series.

From the event description:

Artificial Intelligence is set to radically improve our society and economy and has applications in every industry. By freeing up time for more fulfilling work, creating new jobs and allowing us to make smarter decisions this technology ist ruly transformational. This webinar gathers a selection of experts to delve into recent developments in AI, trends for 2021 and beyond as well as strategies organizations and societies should adopt to make the most of this rapidly growing technology.

Learn more about the event here!

Beth Piatote

Beth recently featured in a Daily Californian article reporting on the discussions between the Native campus community and the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly on a partnership to share Anthony Hall.

From the article:

"Invisibility is a very big issue for us," said Beth Piatote,, campus associate professor of Native American studies, during the meeting. "Having a space where we can see each other and have some shared experience where we can visit and validate our identities is really important."

Read the full article here!​

Alenda Chang

Alenda recently gave a speech titled "Post-Games? On New Forms of Precarity in Play" as keynote speech for Film Forum 2021.

Learn more about the event here!

Grace Gipson

Grace recently featured as a speaker on the Race, Media, and Comics panel for the African American Intellectual History Society's Sixth Annual Conference.

From the event description:

AAIHS has been north, east, south, and now we are coming to "The West" for the 2021 annual conference. This past year has allowed for deep reflection on and analysis of the values of western civilization as Covid-19 and anti-Black racism spread uncontrollably. "The West" is a significant, but ambivalent, concept in the diasporic Black experience. From a hegemonic perspective, the concept has been used to demarcate the supposedly "civilized" from the "uncivilized" and the modern from the pre-modern. It has been used to divide some ethnic and racial groups while coalescing others. The complicated and often conflicted relationship between Blackness and "The West" is the basis of conversation for the 25 captivating panels, workshops, author meets readers sessions, film screenings, and keynote lecture.

Learn more about the event here!

Jane McGonigal

Jane's app, SuperBetter, featured in CBC's "30 free and fantastic internet activities - round 2."

From the article:

In SuperBetter, you can participate in various daily tasks to build physical and mental health. It was created by researcher and game designer Jane McGonigal who, while suffering from a painful and prolonged concussion, invented the SuperBetter game to aid in her recovery and strengthen her resilience.

Read the full article here!

Jane's app, SuperBetter, also made MakeUseOf's list in "The 5 Best Gamified Apps for Time Management." MakeUseOf described the app as "a gamified time-management and productivity app that puts science at the heart of its strategy."

Read the full article here!

Trevor Paglen

Trevor is one of over 30 artists from across the globe involved in Sharjah Art Foundation's new exhibition, Unsettled Objects. The expansive exhibition explores the relationships between art, history, and society.

Learn more about the exhibition here!

Bo Ruberg

Bo recently spoke on their book The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games and the politics of contemporary games in Sussex Humanities Lab's seminar, "Reality is Radical: Queer, Avant-Garde, and Utopian Gaming."

From the event description:

Games are major cultural form. In recent years, a "ludic turn" has also seen many techniques and concepts associated with games spilling out from entertainment and the arts into many different areas of life, from the gamificiation of social relations through social media, to the increasing use of AI and automation in policy and decision-making.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of game engines and other game development tools, and vibrant indie design culture on platforms such as and Discord, have opened game-making up to a wider constituency of creators, creating space for new ludic avant-gardes.

So what are the politics of contemporary gameplay and game-making? ... What might it mean for design and play practices to be queer, speculative, utopian, and/or avant-garde? ... And what happens when the often rule-constitued realm of games collides with queer studies and queer activism, and with the desire to question so many of the dominant rules of reality?

Learn more about the event here!