The 2nd-4th September 2019 marked the third in a series of symposia on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science (Euro CSS). Computer scientists, political scientists, sociologists, physicists, mathematicians and psychologists from 24 countries gathered in Zurich for a day of workshops and tutorials followed by a two-day one track conference.
AI is susceptible to misuse and has been found to reflect biases that exist in society. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations committed to addressing ethical questions in AI. We list our top 10.
In The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, Margaret O’Mara provides a new account of the region’s evolution that brings the US government into the story. The book offers a compelling narrative that tracks the key players and events that have underpinned Silicon Valley’s tremendous, but messy, rise, writes Robyn Klingler-Vidra, while also underscoring the gender imbalance and casual misogyny that has been a longstanding characteristic of its culture.
In April this year a special collection examining social media and politics was published in SAGE Open. Guest edited by Joshua A. Tucker and Pablo Barberá, the articles grew out of a series of conferences held by NYU’s Social Media and Political Participation lab (SMaPP) and the NYU Global Institute for Advanced Study (GIAS) known as SMaPP-Global. Upon publication Joshua Tucker said ‘the collection of articles also shows the value of exposing researchers from a variety of disciplines with similar substantive interests to each other's work at regular intervals’. Interdisciplinary collaborative research projects are a cornerstone of what makes computational social science such an interesting field. We were intrigued to know more so caught up with Josh and Pablo to hear more.
Text is everywhere, and everything is text. More textual data than ever before are available to computational social scientists—be it in the form of digitized books, communication traces on social media platforms, or digital scientific articles. Researchers in academia and industry increasingly use text data to understand human behavior and to measure patterns in language. Techniques from natural language processing have created a fertile soil to perform these tasks and to make inferences based on text data on a large scale.
It’s all about incentives. The current academic ecosystem incentivises publication in high impact factor journals and grant capture above all else, but there is more to being an academic than producing journal articles and winning grants. Luckily there are an increasing number of initiatives that are helping academics get credit for more of the work they do and increase their broader impact. This post rounds up some of the most interesting efforts.
At CogX, the Festival of AI and Emergent Technology, two icons appeared over and over across the King’s Cross location. The first was the logo for the festival itself, an icon of a brain with lobes made up of wires. The second was for the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a partner of the festival. The SDG icon is a circle split into 17 differently colored segments, each representing one of the goals for 2030—aims like zero hunger and no poverty. The idea behind this partnership was to encourage participants of CogX—speakers, presenters, expo attendees—to think about how their products and innovations could be used to help achieve these SDGs.
The beginning of term is nearing. You’re teaching a new module on Computational Social Science (CSS). The field is developing rapidly and so are best practices around teaching the theory, methods and techniques to students.
Where do you start when you’re putting together your teaching materials? Do you visit the websites and blogs of academics who are experienced in teaching CSS to look for resources? Do you search online for syllabi, reading lists and tutorials? Maybe you scour YouTube for videos to include in your slides?
Together with a group of UK academics, the SAGE Ocean team have been digging into where academics go to find teaching materials and what the barriers are for academics who want to share, reuse and give and get credit for the materials they produce for teaching. This post includes thoughts from the group on what’s needed to promote a stronger culture of sharing teaching materials in CSS. And we’ve curated a list of our favorite resources for you too!
Following the launch of the SAGE Ocean initiative in February 2018, the inaugural winners of the SAGE Concept Grant program were announced in March of the same year. As we build up to this year’s winner announcement we’ve caught up with the three winners from 2018 to see what they’ve been up to and how the seed funding has helped in the development of their tools.
In this post, we spoke with the Digital DNA Toolbox (DDNA) winners, Stefano Cresci and Maurizio Tesconi about their initial idea, the challengers they faced along the way and the future of tools for social science research.
Last year saw the launch of Social Science One—a model devised to allow academic researchers access to the huge amounts of data generated by private industry, including Facebook data which will constitute the inaugural project. This week the first grants have been announced in partnership with the Social Science Research Council. Twelve projects have been awarded grants, as over 60 researchers come together from 11 countries and 30 academic institutions to study social media’s impact upon our society and democratic systems.
On a Friday evening in 1922, you could turn on the radio in Schenectady NY and hear Hermann Briggs talking about the latest research and discoveries around common disease and illnesses. Radio, and later TV, were the most exciting and widest reaching media platforms where research knowledge could be shared with the public.
Today, researchers have access to a whole host of media (podcasts, YouTube channels, Ted Talks, etc.) to talk about their research and how it can be fun or useful for the public.
This book will be of particular value to social scientists interested in the political, economic and social dynamics of AI and data-driven technology. It will also be of interest to investigative and data journalists seeking to leverage computational tools.
As part of Scotland’s annual DataFest, the 2019 Data Summit conference took place in Edinburgh on 21-22nd March and was packed full of eye-opening sessions from speakers at the cutting edge of data driven innovation.
These two studies examined fake news on separate social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter, with both concluding that sharing this content was a rare occurrence but when users did share fake news articles they tended to be older Americans over 65.
The second annual Social Science Foo Camp took place at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park at the start of this month, convening an eclectic mix of more than 200 social scientists, technologists, funders, policy makers, businesspeople and writers.
Watch these short videos as leading academics present at this year’s inaugural Social Science Foo Camp discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by big data and the move to more computational methods.
Last month we were lucky enough to have Pablo Barberá, Assistant Professor of Computational Social Science at the London School of Economics deliver the 5th SAGE Ocean Speaker Series.
Widely used apps like Facebook, Twitter or Google Maps count millions of users and are already deeply entrenched in our daily social life. However, while we know that mobile map applications are used quite often, we know very little about how they are used
What the Cambridge Analytica debacle and the resulting U.S. Senate hearing revealed in no uncertain terms is that the U.S. does not have adequate data privacy laws