Together with my colleagues Tracey Lauriault (Carleton University), Jo Bates, Ysabel Gerrard and Monika Frątczak (all University of Sheffield), I organised the fourth Data Power Conference.
By now the conference has established itself as a host for critical reflections on data’s power and the social, political, economic and cultural consequences of data’s increasing presence in our lives, workplaces, and societies. This year it returned to some of the fundamental questions that underpinned the founding of the conference. It is conceived as a series of dialogues, dialogues about over-arching concerns and with disciplines and stakeholders working with and on data. In particular, the conference reflected on:
How can stakeholders be engaged in critical conversations about data power?
What constitute rigorous methods when it comes to researching data power?
To what extent does critical data power research need to focus on specific instances of data power in action? What contributions can more generalised critiques make to our field?
All presentations were recorded and will be made available in due course.
Are you interested in co-creation? I talked to the student podcast UniBits of the University of Bremen about my reseach and the potential of co-creation for a more inclusive and participatory digital society.
Very much looking forward to presenting at the Data Science Forum (University of Bremen) next Thursday (17th June, 12pm CEST). I will engage with some of the work on Data Science that has emerged in STS and critical data studies and report from our own projects. Here is an interview that gives a short preview.
Roland Becker (CEO & founder of JustAddAI) and Dr. Sirko Straube (German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence – DFKI) invited me to the fourth episode of their podcast Think Reactor to discuss the discriminatory potential of Artificial Intelligence as well as the social and ethical challenges of digital innovation. Other topics they’ve covered so far are: What is AI (episode 1), AI in everyday life (episode 2) and How safe is AI (episode 3). The podcast provides a good introduction to a topic that affects us all in many different ways and also plays an increasingly important role in STS research.
Yesterday the first online symposium of the international network on Socio-Gerontechnology took place with more than 100 participants*. The network brings together researchers from different social science and design disciplines who are interested in critical studies of age(ing) and technology. Disciplines include public health, gerontology, sociology, science and technology studies (STS), design research and socio-informatics. Common to the scientists is an interest in the increasing digitalisation of our lives and its effects on the lives of older people, but also our image of age(ing) and the resulting (socio-)political dynamics.
Together with Helen Manchester (University of Bristol) I gave a talk entitled “Considering more-than-human participation in co-design with older adults: Implications for a material gerontology”. In this paper we argue that many gerontechnologies understand age as a problem that requires a technical solution. A good example is the recent article in the New York Times on monitoring technologies that allow children to “keep an eye” on their elderly parents in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The problem of quarantine is presented as a “matter of fact” that needs to be solved. In our talk, we argue that design should not be understood as problem-solving, but rather as joint problem-making. With this different focus, new actors in design processes emerge and need to be involved. Design is moving from a focus on “Matters of Facts” to a practice that is concerned with “Matters of Care”.
All contributions and a recording of the event will soon be published on the network’s website.
Schließlich habe ich am 26. September bei der DigitalisierungsConvention einen der beiden Impulsvorträge unter dem Titel: “Paradoxon Künstliche Intelligenz: Chancen und Risiken einer digitalen Gesellschaft gehalten”. Der zweite Impulsvortrag wurde von Roland Becker, Geschäftsführer der Just Add AI GmbH und Initiator von BREMEN.AI gegeben. Die Teilnehmer*innen der DigitalisierungsConvention waren ein bunter Mix aus Vertreter*innen der Wirtschaft, Verwaltung und Wissenschaft. Senatorin Kristina Vogt hielt ein Grußwort, gefolgt von Björn Portillo (bremen digialmedia) und Daniel Schneider (Mittelstand 4.0-Kompetenzzentrum Bremen). In meinem Vortrag bin ich darauf eingegangen, warum es wichtig ist zu verstehen, dass Technik Mittel zur Strukturierung sozialer Ordnung ist und Technikgestaltung immer ein sozialer Aushandlungsprozess. Eine gemeinwohlorientierte Gestaltung unserer Zukunft, bedarf daher der menschzentrierten und partizipativen Technikgestaltung.
As part of the final activities of the EU-Project Mobile, I attended a meeting of two working groups of Members of the European Parliament last week. The aim of the two-hour event was to exchange views on the opportunities and challenges of co-creation approaches to the development of digital services in age-friendly cities and communities. In particular, we presented our learnings and policy recommendations. To the event entitled: “The future of Europe is co-created. Digital public services for age-friendly cities and communities” was hosted by the Intergroup on Active Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity and Family issues and the Urban Intergroup. More than 40 representatives* from the European Parliament, the European Commission, national and regional representations in Brussels as well as from other EU and participation projects took part in the events.
Increasingly, public services are provided digitally, but their use is still low. In the recent Ministerial Declaration (EU Tallinn 2017), EU Member States recognised that “more needs to be done” to provide digital public services close to citizens. Part of the challenge is that administrations lack the tools and experience to involve citizens in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of digital services. As part of our Mobile Age project, we have developed and evaluated co-creation methods with older people, administrations, social service providers and researchers. In addition, a number of practical and accessible mobile applications were developed at pilot sites throughout Europe (Bremen, South Lakeland, Zaragoza and Thessaloniki). For Bremen you can find these applications for the districts Osterholz and Hemelingen on Bremen.De. In my presentation I highlighted the role of local and regional actors in the participatory development of digital services.
Parliamentarians Lambert van Nistelrooij and Jan Olbrycht moderated the following short contributions:
Kieran McCarthy, European Committee of the Regions and Cork City Council: Creating a society for digital change and innovation
Niall Hayes, University of Lancaster, Organisation, Work and Technology: The Mobile-Age approach for senior-friendly digital public services
Konstantinos Kapsouropoulos, European Commission, DG Connect: European policies for age-friendly environments
Juliane Jarke, Institute for Information Management, University of Bremen: Participatory digital service design and e-Inclusion
Susanna Laurin, CEO Funka, Stockholm: Practical implementation of tools for citizen involvement – A Norwegian government’s study
Niall Hayes, University of Lancaster, Organisation, Work and Technology: Accessible digital services for older people
Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader of South Lakeland District Council: Connecting older adults to technological public services
Here you may find the presentation slides. A summary report of the event is published here.
MobileAge was part of a session organised by the European Commission/REA on co-production and co-creation of digital services. Together with two other EU projects, we discussed the challenges and opportunities of co-creation approaches with around 80 participants. After a short introduction to the projects, we worked in three smaller, rotating working groups on the topics of sustainability, governance and citizen involvement.
A short video of the organizers about MobileAge summarizes our results.
Yesterday I took part in a panel entitled: “Against the rule of algorithms! How do we resume control?” („Wider die Herrschaft der Algorithmen! Wie bekommen wir die Kontrolle zurück?“). It was part of this year’s Media Convention and 10th re:publica.The panel was organised by ARTE and moderated by Carolyn Hoefchen. I discussed with Prof. Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer (director @ Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung in Berlin), Dr. Cornelius Puschmann (project manager @ Humboldt Institut for Internet and Society) and Jonas Schlatterbeck (Senior Social Media Manager ARTE).
Prof. Gigerenzer opened the panel by presenting his co-authored “Digital Manifest” („Digital Manifests“).He pointed at the example of “Big Data Nudgung” and asked whether algorithms had taken control over our everyday live. Subsequently we discussed the risks of an increasing datafication and relevance of algorithms as well as the role of media and governmental organisation. Closing the session all panelists proposed concrete ideas on how to resume control.