AREAS of RESEARCH
Digital media and the intersecting histories of computational and behavioral science and technology (including emotion and computation, Big Data analytics and social media, gamification, quantification and self-tracking); privacy and surveillance; digital labor and the on-demand economy; the philosophy of technology; digital humanities and digital poetics.
That Signal Feeling: Emotion and Interaction Design from Social Media to the “Anxious Seat”
My dissertation project, which I successfully defended on April 18, 2016, examines how models of emotion from psychology have been incorporated into digital interaction design. By connecting the history of mediated emotional management to its contemporary digital applications through archival and qualitative evidence, I critique current assumptions about what the tracking and management of emotion can promise, and point to how some of the quotidian digital objects we interact with everyday – from Facebook’s Like Button to Apple’s emoji keyboard – are implicated in how we shape power and politics in our online lives.
OTHER PROJECTS – PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE
Visceral Data, Visceral Design, Visceral Privacy
Much of the current scholarship on problems in Big Data ethics in general, and privacy and surveillance in particular, suggests either legal and/or narrowly technical solutions to contemporary anxieties about data tracking, aggregation, and analytics. This developing project explores how online privacy is supported by what I term “data visceralization” – design strategies for transforming disembodied and abstract information into representations of information that do not rely solely and primarily on sight or sound, but on multiple senses including touch, smell, taste, and emotional arousal. Among other endeavors related to the project, I’m involved in planning a workshop on privacy by design at CHI 2016. You can read some of my further thoughts on the subject here.
OTHER PROJECTS – DIGITAL LABOR
Uber, Digital Labor and the On-Demand Economy
Conducted in collaboration with Data and Society and funded by a grant from Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, Alex Rosenblat and I are examining the role of affective labor and information asymmetries in the on-demand economy. We’ve had some great press about it (here, here, and here, for instance). You can read a draft of the paper via SSSRN here.
OTHER PROJECTS – VALUES AND DESIGN
NSF Future Internet Architecture (FIA) and the Values in Design Council
For the past four years, I have been a member of the National Science Foundation’s Values in Design (VID) Council, as part of the Future Internet Architectures (FIA) project. The Council is charged with engaging NSF’s technical teams on questions of ethical and political values within their emerging network systems.
Values, Ethics and Design in Making, Hacking, and Computer Science
I’ve organized workshops on VID methods and on values in computer science education at ACM SIGCHI conferences, and developed scholarship on values and design in contemporary hacker and maker culture (see our poster for the latter workshop here). I’m interested in developing teaching and learning strategies for designing with values in mind in both classroom and industry settings – as a first step, I’m collaborating with Anna Lauren Hoffman at the University of California Berkeley on exploratory project on ethical codes in computer science as an inaugural Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Technology, Society, and Policy.
OTHER PROJECTS – DIGITAL HUMANITIES & DIGITAL POETICS
Emoji and The Ethics of Computational Art
Kate Crawford (of the Microsoft Research Social Media Collective) and I have recently worked in two projects: the first examines the social and political implications of emoji, while the second explores the ways contemporary artists use computational tools and platforms creatively both to comment on contemporary privacy and surveillance concerns, and as a means of working through novel ethical practices and questions around digital data.
New Directions In Digital Poetics/Poetic Computation
Poetry is embracing the deployment of algorithms, non-linear narrative, and hypertextuality to create works native to digital media. In March of 2014 I organized a workshop on digital poetics with MIT’s Nick Montfort, and co-chaired a conference at the NYU Humanities Center on the animated GIF.
ARTISTIC and CREATIVE WORK
Photos of various nifty things can be found here. Poetry is (perennially) coming soon!