Workshop on Web Science for Development
Feb 27 2019, IIIT Bangalore
WS4D 2019 Registration: Click Here
The World Wide Web (WWW) is the biggest information construct that the world has ever seen. Nothing like the web ever existed in recorded human history. The web is neither a natural phenomenon, nor is it an artificially engineered system. It is the result of trillions of human decisions made independently.
As the WWW makes inroads into most aspects of our lives, there is a growing urgency to understand how it is affecting humanity as a whole. The interdisciplinary study of Web Science was born in 2006 as a result.
The Web Science for Development (WS4D 2019) workshop is part of the web science research initiative at IIIT Bangalore. WS4D 2019 is a workshop that brings together professionals from several domains, addressing three three thematic concerns, namely: Social Cognition, Data-driven Governance, and Digital Empowerment.
Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, would be delivering the keynote address.
WS4D is organised into three working groups. Each working group comprises of invitees who have made significant contributions in the area. They would be presenting their work, and would be following it up with a focused discussion, for creating a roadmap into the future. The working groups would be speculating on open research problems, social impact and challenges, and policy issues pertaining to their thematic concern.
A brief description of the three working groups are as follows:
Social Cognition: This working group addresses questions about how the web, and particularly social media and open online knowledge portals like Wikipedia, is affecting collective opinion and worldview. Social cognition is playing a central role in the making and breaking of reputations of individuals, businesses, and countries. There is a pressing need to understand social cognition in the post-web world.
Data-driven Governance: This working group addresses questions about how different forms of data management processes can be woven into the fabric of administrative decision-making. These include structured data generated by different government departments, corporates and other organisations; as well as the so-called Big Data, generated from several sources like sensors, social media posts, etc. that often contain useful inputs for decision-making.
Digital Empowerment: This working group addresses the question of how the WWW and digital technologies in general can be used for education and upskilling of the population at scale. As mobile phones and high-speed data connections become ubiquitous, this has created a huge opportunity for disseminating knowledge and skills to a vast population efficiently. However, a dearth of sound understanding of how this can be achieved, is still an impediment. This working group speculates about the future of digital empowerment, and makes suitable recommendations.
Participants of the workshop would be invited to submit a paper to a book on Web Science for Development, envisaged as an edited volume about the proceedings of the workshop.
|0930 — 0945||Inauguration and Welcome address
S. Sadagopan, Director, IIITB
|0945 — 1045||Keynote address: AI through the looking glass
Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director, Web Science Institute
|1045 — 1100||Tea Break|
|1100 — 1230||Invited presentations — I
(6 nos. 15 minutes each)
1. Data Science: A necessary condition for inclusive development in India — Gurucharan Gollerkeri and Asha Subramanian, Public Affairs Centre (PAC)
2. Using AI to Transform Informational Videos and Our Watching Behaviour — Manish Gupta, Videoken / IIITB
3. Social Media and Organsational Risk — Jai Ganesh, Mphasis Inc
4. Renarration for All — T B Dinesh, Servelots
5. Online Social Synchrony to Detect Events in Social Media — Sakthi Balan, LNMIIT Jaipur
6. Intelligent personal assistants as performative social agents: A dramaturgical analysis of human-machine interactions — Bidisha Chaudhuri and Dipanjan Saha, IIIT-B
|1230 — 1330||Lunch Break|
|1330 — 1415||Invited presentations — II
(3 nos. 15 minutes each)
7. Designing the Cogno Web Observatory: Characterising the dynamics of Online Social Cognition — Raksha Patel, IIITB
8. Recognizing non-use: Towards a more inclusive Internet — Preeti Mudliar, IIITB
9. Transforming education using Personalised Adaptive Learning — Sweety Agrawal, Funtoot
|1415 — 1515||Breakout discussion sessions by working groups|
|1515 — 1530||Tea Break|
|1530 — 1600||Presentations by working groups (3 nos. 10 minutes per group)|
|1600 — 1630||Valedictory session, High Tea and Networking|
Keynote Talk Details
AI through the looking glass
Artificial Intelligence is set to transform society in the coming decades in ways that have long been predicted by science fiction writers but are only now becoming feasible. While AI is still a long way from being as powerful as the human brain, many machines can now outperform human beings, particularly when it comes to analysing large amounts of data. This will lead to many jobs being replaced by automated processes and machines. As with all major technological revolutions, such advancements bring with it unexpected opportunities and challenges for society with a need to consider the ethical, accountability and diversity impacts. In this talk, I will lay out why we need to take a socio-technical approach, as we have done with Web Science, to every aspect of the evolution of AI in society, to ensure that we all reap the benefits of AI and protect ourselves as much as possible from applications of AI that might be harmful to society. As Alice found when she went through the looking glass, everything is not always what it first appears to be.
Invited Talk Details
Data Science: A necessary condition for inclusive development in India
Despite making tremendous economic and social development progress, large swathes of India’s population still face health poverty, livelihood poverty and education poverty. India is now facing the hard end of the problem and its future development projects need to understand this problem through a different lens of inclusive development. This development trajectory will be predicated by understanding the patterns of inequality and properties of exclusion. The Centre for Open Data Research, the exclusive data research organisation of Public Affairs Centre focuses on applying data science techniques and innovative research to make data enabled decisions to solve governance and development issues.
Asha Subramanian heads the Centre for Open Data Research (CODR) at Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, India with a focus on applying data sciences research to promote data empowereddecisions towards good governance. She has a rich Information Technology industry background with over two decades of program management and delivery experience. She holds a Ph.D in Data Science from the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore and a Masters in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta. Her research interest include knowledge representation and reasoning models, semantic web, machine learning and graph networks, particularly focusing on developing unique models that can bring all these technology domains together to better understand data and it’s context. Her recent publications include a chapter on “Semantic Interpretation and Integration of Open Data Tables.” in the book Geospatial Infrastructure, Applications and Technologies : India Case Studies. Springer International Publishing, 2018.
Using AI to Transform Informational Videos and Our Watching Behavior
Videos account for about 75% of the internet traffic and enterprises are increasingly using videos for various informational purposes, including training of customers, partners and employees, marketing and internal communication. However, most viewers do not have the time to watch these videos end-to-end and our video watching experience has not evolved much in over a decade. We present an AI-based approach to automatically index videos in the form of a table-of-contents, a phrase cloud and a searchable transcript, which helps summarize the key topics in a video and lets viewers navigate directly to the topics of interest. We use a combination of visual classification, object detection, automated speech recognition, text summarization, and domain classification, and show the results achieved on a range of informational videos. We conclude with some thoughts on the promise of transforming how informational videos are consumed as well as open problems and future directions.
Social Media and Organsational Risk
Inspired by business interest in social media and social network analytics, this talk uses the Rana Plaza factory collapse as an event study to tease out possible enterprise lessons concerning organisational image. The research mixes theory data analysis to understand how social media influenced and affected the corporate social responsibility reactions from firms involved in the disaster. We follow eight brands and produce sentiment, risk, and social network analyses to highlight how the factory collapse impacted organisational image and to understand what firms could do to mitigate the damage to organisational image caused by their involvement. Using lessons from social movement theory, we show that organisational image is dependent upon stakeholder management and brand reputation. Furthermore, we show why brand reputation is the most valuable part of brand equity and the key to future opportunities. Using these findings we formulate recommendations for firms seeking to protect organisational image.
Renarration for All
The accessibility of content for all has been a key goal of the Web since its conception. However, true accessibility — access to relevant content in the global context — has been elusive for reasons that extend beyond physical accessibility issues. Among them are the spoken languages, literacy levels, expertise, and culture. These issues are highly significant, since information may not reach those who are the most in need of it. For example, the minimum wage laws that are published in legalese on government sites and the low-literate and immigrant populations. While some organisations and volunteers work on bridging such gaps by creating and disseminating alternative versions of such content, Web scale solutions much be developed to take advantage of its distributed dissemination capabilities. This work examines content accessibility from the perspective of inclusiveness. For this purpose, a human in the loop approach for renarrating Web content is proposed, where a renarrator creates an alternative narrative of some Web content with the intent of extending its reach. Renarrations are Web Annotations resulting in a more inclusive and decentralised social semantic web.
For more details: https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.12379
Online Social Synchrony to Detect Events in Social Media
We define an online collective phenomenon called social synchrony that occurs in the online social networks. Social synchrony is a particular kind of collective social behavior where the number of people who perform a certain action first increases and then decreases. We redefine this phenomenon and propose a method to detect it. Secondly, we apply the concept of online social synchrony for event detection. We propose a method to detect the presence of events from Twitter data using the concept of social synchrony.
Intelligent personal assistants as performative social agents: A dramaturgical analysis of human-machine interactions
Sociologist Erving Goffman in his dramaturgical analysis (1959) explains social interactions as if it were a play performed on a stage for an audience. The key to study such interactions, in his understanding, is not the individual and his psychology, but “the syntactical relations among the acts of different persons mutually present to one another” (Goffman 1967, Interaction Ritual, pp. 2 as cited in Schegloff 1988 pp. 94). Accordingly, this framework has been applied in the analysis of human-human interactions on online platforms (e.g., Hogan, 2010; Bullingham & Vasconcelos, 2013) and in the analysis of human-machine interactions (e.g., Bucher, 2014; Lee, Frank, Beute, de Kort., & IJsselsteijn, 2017). We extend Goffman’s dramaturgical framework to analyse the interactions that take place between humans and conversational agents such as Alexa, Google Assistant and so on. We see these assistants as performative agents engaging in social interactions with their human counterparts where in the “backstage” of both human and non-human remain inaccessible (Latour, 1996). We ask, what are the different types of strategies the voice assistants can employ for “impression management”? How can we analyze these strategies without having access to the “backstage”? How do the conversational agents maintain decorum of expected behavior? With this analytical approach, we aim to understand to what extent sustained “natural” conversations may take place between humans and conversational agents.
Designing the Cogno Web Observatory: Characterising the dynamics of Online Social Cognition
Our understanding of the web has been evolving from a large database of information to a Socio – Cognitive Space, where humans are not just using the web but participating in the web. World wide web has evolved into the largest source of information in the history, and it continues to grow without any known agenda. The web needs to be observed and studied to understand various impacts of it on the society (both positive and negative) and shape the future of the web and the society. This gave rise to the global grid of Web Observatories which focus and observe various aspects of the web. Web Observatories aim to share and collaborate various data sets, analysis tools and applications with all web observatories across the world. We plan to design and develop a Web Observatory called Cogno to observe and understand online social cognition. We propose that the social media on the web is acting as a Marketplace of Opinions where multiple users with differing interests exchange opinions. For a given trending topic on social media, we propose a model to identify the Signature of the trending topic which characterises the discourse around the topic.
Recognising non-use: Towards a more inclusive Internet
Discourses around technology use and access often privilege the notion of the ‘user’ in the design of products and systems. However, an exclusive focus on the ‘user’ could also prevent designers from recognising the conditions and contexts that produce non-use, and which in turn can challenge potential users from interacting and engaging with technology systems. Using the example of WiFi infrastructures, this talk will offer insights on how space and gender interact to construct users, non-users, and their experiences of public WiFi hotspots. As infrastructures, WiFi networks are thought to privilege democratic notions of freedom and connectivity by rendering space salient as networked areas that require users to only have a WiFi enabled device to get online. However, the kind of spaces that WiFi networks occupy are not always accessible by women even though they are ostensibly public in nature. Additionally, social norms that restrict and confine women’s mobilities to certain sanctioned areas do not allow their Internet and digital literacies to be visible in the same way as men who are easily recognised as active and often default users of technology and the Internet. The invisibility of women thus struggles to create a presence as desirable subjects of the Internet and related infrastructure deployments. Drawing on researcher reflexivity, observations, and interviews around WiFi access and use in a rural community in Rajasthan, India, this talk will reflect on how recognising subjectivities of use and non-use can contribute towards more inclusive user design.
Transforming education using Personalized Adaptive Learning
There has been a significant rise in the gross enrolment ratio of the students in public schools over the past few decades. However, there is a decline in their learning outcomes, which results from staff crunch, crowded classrooms and insufficient infrastructure. Moreover, students are learning less as they move to higher classes. National Achievement Survey – 2017 shows that the national average score of a grade 8 student was barely 40% in Maths, Science and Social Studies. The survey also highlights the fact the country is short of at least 10 lakhs qualified teachers. With the advent of technology and AI, Personalised Adaptive Learning solutions might solve the current education crisis. With the belief that every child is unique, funtoot, an Intelligent Tutoring System designs a personalised learning path for each child. Funtoot tailors the teaching instructions according to the knowledge states of each learner and leads the learner towards her unique learning trajectory. In this talk, we will have a close look at funtoot and its impact on the students of public schools.