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New projects in human-data interaction

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Abstract: This talk will detail two projects:

The first is an EPSRC ‘Network Plus’ on human-data interaction, related to systems and practices that allow people to understand and have useful agency with regard to what happens with their data — especially as it gets shared with and used by others. I’ll lead it, with co-investigators Ewa Luger (U. Edinburgh), Atau Tanaka (Goldsmiths), Hamed Haddadi (Imperial College London) & Elvira Perez Vallejos (U. Nottingham). The project aims to guide the realisation of system design principles that are productive, and yet fit with the ethics and values acceptable to wider society. It will (a) develop and sustain a collaborative, cross-sectoral community under the banner of Human Data Interaction, (b) develop a portfolio of system design projects addressing underexplored aspects of the DE (c) create cross-sectoral interdisciplinary synthesis of research under the HDI banner (d) conceptually develop and flesh-out the HDI framework, (e) create a suite of policy and public-facing case studies, papers, prototypes and educational materials, and (f) develop a set of core guidelines intended to inform the design of human-facing data-driven systems. It’s £1M… but we will give out 2/3 of that as we fund other people to do HDI research projects over the next 3 years, ranging from £50K to £2500.

The second is a much smaller project that is starting up later in the summer: ethical design of apps for assessing mental health. We will run a modified version of the experiment reported in a 2017 paper by Boukhechba et al.. They modelled locations visited, SMS usage, and phone calls, in a way that was computationally simple and yet predicted social anxiety levels quite effectively. They used the traditional approach of centralised data collection, and informed consent given in advance. Our aim is to explore an ongoing process combining data collection on phones, exploratory data analysis that spans participants’ phones and researchers’ computers, and participants’ ongoing consent for that exploration. We will explore design choices such as: should the categories, coefficients and other model features be hidden within the app, or shown to participants? The latter would mean that even participants don’t see direct assessments of their health, thus reducing ethical concerns around health intervention — but perhaps decreasing participants’ interest in the app. How can we make this modelling legible to participants, and support agency and negotiability with regard to our use of their data? This project is a collaboration with NHS National Services Scotland, the Scottish Government eHealth Department, and Glasgow University’s Student Support and Wellbeing service.

Bio: Matthew Chalmers is a professor in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow, UK. His work ‘borrows’ from philosophy, biology and other disciplines in order to feed into the design and theory of computer systems, especially data visualisation and analytics, data ethics and ethical systems design, and mobile and ubiquitous computing. His background is in Computer Science: a BSc (Hons) at U. Edinburgh, then a PhD at U. East Anglia in ray tracing and object-oriented toolkits for distributed memory multiprocessors. He was an intern at Xerox PARC before starting work as a researcher in Cambridge at Xerox EuroPARC, where he worked on information visualisation and early ubicomp systems, e.g. BirdDog, Xerox’ first Active Badge system. He left Xerox to start up an information visualisation group at UBS Ubilab, in Zürich, then had a brief fellowship at U. Hokkaido, Japan, before starting at U. Glasgow in 1999. He led an EPSRC programme grant, A Population Approach to Ubicomp Systems Design, advancing stochastic models of software structure/use in large-scale deployments. Previously, the Contextual Software EPSRC project pioneered ‘mass participation’ in the design of ubicomp systems—one app gathered >400,000 users. Other past RCUK grants include the Equator IRC (PI, GR/N15986/01), leading the theory work and Equator’s largest project, City. He is or has been associate editor for the journals PACM IMWUT , Information Visualization, Pervasive and Mobile Computing, and BMC Bioinformatics, and he’s done… quite a lot of conference committee work. He was leader of a delegation funded by the British Embassy to represent British HCI to Japan in 2008, and in 2010 organised a JSPS /Embassy–funded return visit by a Japanese delegation. He was one of the authors of the UK BCS /UKCRC Grand Challenge on ubiquitous computing, one of the panelists at the ‘HCI 2020’ event in Valencia, and a VIP Guest at Microsoft TechFest. He was once the coach for (and a player in) Cambridge University Volleyball Club men’s first team, and coach for the club’s women’s first team.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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