Hello again, and welcome to another update on my Ph.D. research progress. I will briefly run down the things that happened since the last update, what I am currently working on, and some notable events on the horizon.
CHI 2023 paper
First off, the big news is that the paper I submitted to CHI 2023 was accepted. This is a big deal for me because HCI is the core field I aim to contribute to, and CHI is its flagship conference.
Here’s the full citation:
Alfrink, K., Keller, I., Doorn, N., & Kortuem, G. (2023). Contestable Camera Cars: A Speculative Design Exploration of Public AI That Is Open and Responsive to Dispute. https://doi.org/10/jwrx
I have had several papers rejected in the past (CHI is notoriously hard to get accepted at), so I feel vindicated. The paper is already available as an arXiv preprint, as is the concept video that forms the core of the study I report on (many thanks to my pal Simon for collaborating on this with me). CHI 2023 happens in late April. I will be riding a train over there to present the paper in person. Very much looking forward to that.
Responsible Sensing Lab anniversary event
I briefly presented my research at the Responsible Sensing Lab anniversary event on February 16. The whole event was quite enjoyable, and I got some encouraging responses to my ideas afterward which is always nice. The event was recorded in full. My appearance starts around the 1:47:00 mark.
Tweeting, tooting, blogging
I have been getting back into the habit of tweeting, tooting, and even the occasional spot of blogging on this website again. As the end of my Ph.D. nears, I figured it might be worth it to engage more actively with “the discourse,” as they say. I mostly share stuff I read that is related to my research and that I find interesting. Although, of course, posts related to my twin sons’ music taste and struggles with university bureaucracy always win out in the end. (Yes, I am aware my timing is terrible, seeing as how we have basically finally concluded social media was a bad idea after all.)
Envisioning Contestability Loops
At the moment, the majority of my time is taken up by conducting a final study (working title: “Envisioning Contestability Loops”). I am excited about this one because I get to once again collaborate with a professional designer on an artifact, in this case, a visual explanation of my framework, and use the result as a research instrument to dig into, in this case, the strengths and weaknesses of contestability as a generative metaphor for the design of public AI.
In parallel, I have begun to put together my thesis. It is paper-based, but of course, the introductory and concluding chapters require some thought still.
The aim is to have both the final article and thesis finished by the end of summer and then begin the arduous process of getting a date for my defense, assembling a committee, etc.
Agonistic Machine Vision Development
In the meantime, I am also mentoring Laura, another brilliant master graduation student. Her project, titled “Agonistic Machine Vision Development,” builds on my previous research. In particular, one of the challenges I identified in Contestable Camera Cars, that of the differential in information position between citizens and experts when they collaborate in participatory machine learning sessions. It’s very gratifying to see others do design work that pushes these ideas further.
So yeah, like I already mentioned, I will be speaking at CHI 2023, which takes place on 23–28 April in Hamburg. The schedule says I am presenting on April 25 as part of the session on “AI Trust, Transparency and Fairness”, which includes some excellent-looking contributions.
That’s it for this update. Maybe, by the time the next one rolls around, I will be able to share a date for my defense. But let’s not jinx it.