#AoIR2018 Keynote Speaker

We are very excited to announce our #AoIR2018 Keynote Speaker!

Jason Edward Lewis

Jason Edward Lewis is a digital media poet, artist, and software designer. He is presently the Concordia University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well as Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University, Montreal. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media, where he directs research/creation projects devising new means of creating and reading digital texts, developing systems for creative use of mobile technology and using virtual environments to assist Aboriginal communities in preserving, interpreting and communicating cultural histories. Along with the artist Skawennati, he co-directs Aboriginal Territories in CyberspaceSkins Workshops on Aboriginal Stortyelling and Video Game Design and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

His other interests include computation as a creative material, emergent media theory and history, and methodologies for conducting art-led technology research. Lewis’ creative work has been featured at Ars Electronica, Mobilefest, Elektra, Urban Screens, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, and FILE, among other venues, and has been recognized with the inaugural Robert Coover Award for Best Work of Electronic Literature, a Prix Ars Electronica Honorable Mention, several imagineNATIVE Best New Media awards and five solo exhibitions. He’s the author or co-author of chapters in collected editions covering mobile media, video game design, machinima and experimental pedagogy with Indigenous communities, as well as numerous journal articles and conference papers.

Lewis is a Trudeau Fellow, and a former Carnegie Fellow. He received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and B.A. in German Studies (Philosophy) from Stanford University, and an M.Phil. in Design from the Royal College of Art.  Born and raised in northern California, Lewis is Cherokee, Hawaiian and Samoan.


Don’t miss out on #AoIR2018! Submissions close on 1 March 2018. 

Reaching Rural America with Broadband Internet Service

Reaching rural America with broadband internet service

(republished with permission from The Conversation.)

Sharon Strover, University of Texas at Austin

All across the U.S., rural communities’ residents are being left out of modern society and the 21st century economy. I’ve traveled to Kansas, Maine, Texas and other states studying internet access and use – and I hear all the time from people with a crucial need still unmet. Rural Americans want faster, cheaper internet like their city-dwelling compatriots have, letting them work remotely and use online services, to access shopping, news, information and government data.

With an upcoming Federal Communications Commission vote on whether cellphone data speeds are fast enough for work, entertainment and other online activities, Americans face a choice: Is modest-speed internet appropriate for rural areas, or do rural Americans deserve access to the far faster service options available in urban areas?

Read more ›

Facebook’s algorithms give it more editorial responsibility – not less

Facebook’s algorithms give it more editorial responsibility — not less

(republished with permission from The Conversation.)

Ansgar Koene, University of Nottingham

Recent criticism of Facebook for removing a post containing the iconic image of a naked girl during the Vietnam War isn’t the first time it has been accused of censorship. Yet at the same time, it is regularly rebuked for failing to remove quickly enough hateful, illegal or inappropriate material, most recently by the German government.

The difficult job of deciding whether or not to publish something – or to withdraw it – used to fall to the human editors of print publications, broadcasters and websites. Now that so many of us access news and entertainment through social media sites such as Facebook, the forces that control what we do and don’t see have shifted. But Facebook’s increasing use of computer algorithms means it has more editorial responsibility, not less – despite what the company wants us to believe.

Facebook is keen to avoid being labelled a publisher. This would leave it liable to media regulations and libel laws. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made this clear recently when he reportedly said: “We’re a tech company, we’re not a media company. [We build] the tools, we do not produce any of the content.”

Social media sites argue that the algorithms they use to determine what a user sees only provide recommendations, rather than publishing, removing or altering the content. But how visible the site makes the content has a huge impact on how far it spreads beyond the account of the original contributor. The way an algorithm works can have a similar effect to a newspaper editor selecting a piece for the front page.

The gatekeepers

A report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found social media and search engine sites act as editorial gatekeepers that affect the nature and range of news content that users have access to.

There are no exact parallels for the new digital intermediaries identified here – most are not neutral “pipes” like ISPs, through which all internet content flows (although Twitter is close to this); nor are they pure media companies like broadcasters or newspapers, heavily involved in creative and editorial decisions. But they do perform important roles in selecting and channelling information, which implies a legitimate public interest in what they do.

Social sites counter that the content sorting and recommending only seems like editorial judgement. Because it is done by computer software, not humans, the sorting is purely objective. The algorithms merely select results in a way that aims to give users helpful and useful information.
Read more ›