Brown Bag Lunches Spring 2020

We look forward to organizing another Brown Bag Lunch event series in the spring semester 2020.

The Brown Bag Lunches enable members of the DSI Network, UZH members and interested parties to meet regularly, to present and discuss their research results and to receive feedback from an interdisciplinary audience.

The BBLs will take place this semester on the following dates: 

Thu 20. February, Wed 26. February, Wed 04. March, Thu 12. March and Thu 02. April 2020

All interested UZH members and the Public are cordially invited to the Brown Bag Lunches. For a better organization we are looking forward to your registration via Email. Nice Sandwiches are provided for registered participants.




Thursday 12. March 2020, 12:15 – 13:15

Attention: This event is cancelled due to the current regulations of the UZH on dealing with the novel coronavirus. An alternative date will be announced.

SOC-E-010 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

How do we get there? Adaptive and effective design of mobile navigation assistance devices (Lecture in English)

Dr. Ian T. Ruginski, Bingjie Cheng, Armand Kappaj

Millions of international citizens make decisions with and navigate using mobile phones, as GPS-enabled smartphone devices have become increasingly available to the general public. Along with this increasing use comes concern that we are losing spatial skills, which are vital to making our way around and solving spatial problems. This talk will discuss potential ways to balance the use of our brains and technology as we navigate through the world. How should we design mobile map systems that effectively and efficiently get us to our destination, while preserving our cognitive abilities? Specifically, we will discuss the impact of display design on navigation and how we should adapt mobile navigation assistance devices to individual users and contexts.


Thursday 02. April 2020, 12:15 – 13:15

Attention: This event is cancelled due to the current regulations of the UZH on dealing with the novel coronavirus. An alternative date will be announced.

SOC-E-010 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

Digitale Transformation der Sekundarstufe II (DigiTraS): Hintergründe und Perspektiven einer repräsentativen Bestandsaufnahme im Rahmen des NFP77  (Lecture in German)

Prof. Dr. Dominik Petko, Institute of Education, University of Zurich

Abstract (Translated from German):

Since the last surveys on the state of digital media integration in Swiss schools in 2001 and 2007, there is a lack of representative data on the efforts made in this regard in upper secondary schools. The project is therefore planning an updated survey with interviews with school administrators, teachers and pupils. The surveys are to cover all parts of the country and all types of schools (grammar schools, vocational schools, vocational baccalaureate schools and specialist baccalaureate schools or corresponding training courses). A particular focus will be on school development activities and teaching practices. In addition to questionnaire surveys, 20 case studies from particularly advanced schools will complete the picture. The project is led by Prof. Dominik Petko (UZH), in cooperation with Prof. Philipp Gonon (UZH) and Prof. Albert Cattaneo (EHB Lugano) and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation within the framework of the National Research Programme 77. It will start in May 2020. At the Brown Bag Lunch, theoretical background and methodological approaches of the project will be outlined.


Tuesday 19. May 2020, 12:15 – 13:15

SOC-E-010 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

"A Success Story that Can Be Sold”? A Case Study of Humanitarian Use of Drones (Lecture in English)

Ning Wang, Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich

Increasingly, humanitarian organizations across the globe have been implementing innovative technologies in their practice as they respond to the needs of communities affected by conflicts, disasters, and public health emergencies. However, technological innovation may intersect with moral values, norms, and commitments, and may challenge humanitarian imperatives. Through the examination of an empirical case study on drone mapping in post-earthquake rural Nepal, this paper aims to explore three questions: (1) What are the dynamics between aid delivery and technological innovation in the humanitarian enterprise? (2) How are structural problems addressed in an environment in which technology is being portrayed as a force for change? (3) What moral responsibilities towards vulnerable populations should humanitarian stakeholders bear when introducing innovative technologies in humanitarian action. Discussion revolves around the ideology of “technological utopia”, and the normative role of technology in the aid sector – to make substantive impacts, or to produce “success stories”. In conclusion, a call for rigorous ethical analysis to help foster value sensitive humanitarian innovation (VSHI) is made.



Thursday 20. February 2020, 12:15 – 13:15

SOC-E-10 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

Digital Religion(s) and communicative practice in the digital age – phenomena and a research program (Lecture in English)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schlag, Faculty of Theology, University of Zurich 

The dynamic developments of the digital age do not only raise technical, economical or political questions. Far beyond, they have a significant influence on the understanding and practice of religion, including its ethical impacts. Obviously religious communicative practice is deeply influenced by the opportunities and formats of digital communication. Certain social media, for example, are leading to religious communication networks that might replace the classical religious authorities. So-called religious blessing robots can, as research shows, generate religious sentiments similar to actual blessing practices. At the same time, there is a sense that some technological promises even take on the character of religion - for example, when large technological companies awaken hopes of omniscience, perfection, immortality and transcendence. In my paper, I will present current phenomena of "digital religions" and sketch the major aims of an interdisciplinary research program on this broad and dynamic issue "in the making".


Wednesday 26. February 2020, 12:15 – 13:15

SOC-E-010 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

Ghost Work: The Labor that Powers AI (Lecture in English)

Siddharth Suri, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Think about the last time you searched for something on the web. Ever wonder who trained the search engine ranking algorithm? Ghost work is the hidden human labor that powers modern AI systems not only for web search, but also for content moderation, image recognition, spam detection, and a host of other problem domains. This talk will shed light on this hidden workforce by introducing the humans that train modern AI systems and step in when these systems have low confidence. Through the combination of qualitative and quantitative research I’ll show how workers self-organize by building their own collaboration network. I’ll also show how workers constantly have to hustle to find good work and that those creating the work have the majority of the power in these markets. I’ll close by discussing the implications of ghost work on the overall future of work. Most of the research in this talk is from the recently published book, Ghost Work, with Mary L. Gray.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the book «Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass» by Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri will be discussed in the DSI Book Club. You can find further information here.

You can also find the book in the new DSI premises! 


Wednesday 04. March 2020, 17:15 – 18:15 

SOC-E-010 (Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zurich)

Building up the digital lingua franca for Cultural Heritage: modelling creative processes

Dr. Georg Bruseker, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas

A fundamental element to consider in a critical assessment of the digital shift underway in society is to understand the potentials and pitfalls of structured data for different domains. Structured data ubiquitously underlies life and transactions in a digital society. In the domain of cultural heritage (CH), in particular, it increasingly forms the medium into which we express the repository of our cultural and historical knowledge. Researchers and professionals generate large volumes of analytic data as part of their everyday practice. Providing the tools to make this data open and expressive has the potential to enable researchers to do their work in a more connected and collaborative way which will be sustainable into the future. Failing to provide such tools may not only create difficulties for research today but also undermine the ability to build on today’s research in the future. This talk will look at efforts in cultural heritage to build semantic data models to create a supportive collaborative framework of sustainable structured data. In particular it will look at the means and methods used in the course of this DSI fellowship to develop a model for describing creative processes in CH, as well as the resultant model. Finally, it will look at how the first generation of semantic data modelling and research might be carried forward to make the semantic modelling approach tractable and functional to researchers in their everyday work.