DSI Fellows

The fellowship program of the UZH Digital Society Initiative aims to promote interdisciplinary cooperation at the University of Zurich regarding all questions concerning the impact of digitalization on society and science.

DSI Fellows

Prof. Dr. Naomi Baron

The internationally renowned linguist and specialist in digital communication and education, professor Naomi Baron (Professor Emerita, Department of World Languages and Cultures, at the American University in Washington DC) will be a DSI Fellow between October 16th–29th 2019. She will give lectures and input talks about her current field of research of how people read digitally versus in print and in general the impact of online communication on people's everyday life. She will be available to support doctoral students working in the domain of digital communication and interaction, in the frame of the URPP Language and Space. Furthermore, she will also give scientific and strategic input to new initiatives around the topic of digitalization in the URPP.

Website: Prof. Dr. Naomi Baron

Dr. George Bruseker

Dr. George Bruseker is DSI Fellow from April to November 2019 and will work on the following topic:

Building a Semantic Foundation for Data Integration in Art History 
This project addresses the question of conceptual modelling in the field of art and architectural history and takes the modelling of architecture as its use case. The objective is to create basic conceptual reference models for expressing art historical data as semantically enriched, linked open data. By this, the project aligns with newest challenges and developments that digital humanities, in particular digital visual studies and art history, are facing internationally. For research institutions to offer linked open data to specialists and the public, too, in a sustainable and accessible manner requires the adoption of explicit conceptual models for representing and querying data. The process of knowledge engineering analyzes the basic terms of a disciplinary field, in order to come up with conceptual models that enable the common representation and querying of a body of knowledge in a standardized fashion. The proposed conceptual modelling project will provide fundamental elements of the reference model for the semantic representation of art history, with a particular focus on architecture, which offers particularly complex ontological layers. Indeed, we focus on architecture in order to pick a subject a) entailing considerable challenges for the conceptual representation (the nature of architecture and how it changes over time pose particular problems), b) with a deep interdisciplinary component, and c) with a unique relevance for a digital society (documenting cultural heritage etc.). The resulting conceptual modelling will produce reusable patterns for art history and other fields of visual arts.

Website: Dr. George Bruseker

Dr. Moritz Büchi

Dr. Moritz Büchi is DSI Fellow from August 2019 to July 2020 and will work on digital well-being:

What is the role of digital information and communication technology use in living a “good life”?

The objective for the fellowship period is to develop a socio-technical framework of digital well-being – personal well-being under the condition of a social environment characterized by the digitalization of virtually all life domains and the constant abundance of digital information and communication options as a default. The framework can guide empirical research addressing the question of how individuals integrate digital information and communication technologies into their everyday lives in such a way that they enable and support rather than detract from the achievement of personally valued goals. The project is rooted in communication science and focuses on the concomitant harms and benefits associated with individual’s online behaviors.

Website: Dr. Mortiz Büchi  

Prof. Dr. Martin Dusinberre

As a DSI Fellow in autumn semester 2019, Martin Dusinberre will be working on the final stages of a major digital history project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Lives in Transit is a tool both to narrate and to teach global history in a digitized age. It offers historians a model for presenting their research in the form of serious gaming; and the game itself simulates the real-life experience of research for BA and MA student-players. Unlike conventional academic formats—the essay, the chapter or the monograph—the game allows the writer to explore nonlinear storytelling and to create parallel and multi-directional narratives. Through gamification, Lives in Transit invites players to experience the genesis of a piece of global history research and offers them innovative ways of chronicling and mapping this creative process. At the same time, it encourages them to reflect on the nature of doing research in a digitized world. With its strong focus on the present-day research environment of academic work, it points to the unevenly distributed access to research funding and even online sources—problems which reflect the bigger debates over access in the “digital society.” Lives in Transit is an open source project and the result of a long collaboration between Professor Dusinberre, the S3IT department of the University of Zurich and private partners. The prototype was developed and tested in 2017; the game itself is being tested in autumn 2019 and will be launched in spring 2020. 

Website: Prof. Dr. Martin Dusinberre

Dr. Alfred Früh

Dr. Alfred Früh is a DSI Fellow from January to December 2019 and works on the topic "Transparency in the Digital Economy". Transparency has become a keyword in legal deliberations on the new phenomena of the digital economy such as platforms, artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology. While it is obvious that transparency's effects are ambiguous, its normative content remains opaque. It is also very unclear how transparency translates to existing legal and technical concepts. The project addresses these questions and ultimately aims to determine how much transparency is desirable in a given circumstance and which legal and technical means can be used to provide the adequate amount of transparency.

Website: Dr. Alfred Früh

Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Gilardi

During the DSI-Fellowship from January to December 2019, Fabrizio Gilardi will work on building up a Digital Democracy Lab at the University of Zurich. The Digital Democracy Lab will support computational social science research on the implications of digital technology for democracy. It was established in September 2018 at the University of Zurich by Fabrizio Gilardi, Anita Gohdes, and Lucas Leemann, with the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The Digital Democracy Lab has two components: the Computational Social Science Hub and the d-Dem platform. The Computational Social Science Hub is an infrastructure to collect, store, process, and analyze text and social media data, and survey response data via an online panel. It supports data collection and analysis for scientific research. The d-Dem platform tracks political debates and opinions online and offline, and presents analyses in a format accessible to the general public. Due to the nature of the funding, in the short term (2018-2019) the Digital Democracy Lab will be focused primarily on Switzerland. The medium-term goal is to establish the Digital Democracy Lab as a leading research center for the study of the interaction between digital technology and politics.

Website: Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Gilardi

Prof. Dr. Christian Hauser

Prof. Dr. Christian Hauser works at the DSI from June to December 2019 on the following topic:

In communication and media studies, framing describes the process by means of which themes and events are classified into patterns of interpretation. According to Entman (1993), frames fulfil two functions. On the one hand, they serve to select certain aspects of reality and on the other hand, these aspects are to be linked in communication with certain problem definitions, interpretations, moral evaluations or instructions for action.
For some years now, the term "big data" has stood for the drastic changes brought about by the increasing penetration of digital technologies in society. A precise definition of the term does not yet exist. However, it makes it clear that nowadays large amounts of very different data can be easily captured, stored and analysed. Not only computers, smartphones and portable sensors, but also cars, household appliances, machines and buildings routinely generate large amounts of data thanks to embedded information and communication technology (ICT).
The project explores which frames are used in Swiss and US newspapers in the debate on big data. To this end, the opportunities and risks associated with "big data" and presented in a communicative way in the newspaper debates in Switzerland and the USA will be identified. On the one hand, the differences that exist in the newspaper discourses of the two countries are to be worked out and on the other hand, how the frames to "Big Data" have changed in recent years is to be examined. Furthermore, it will be examined which companies and industries shape the reporting on "Big Data" and how the entrepreneurial use of "Big Data" is ethically evaluated.

Website: Prof. Dr. Christian Hauser

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heitz

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heitz is DSI fellow from April 2019 to March 2020. Since many years, he has been working in the field of data based decision algorithms, in particular for management decisions and data-based customer interaction control. With this background, at DSI he works in the area of Algorithmic Fairness and ethics of commercial data usage, in cooperation with ethicists of the DSI. 

Algorithmic Fairness is concerned with algorithms which decide on individual insurance premiums, control personalized information supply, support predictive policing, or select job applicants with methods of artificial intelligence. Such algorithms are currently being introduced in all areas of our life, and they may affect our social fabric substantially. 

The research question of Christoph’s DSI project is: How can algorithms be designed which are aligned with the ethical expectations on fairness, justice, and non-discrimination of society, customers, or employees? Answering this question requires a combination of ethical discourse (What exactly do we mean if we speak of fairness and justice?) and technology (How to build a fair decision algorithm? How to create fairness-by-design technically?). 

In the broader context of data ethics, the focus is on the development of ethical guidelines for commercial data usage, in particular in data-based services. 

Video on Youtube

Website: Prof. Dr. Christoph Heitz

Dr. Markus Kneer

Dr. Markus Kneer is DSI Fellow in the autumn semester 2019 and the spring semester 2020 and will work on the following topic:

Fundamental psychological dispositions in Human-Robot Interaction

At the DSI, I conduct empirical work regarding fundamental psychological dispositions in contexts in which humans interact with autonomous artificial agents (rather than with other humans). The three independent, yet not unrelated, strands of this research regard (i) the ascription of moral responsibility in human-robot interaction, (ii) features of trust in and reliance on autonomous artificial agents, as well as (iii) normative expectations towards autonomous artificial agents, for instance in contexts of communication. The above topics will be explored in multiple cultural contexts and languages. 

Website: Dr. Markus Kneer

PD Dr. Birte Platow

PD Dr. Birte Platow is a DSI Fellow from January to December 2019 and will deal with the following topic: 

Anthropomorphic Transferences as Constitutive of the Encounter between Man and Artificial Intelligence

How do individuals perceive themselves in dealing with artificial intelligence, and how do they behave as a result? This is the central question of my Fellow Project "Anthropomorphic Transferences as Constitutive of the Encounter between Man and Artificial Intelligence", which I am allowed to realize at the DSI in interdisciplinary exchange under optimal conditions.

The reason for my research is the observation that in the encounter between man and artificial intelligence the traditional frame of reference of anthropological descriptions of man changes implicitly and unconsciously, that the self-images and the corresponding behaviour of man are determined by new points of reference. To the extent that the individual is increasingly represented digitally, man and AI become complementary dimensions of a single and usually functionally determined reference system.

On the basis of a qualitative-empirical study, I would like to describe ideal-typical encounter situations between humans and Al as well as the patterns and strategies of self-perception and perception of Al that become recognizable in these situations. I interpret the findings and further questions arising from this study as a theologian against the background of Christian anthropology in order to contribute to the question of what ethics we need in a future in which the significance and scope of AI will be even greater than today.  

Website: PD Dr. Birte Platow

Dr. Mike Stuart

Dr. Mike Stuart will be a fellow at the DSI from (late) February to (late) August 2019, working on a project entitled “How to Hold Machines Responsible for their Actions.”

Currently, there is no way to place legal blame on autonomous artificial agents (AAAs). But it is only a matter of time before they reach levels of autonomy approaching animal or human levels, at which point we may want to hold them (at least partially) responsible for their actions. For an AAA to be legally responsible, it must have a mens rea or “knowledge of purpose”; it must know in advance of acting what the consequences of its actions will be. But the precise nature of this epistemological state is still quite vague. For example, do we really require knowledge (in the philosophers’ sense), or would a state that comes in degrees (like understanding or awareness) be preferable? My project will use survey based methods to determine what the relevant epistemological state is, and then draw on existing work in epistemology to identify what other features AAAs must possess in order to stand in that epistemological state. For example, one such feature that I expect will be necessary is imagination. Working with AI professionals to determine whether and how AAAs will be able to implement (or approximate) such features is the final part of my project.

Website: Dr. Mike Stuart

Prof. Dr. Carmen Tanner

Prof. Dr. Carmen Tanner is DSI Fellow in the fall semester 2019 and is working on the following topic:

Promotion of Personal Integrity via Serious Games and other digital tools

In order to reduce the development and number of questionable business practices in the financial and economic world (such as fraud, deception, corruption), the focus in recent years has been primarily on enhancing regulation and compliance. In contrast, the approach of Moral Intelligence (Tanner & Christen, 2014) assumes that the implementation of corporate values and rules into practice also depends on individual psychological competencies. There is a renewed demand for integrity among managers and employees. However, personal integrity requires a range of perceptual, motivational, decisional and action-related skills. Since a few years, I have been working on the question of how digital tools can be used to promote such moral and psychological skills. In interdisciplinary collaboration and with the DSI we have already developed a first video game (Serious Moral Game), implemented it in education and empirically tested its effectiveness in a research project. The goal during the DSI Fellowship is to consider further developments of this game and/or alternative digital tools to strengthen specifically personal responsibility, decisional ability and courage. A cooperation with a business partner is also planned. 

Website: 

Center for Responsibility in Finance, Department of Banking and Finance

Chair of Economic Psychology and Leadership Ethics

Dr. Lonneke van der Plas

Lonneke van der Plas, senior lecturer in Human Language Technology at the Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology of the University of Malta, will be a DSI Fellow in the Fall Semester 2019.

Dr. van der Plas is an internationally recognized researcher in the domain of automatic semantic analysis, contributing to the topics such as semantic networks, shallow semantics and multiword expressions. As a DSI fellow, Dr. van der Plas will carry out research on linguistic creativity using the data from the corpora of non-standard language, which are developed in the URPP Language and Space and at the UZH in general. This fellowship will allow the researchers in the URPP Language and Space and other interested researchers to integrate new research questions and the associated methodology into their own research through joint work and exchange with Dr. van der Plas, who will also give talks and tutorials on the topic of her research.

Website: Dr. Lonneke van der Plas

 

 

DSI Projects

Bingjie Cheng

Website: Bingjie Cheng

 

 

PD Dr. Markus Christen

Website: PD Dr. Markus Christen

 

 

Armand Kapaj

Website: Armand Kapaj

 

Dr. Michele Loi

Website: Dr. Michele Loi

 

Dr. Sara Maggi

Website: Dr. Sara Maggi

 

Dr. Ian Ruginski

 

 

 

 

DSI Directors

Prof. Dr. Abraham Bernstein

Prof. Dr. Sara Irina Fabrikant

Prof. Dr. Mike Martin

Healthy Ageing

Our aim is to have a contextualizable overall picture of health and quality of life in old age. Digitalization now enables an inexpensive and innovative extension of the monitoring of quality of life and health. The existing data are poor in situational and contextual information, and are relatively rarely collected. In order to systematically and comprehensively implement the central functional capacity of individual persons as a supply target in the WHO model of "Healthy Ageing" (2016), close observations in the real-world context are required. This requires an investment in a research infrastructure for responsible health research with high data density, in digital competences of older people to use their health data and in transdisciplinary research groups consisting of health, technology, legal and context/humanities scientists to develop causal relationships between the collected information. These causal models are a prerequisite for reducing care costs in the area of coordination-intensive illnesses alone by hundreds of millions of Swiss francs a year.

 

Participatory Health Research

With digitalization and open science, more and more information is being made available to an increasing number of people for health decisions. Competences for the selection and critical evaluation of research results must therefore also be available to all in society. We are working together with the Center for Gerontology and the UZH/ETH Citizen Science Center Zurich to create the framework conditions for the participatory evaluation, conception and implementation of health research projects.

 

Website: Prof. Dr. Mike Martin

Prof. Dr. Florent Thouvenin

Prof. Dr. Claudia Witt

 

 

Former DSI Fellows

Dr. Linda Di Geronimo

Dr. Linda Di Geronimo was DSI Fellow from May to November 2019 and was working on the following topic:

Dark Patterns (DPs) are user interfaces that trick the users into doing something they did not mean to do. Sneaking unwanted items into the basket, adding users to sometimes costly subscriptions, or using double negatives on checkboxes are only some of the many DPs that can be found online. While there are occasions where designers do not introduce these patterns intentionally but rather from inexperience and a lack of user testing, they often come from clear malicious intents.

DPs do not only drastically lower the user experience, but they can also lead users to over-share personal information. Although the effect of DPs on our society is clearly relevant, there has been little effort in the research community on how to best tackle this problem. Moreover, while the concept of Dark Patterns is not new, a rigorous survey on their extent and their impact on the user has yet to be carried out. To bridge this gap, I initiated research on the topic.

Thanks to the support of the Digital Society Initiative, I was able to classify Dark Patterns in trending mobile applications (N=240). We found that among the tested apps, 95% contain at least one or more Dark Patterns. The classification was performed by first recording ten minutes example usage of each app (for a total of 40 hours recordings). Then each UI and its interaction were evaluated by two researchers. The researchers followed a previously developed taxonomy and kept note of each malicious design and its category. We will soon provide the classification together with the final dataset on this website: https://lindig11.github.io/ldg/.

Furthermore, together with Ethix, we are building a list of guidelines for a more ethical digital user experience. The goal of this phase is to develop a label to evaluate web and mobile applications through an ethical lens.

Website: Dr. Linda Di Geronimo

Dr. Sarah Ebling

Dr. Sarah Ebling was DSI Fellow from January to September 2019 and worked on the following topic:

Towards Automatic Text Simplification for German

While digital transformation has brought about positive change for many people, it has also created additional barriers. For example, the fact that digitalization has led to more and more information being provided in written form is an obstacle for people with reduced reading ability. Easy language can give these people access to information and communication. Such a language variety is characterized by reduced lexical and syntactical complexity, the addition of explanations for difficult words, and a clearly structured layout.

The automatic production of light language is already reasonably well researched for languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese etc. For German, on the other hand, there is almost no work. The aim of the Fellowship "Towards a Scalable, Multimodal Automatic Text Simplification System for German" was therefore to create the conditions for the development of an automatic text simplification system for German.

The concrete output of the Fellowship are two parallel corpora that will serve as data collections for automatic text simplification via neuronal machine translation (Battisti and Ebling, 2019). The first experiments in this direction are already underway. In addition, a doctoral student at the Institute of Computational Linguistics began his research on monolingual sentence annotation, which provides a basis for the usability of parallel documents for neuronal machine translation.

Since one of the two corpora set up within the framework of the Fellowship consists of news reports, an exchange with Prof. Dr. Anne Scherer, Prof. Dr. Thomas Friemel and Prof. Dr. Chat Wacharamanotham was established within the framework of a project dealing, among other things, with a digital infrastructure for news texts.

In the current autumn semester 2019 I am also conducting a seminar "Automatic Text Simplification" (together with Prof. Dr. Martin Volk). In the spring semester 2020 I offer a seminar "Language Technology in the Context of Artificial Intelligence", inspired by the exchange at the DSI.

The Fellowship also provided an opportunity for networking with other Fellows and members of the DSI network. Together with Prof. Dr. Eva Weber-Guskar, I conducted a "Science Café" at Scientifica 2019 entitled "Can a computer system think?" With Prof. Dr. Adrian Hehl (Vetsuisse Faculty) an application for a teaching credit project was submitted.

Website: Dr. Sarah Ebling

Prof. Dr. Thomas Friemel

Prof. Dr. Thomas Friemel has been working at the DSI in FS18 and HS18 on 3 projects:

Communicative Challenges in Digital Societies

Both public and private communications have changed significantly as a result of digitalisation. The lecture series of the Digital Society Initiative in cooperation with the IKMZ addressed from different scientific perspectives the most important opportunities and challenges which arise for society as a result of these changes. Among other things, it discussed what influence new forms of online propaganda and fake news have on political debates, how online platforms can be legally regulated, what strategies media companies can use to assert themselves in changing market conditions, how children and young people can learn to use the Internet positively and to what extent robots can help people with disabilities to participate in social exchange. However, the influence of digitalisation on scientific research was also discussed. Digital traces of Internet use and electronic devices such as smartphones provide researchers with new insights into people's communication and relationship behaviour. At the same time, these data sources are associated with numerous problems, ranging from ethical and legal aspects to the question of what digital traces stand for. All lectures of the DSI ring lecture were filmed and are available on the DSI website. 

Protection of Children Online

Against the background of the increasingly developing digital landscape and the associated risks for children and young people, 60 experts from all over the world exchanged views on questions such as "what new online risks arise in a digital landscape" or "what critical digital skills are needed to raise risk awareness among children and young people". The workshop discussed the foundations on which the new OECD recommendations should be based. 

Digital Health Communication

Both communication and health were identified as relevant challenge areas within the framework of the DSI. This indicates that the UZH has both the necessary critical mass of scientists and a strategic interest in playing a leading role in these fields. The declared goal of DSI is not only to stimulate research and interdisciplinary cooperation at the UZH, but also to communicate the resulting expertise to society and to support the transfer of practice. The development of a CAS in Digital Health Communication has exactly this goal. On the one hand, the identification and specification of relevant subject areas and the expertise existing in them at the UZH will strengthen the networking of researchers. On the other hand, the transfer of know-how will contribute to the development of the digital society and underline the leading role of the UZH.

Website: Prof. Dr. Thomas Friemel

Prof. Dr. Antônio Sérgio Guimarães

Prof. Dr. Antônio Sérgio Guimarães was a DSI Fellow at the UZH in August 2018 and worked with Dr. med. Dominik Ettlin.

DSI fellowships for translating the web-based interdisciplinary symptom evalua-tion1 (WISE) tool into Portuguese, thus enabling collection of transcultural “big data” for improving the understanding of risk factors for chronic orofacial pain 

Patient reported outcome measures gain increasing importance in various medical areas. We re-cently designed and constructed a web-based interdisciplinary symptom evaluation (WISE) for patients suffering from orofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders1. For worldwide applica-bility and to avoid copyright infringements, open source software tools and free validated ques-tionnaires available in multiple languages were used. Highly secure data storage limits access strict-ly to those who use the tool for collecting, storing, and evaluating their data. By combining a symptom- burden checklist with in-depth questionnaires serving as case-finding instruments, an algorithm was developed that assists in clarifying case complexity and need for targeted expert evaluation. This novel modular approach provides a personalized, response-tailored instrument for the time- and cost-effective collection of symptom-burden focused quantitative data. The tool includes body drawing options and instructional videos. It is applicable for biopsychosocial evalu-ation in a variety of clinical settings and offers direct feedback by a case report summary. The tool thus enables personalized medicine, facilitates interprofessional education and collaboration, and allows for multicenter patient-reported outcomes research.

Almost 1,000 patients of the interdisciplinary pain unit of the Center of Dental Medicine of the University of Zurich already completed the WISE prior to their initial consultation. Data analysis for research projects is in process and manuscripts are submitted to scientific journals or in prepara-tion. In order to enable the translation of the WISE for use in other countries, the DSI Board of Directors had financed two fellows in August 2018, Prof. Antônio Sérgio Guimarães (University Leopoldo Mandic, Campinas, Brazil) and Prof. Miguel Gonçalves Meira e Cruz (University of Lis-bon, Portugal). The two were joined by Prof. Kanokporn Bhalang (Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand) who had been able to raise other funds for her stay in Zurich. The team of three worked intensively for 7 days on the translation of the software into their respective lan-guages and the work was successfully completed within the given timeframe. After work, family members joined for leisure time (photo).

Team orofacial pain
Left to right: S. Guimaraes, Ray (husband of N. Bhalang), Maria (daughter of M. Meira e Cruz), Ruth (mother of M. Meira e Cruz),  M. Meira e Cruz, N. Bhalang, D. Ettlin 

Website: Prof. Dr. Antônio Sérgio Guimarães

Prof. Dr. Miguel Gonçalves Meira e Cruz

Prof. Dr. Miguel Gonçalves Meira e Cruz was visiting Zurich and the DSI in August 2018 to work with Dr. med. Dominik Ettlin.

DSI fellowships for translating the web-based interdisciplinary symptom evalua-tion1 (WISE) tool into Portuguese, thus enabling collection of transcultural “big data” for improving the understanding of risk factors for chronic orofacial pain 

Patient reported outcome measures gain increasing importance in various medical areas. We re-cently designed and constructed a web-based interdisciplinary symptom evaluation (WISE) for patients suffering from orofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders1. For worldwide applica-bility and to avoid copyright infringements, open source software tools and free validated ques-tionnaires available in multiple languages were used. Highly secure data storage limits access strict-ly to those who use the tool for collecting, storing, and evaluating their data. By combining a symptom- burden checklist with in-depth questionnaires serving as case-finding instruments, an algorithm was developed that assists in clarifying case complexity and need for targeted expert evaluation. This novel modular approach provides a personalized, response-tailored instrument for the time- and cost-effective collection of symptom-burden focused quantitative data. The tool includes body drawing options and instructional videos. It is applicable for biopsychosocial evalu-ation in a variety of clinical settings and offers direct feedback by a case report summary. The tool thus enables personalized medicine, facilitates interprofessional education and collaboration, and allows for multicenter patient-reported outcomes research.

Almost 1,000 patients of the interdisciplinary pain unit of the Center of Dental Medicine of the University of Zurich already completed the WISE prior to their initial consultation. Data analysis for research projects is in process and manuscripts are submitted to scientific journals or in prepara-tion. In order to enable the translation of the WISE for use in other countries, the DSI Board of Directors had financed two fellows in August 2018, Prof. Antônio Sérgio Guimarães (University Leopoldo Mandic, Campinas, Brazil) and Prof. Miguel Gonçalves Meira e Cruz (University of Lis-bon, Portugal). The two were joined by Prof. Kanokporn Bhalang (Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand) who had been able to raise other funds for her stay in Zurich. The team of three worked intensively for 7 days on the translation of the software into their respective lan-guages and the work was successfully completed within the given timeframe. After work, family members joined for leisure time (photo).

Team orofacial pain
Left to right: S. Guimaraes, Ray (husband of N. Bhalang), Maria (daughter of M. Meira e Cruz), Ruth (mother of M. Meira e Cruz),  M. Meira e Cruz, N. Bhalang, D. Ettlin 

Website: Prof. Dr. Miguel Gonçalves Meira e Cruz

Dr. Juliane Lischka

Dr. Juliane Lischka was a DSI Fellow during FS18 and HS18 and worked on the topic "About Black Sheep and Sheeple - Deviant Agents, Counterknowledge, and the Good Information Society".

Thought Provoking or Bullshit? Credibility Cues of Conspiracy Theories

In an era of epistemic instability (Harambam, 2017), conspiracy theories are a common topic in online debates (Wood & Douglas, 2015). Conspiracy theories are easily distributable and accessible on platforms such as YouTube and have a long online shelf live (Del Vicario et al., 2016). 

This project aimed at developing a credibility cue model for conspiracy theory videos. Credibility of online information largely depends on source, message, author, and receiver characteristics (Metzger & Flanagin, 2015). For videos, production value is found to be a relevant credibility dimension (Cummins & Chambers, 2011). 

Results of this study show that regarding conspiracy theory credibility cues, respondents largely refer to these credibility cues, but also extend them with two effect-related aspects: (1) effects on personal user behavior and (2) effects on others. Regarding the first aspect, respondents argue that their intent to follow up on a conspiracy theory in personal communication or finding it thought-provoking affect their conspiracy theory credibility rating. Regarding the second, the perception of a conspiracy theory as popular and sticky is relevant for their credibility evaluation. However, results based on an experimental survey design reveal that when watching a conspiracy theory video, merely host reliability and informational value play a role for the credibility rating. That is, respondents largely evaluate conspiracy theories based on journalism-like accuracy standards. 

Moreover, host reliability and informational value are related to behavioral intentions of respondents, such as sharing the video with a friend. Thus, accurate appearing conspiracy theories will be distributed more broadly, which stretches their online shelf lives. A higher credibility assessment of conspiracy theory videos also corresponds to the intention of being more skeptical about the government and media, indicating a decrease of trust in societal institutions.

Website: Dr. Juliane Lischka

Dr. Julian Mausbach

Dynamic electronic consent and de-anonymization

Digitisation when including people and health data in research

The first area of the project is devoted to the question of whether the self-determined (intended) involvement in research can be made more favourable by digitalising the consent process. In terms of content, the main focus of the study is on making the process more dynamic. With respect to formal aspects, the focus is placed on the question of whether the process as a whole can be designed electronically.

The second area of the project approaches the involvement in research from the opposite direction, so to speak. It is dedicated to unwanted inclusion and does not focus on design possibilities, but rather on design needs due to digitalisation. Specifically, the question is whether the possible de-anonymisation of research data by digitalisation leads to a re-identified person being able to derive rights from it or to obligations arising for researchers as a result.

Website: Dr. Julian Mausbach

Article in inside-IT: Einwilligung in Forschung ist keine Einbahn­strasse!

Prof. Dr. Matthias Mehl

Prof. Dr. Matthias Mehl will be a guest at the DSI and the UFSP in July 2018:

The main project I pursued within my DSI fellowship was to help identify ways in which the ambient audio samples collected via the uTrail can be converted into meaningful indicators of daily social activity. We recently published a paper in the journal Psychological Science demonstrating that the simple metric of “percentage of time talking” is a robust behavioral marker of wellbeing (Milek et al., 2018). As a first step, then, it would be important to develop ways to automatically and accurately extract voice activity information from the ambient audio. Other interesting candidate indicators could be emotional expressions (e.g., laughing, sighing, crying) captured by the ambient audio recordings as well as prevalent daily activities such as watching TV, cooking and eating, commuting, etc. Interestingly, this task, that is the task that is currently most pressing with respect to analyzing data collected with the uTrail, happens to also be a highly timely task for and a rapidly advancing research area in the field of computer science. 

The field of behavioral and speech signal processing from naturalistic audio recordings is in the process of becoming a vibrant research area. This year, a group of researchers around Dan Ellis, a former Professor at Columbia University who has since transitioned to Google, published a seminal handbook that establishes the Computational Analysis of Sound Scenes and Events (Virtanen, Plumbley, & Ellis, 2018) as an active research area with great potential for significant scientific contributions in computer science and electrical engineering. The purpose of this field is to elevate audio signal processing to the level of sophistication of other “sibling” areas such as visual signal processing (e.g., face and object detection). Currently, the field is struggling to identify realistic data sources that are inherently important and provide the kind of “high noise” data that one encounters in everyday life. One recent attempt, Google AudioSet (Gemmeke, Ellis, et al., 2017), has focused on sampled snippets of YouTube clips which are realistic in nature but, arguably, capture only a limited, thin slice of people’s daily social lives. What the field is currently lacking is (1) a data base of naturalistic, real-world audio events that covers the full spectrum of lived daily life and that can be used to train computational models for the classification of a range of behaviorally important sound events (e.g., talking, laughing, sighing, eating) and (2) a data base of such audio events that is annotated for “ground truth” variables. 

With the data that is currently being collected via the uTrail device as part of a large ongoing project on healthy aging at the UFSP (200 participants wear the device for 4 weeks), we have access to an at-scale data base (ten thousands of sound bites) of real-world ambient audio clips sampled representatively from the full range of participants’ daily lives, morning to night, Monday through Sunday. And within the existing long-term collaboration between Dr. Martin and myself, we have access to a very large, “ground-truth” annotated data base of audio data based on the close to 20 years of research that Prof. Mehl has conducted with the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) method (Mehl et al., 2001; Mehl 2017). During my month as DSI fellow, I helped lay the groundwork for a collaboration that can take the computational analysis of everyday sound and speech events to the next scientific level. 

Website: Prof. Dr. Matthias Mehl

Dr. Gianluca Miscione

Dr. Gianluca Miscione was a DSI fellow from December 2018 until May 2019:

I have been DSI fellow from December 2018 till May 2019. This fellowship overlapped with the second half of my Sabbatical year, which I spent mainly at the University of Zurich. Being part of the DSI allowed me to extend the research I have been developing in collaboration with University College Dublin (my main affiliation), the Information Management Research Group(IMRG) at UZH, and the University of Muenster among others. 

My current research has been focused on blockchain and organizations (governance more precisely). Thus, a concrete step in the direction of relating to the DSI focal area on ‘Democracy’ has been the development of a literature review on ‘Blockchain and Democracy’. This document, together with the extensive collection of publicationson whose selection it is based, has been made available to all DSI members and also published online through Zotero, a free of charge reference management systems. This work has also been accepted for inclusion in the Blockchain Research Network Library, the most comprehensive collection of academic papers on all aspects of research on blockchain. The rationale of choosing free distribution has been to help any researcher who is interested in this emerging research topic, and ideally to attract some as possible collaborators. I would even suggest this mode of dissemination for other outcomes of the DSI’s activities.

Another part of my fellowship has been dedicated to networking within the DSI and across organizations. Regarding the former, the DSI fellows meetings have been the perfect format to go deep enough into others’ work and socialize. The book club (organized by prof Hargittai) was always very stimulating and led to this publication (Hargittai E., Miscione G., (2019) “Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming” on the International Journal of Communication). Also the Breakfast of Ideas has been a useful series of meetings, which I have actively supported, for early stage researchers. Ideally, this may evolve into a more consolidated interdisciplinary venue for PhDs and Postdocs. 

Regarding networking across organizations, I was glad to introduce some members of the IMRG to related activities of the DSI. Hopefully this will lead to other fellowships and other more formal collaborations in the future. Beyond academia, members of the incubator Trust Square(and ProCivisespecially) and Crypto Valley have been made aware of the DSI and potential collaborations.

Last but not least, broader dissemination of ideas has been pursued by publishing ‘Der Blockchain-Hype – braucht es "Ockhams Rasiermesser"?’ [in German] for the Digital Society Initiative Insights series on Inside-IT, and giving interviews, one in the podcast The Baseline about “Currencies as infrastructures”.

I see many possible developments of those initial activities. The most immediate ones can about collaborations for joint applications for funding for international research projects. 

Website: Dr. Gianluca Miscione

Prof. Dr. Jean-Henry Morin

From September to December 2018 Prof. Dr. Jean-Henry Morin was a guest at the DSI and was working on the following topics:

Swiss Digital Transition and 2019 Federal Elections
In the context of the 2015 Federal Elections we joined forces with GovFaces to organise a public debate on the Swiss Digital Agenda trying to stimulate engagement on the issue among the parliamentarians, the political parties and the civil society (http://www.helvetic.govfaces.com/agenda-digital-suisse). While the debate did provide some interesting contributions and outcome, it failed to achieve the goal of including the issue in the political debate for the Federal Elections. Being one year away of the next Federal Elections in 2019 and given the still lagging public policy leadership on the issue that paved the way for the DigitalSwitzerland initiative (formerly Digital Zurich 2025) essentially driven by the economy, we think it it could be a very good opportunity to design a new initiative to counterbalance the economy-only driven approach and jointly work on a new initiative towards that goal in the context of the UNIGE-UZH DSI initiative. The State of Geneva with whom we are in close contact and collaboration through GenèveLab, the growing civictech area and the UZH contacts with the federal level are interesting supporting elements towards such a goal.

FacLab
The Centre Universitaire d’Informatique (CUI) at UNIGE has been working for several years towards creating an academic FabLab. Its goal is to introduce the now common fabrication and DIY approaches originating the the work at MIT (Neil Gershenfeld), into the university to leverage the “build to think” and “build to learn” approaches based on design thinking, rapid prototyping and user centred design. Such approaches hold tremendous potential towards transforming the way we teach, learn and do research. Moreover they offer interesting opportunities for joint work between academia and the civil society. Recently the FacLab project at UNIGE received interest from the Division de l’Information Scientifique (DIS), the Bureau de la Stratégie Numérique de l’UNIGE (BSN), the Division du Système et des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (DiSTIC) and several external organisations such as Lift Conference, Genève Lab of the State of Geneva, etc. During the last Open Geneva festival in April 2018 we organised a hackathon to co-design the FacLab where participants from UZH joined (Prof. Florent Thouvenin). This led to several actionable outcomes which we will leverage starting this Fall 2018 in Geneva. We think it it could be a very good opportunity to jointly work on this project trying to build a sister FacLab at UZH in the context of the UNIGE-UZH DSI initiative.

Digital Responsibility
Based on research carried out over many years in the area of Digital Rights Management, particularly in the context of enterprise security, Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Information Protection and Control (IPC), the issue of Digital Responsibility emerged as an important issue in the context of the Digital Transition and the responsible design of sustainable systems and services. The whole issue of cybersecurity and data protection is clearly in the need for profound changes in how the future of our digital society is to be shaped for the future (Morin 2014). 
Based on this, recent discussions took place with the Fondation Ethos in order to design a Digital Responsibility Criteria for their evaluations. This work will start in the Fall of 2018. In parallel, initial discussions with Johan Rochel
of Ethix (Lab für Innovationsethik) in Zurich. 
In this area, we think joining forces in the context of the UNIGE-UZH DSI initiative could accelerate and strengthen the impact in this important area towards a sustainable digital society.

Website: Prof. Dr. Jean-Henry Morin

Prof. Dr. Eva Weber-Guskar

Eva Weber-Guskar was a DSI Fellow from February to July 2019.

Research

The Fellowship focused on research into the ethics of emotional artificial intelligence. AI systems are increasingly becoming direct partners for people in communication and other practices. Examples range from language offerings such as Siri in smartphones, home and shopping assistants such as Alexa, to robots as museum guides or in nursing care for the elderly. This development also includes the fact that the systems are increasingly being equipped with emotional functions (recognising emotions, evoking them in others and simulating one's own expression and reaction behaviour), partly as an aid to communication, partly as an objective in itself. The research question is which problems go hand in hand with such emotionalized AI (EAI), both in a narrow moral philosophical sense and in an ethical-anthropological sense.

In a first lecture on this subject, I examine the various concerns expressed that it might be wrong or problematic as a human being to actually encounter such EAI systems, which suggest feelings, with feelings. I focus on social feelings: compassion and reactive moral emotions. I show that they are epistemically inappropriate and discuss to what extent they can nevertheless be considered desirable for moral reasons. Finally, I refer to how this ambivalence of evaluation can be resolved by considering the possibility of a special epistemic relationship between man and machine: imaginative perception as the basis of emotions. I use the feedback from the various places where I gave the lecture (Zurich, Oldenburg, Bochum) to revise the text for a publication. 

Networking

The Fellowship offered me excellent networking conditions. I have participated in the general DSI speed dating, numerous Fellow Exchange Days and Brown Bag Lunches and have become a member of the Digital Ethics Lab of the DSI. Everywhere I have met researchers from whom I could also learn something for my topic. Within the lab I now belong to the group that will organize a workshop on "Trust in Machines". Cooperation is also planned with my next research location, the Weizenbaum Institute for Networked Society.

Outreach

As a member of the support group, I also advised on the TA Swiss study "Self-driving vehicles in Switzerland", which will be published in autumn 2019. I was invited as a speaker at public evening events at the Kulturverein Rothenburg (Ethische Fragen der Digitalisierung) and at the Literaturhaus Stuttgart (Lange Nacht der KI, "Can you write me a poem, Siri?") and was interviewed by the UZH magazine on the topic " Wir und die Maschinen". On inside.it.ch in the blog series DSI-Insights I have summarized my considerations from a research project on the question of how much anonymity in online commentaries is helpful for political discourse. Finally, together with Fellow Dr. Sarah Ebling, I ran a Science Café at Scientifica 2019 on the topic "Can a computer system think? The Turing Test in the Movie and in the Present". 

Website: Prof. Dr. Eva Weber-Guskar

Dr. Bruno Wüest

Website: Dr. Bruno Wüest

Dr. Kristina Yordanova

Dr. Kristina Yordanova was a guest at the DSI and the UFSP Dynamics of Healthy Ageing in July and August 2018.

The main project I pursued within my DSI fellowship was the development of automated methods for situation knowledge extraction and interpretation of human behaviour. This involves the investigation of both different types of information sources and different computational solutions for the interpretation of heterogeneous data. In that context, I was able to propose a workflow for the automatic identification of social behaviours and environments from transcripts of daily conversations. The initial results suggested that it is possible to apply automated methods for coding transcripts of daily conversations with relevant psychological variables.  Another aspect of the project was identifying relevant factors that describe healthy ageing from a situation-aware perspective. These factors can later be used to reason about a person’s daily life, the evolvement of their situation and the effect these factors have on the long-term behaviour associated with healthy ageing.

Website: Dr. Kristina Yordanova