PhDnet@CAIS – Review of the Barcamp
On 21 May, the meeting of the young researchers’ network “PhDnet@CAIS. Society and Digitalisation” took place as a barcamp. PhD students from universities and universities of applied sciences in NRW who are working on the social consequences of digitalisation were invited. The coordinators of the research training groups also met to exchange their experiences.
As an open event format, the Barcamp offered the doctoral researchers the opportunity to discuss their research questions in a relaxed atmosphere and to network in a more targeted way. In the morning, the session by Stephan Koloßa (University of Bochum, Forschungskolleg SecHuman) on privacy on the net focused primarily on legal aspects. The participants informed each other about their respective perspectives on the topic of privacy and the associated legal basis. Laura Kocksch (University of Bochum, SecHuman Research School) discussed in her session the question of what social sciences and psychology can contribute to improving the often difficult relationship between software developers and the users of new technologies.
Often, technologies are developed without taking into account the actual needs and then have to be “fixed” afterwards (technology fix). Instead, digitalisation should be designed in a participatory way. Christoph Bieber (CAIS) focused on the 100 new professorships for artificial intelligence announced by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The questions that are still unanswered were discussed: What are the needs of AI researchers? Where could these professorships be located? Should other disciplines be considered in addition to computer science? Malte Steinbach (University of Düsseldorf, Forschungskolleg Online-Partizipation) presented his experiences with the realisation of interdisciplinary projects for discussion.
Conflicts often arise when funding agencies have certain expectations for the realisation of interdisciplinarity, but within the respective discipline there are divergent requirements regarding the consideration of concrete theories and models. In the afternoon, Dorian Tsolak (Bielefeld University, X-SONAR) gave a methodological insight into the opportunities and challenges of topic modelling in large data sets. This method calculates statistical models (topics) for mapping frequently occurring words and thus enables the exploration of larger text corpora. In her session, Samira Tabti (University of Bochum, CERES) presented Islam-critical communication in Arabic-language online media.
How do states intervene here (e.g. through bots), and what strategies do users use to avoid these measures? It was also discussed whether a real exchange takes place at all in the relevant media or whether filter bubble discussions prevail. Since many Arab feminists are active online, the topic of gender, Islam and the internet was also addressed. Nico Zengeler (Hochschule Ruhr West, Mülheim) informed the PhD students about the research area of generic artificial intelligence. One approach here is the division of larger tasks into smaller ones, combined with the use of transfer learning to transfer knowledge between individual tasks.
Some application examples were also discussed. In the afternoon, the participants of the workshop for coordinators discussed which conditions must be met for interdisciplinary work to succeed. To start with, Olga Skrebec, doctoral student in the NRW research college SecHuman, gave a theoretical insight into the research field of inter- and transdisciplinarity. Dr. Lars Heilsberger, scientific coordinator of the NRW Research College Online Participation at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, reported on his experiences with coordinating interdisciplinary work. The next PhDnet@CAIS is planned for 26 November 2019.
The event took place in cooperation with the Graduiertenkolleg NRW – Digitale Gesellschaft and the Graduierteninstitut NRW.
The PhDnet@CAIS is an open networking offer of the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) and supports PhD students in the long term – even beyond the completion of their dissertation. The network offers academic contacts across disciplinary boundaries. It organises events for PhD students whose projects deal with the social opportunities and risks of digitalisation.