After a press release by Bielefeld University, we were contacted by the Neue Westfälische and Mindener Tageblatt and gave interviews. We are happy about the opportunity to talk about our project and believe that it indicates the relevance of our research for society.
The press release: https://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/uninews/entry/unmasking_social_bots.
The article in the online version of Neue Westfälische: https://www.nw.de/nachrichten/zwischen_weser_und_rhein/22511782_Uni-Bielefeld-will-Manipulation-durch-Social-Bots-entlarven.html.
We are looking very much forward to a visit by Tony Veale, a computer scientist from Dublin University College, who will give a talk on 4th of July, 17h-18.30h, at CITEC (room 2.015), titled “Read Me Like a Bot: Lessons from Affective, Topical and Personalised Twitter Bots”.
Abstract: Creativity can be an intensely personal affair. We put ourselves into what we create, relying on our experiences and values to build artifacts we hope others will value too. In doing so, we reveal our personalities. And when we create for others and assimilate the values of an audience, creativity becomes personal and personalised. So context is crucial to creativity, as shown by the significance we attach to Boden’s labels P- and H-Creativity. It is context that allows a creative system to truly assess novelty, or to ensure that its topical artifacts really are topical. An important but an often overlooked aspect of context is personality. A Computational Creativity (CC) system that is designed to reflect a specific aspect of the creative temperament, whether it is humour, arrogance or whimsy, must stay true to this assumed personality in its actions. Likewise, a system that creates artifacts that are rooted in emotion must be sensitive to the personality or mood of its audience. But here we must tread carefully, as the assessment of personal qualities often implies judgement, and so few of us like to be judged, especially by our machines. But when do creative bots veer from benevolence into nuisance or even harassment? To
better understand the upsides and pitfalls of topicality- and personality-based CC systems, we unpack three of these systems here, and explore the lessons they offer.
Tony Veale is an associate professor in the School of Computer Science
at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Among other works, he is
co-author of the book “Twitterbots: Making Machines that Make Meaning”
(MIT Press, 2018), see: https://www.cs.ucd.ie/AcademicProfile/TonyVeale/
We will present our research to the public on Sunday, the 15th September 2019, at the festivities for the 50th anniversary of Bielefeld University. The details are still to be worked out, but we are planning on developing a web application and asking the public whether they think that selected Twitter accounts are automated or manually curated. For more information about the festivities, see: https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/themen/50jahre/unistadtfest/.
We are happy to announce that “Unbiased Bots that Build Bridges (U3B): Technical Systems that Support Deliberation and Diversity as a Chance for Political Discourse” is being funded for one year by the Volkswagen Foundation. The project is headed by Bielefeld University’s researchers Philipp Cimiano, Ole Pütz (both CITEC), and Florian Muhle (Faculty of Sociology), with collaborators at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and the Australian National University in Canberra.
We will soon add some information about the project and about all project participants.