Monthly Archives: January 2019

Marketplace: “Your car is not self-driving, no matter how much it seems like it is” (Ph.D. student Hillary Abraham quoted)

January 30, 2019

Safety advocates worry that drivers will cede responsibilities to the technology, effectively treating “driver support” technologies as “self-driving.”

“If that’s the attitude, then it’s only a matter of time until you get in an accident,” says Hillary Abraham, a doctoral student at University of California, Irvine, who studies vehicle safety. 

Read the full story at Marketplace.

Trio of ICS Professors Preview Tech Trends for 2019

January 29, 2019

How will technology trends and advances in computing influence various industries and affect our day-to-day lives in 2019? Offering predictions for the year ahead are three faculty members from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science (ICS):

  • Assistant Professor of Informatics Stacy Branham, whose research sits at the intersection of human-centered computing and accessible computing;
  • Professor of Statistics Michele Guindani, an expert in Bayesian modeling and the analysis of high-dimensional data; and
  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sang-Woo Jun, who works on building innovative system architectures for low-cost high-performance computing.

Here, Branham, Guindani and Jun discuss everything from universal usability and mobile health to future computer architectures, weighing in on what they think will be the top trends of the year.

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Motherboard: “Social Media Is Broken, But You Should Still Report Hate” (Kat Lo quoted)

January 23, 2019

“When you encounter groups that you find to be in violation of platform policy or that are very toxic, it is useful for you to report them,” Kat Lo, an online community researcher at the University of California Irvine, told me in an email. “There is an uncomfortable relationship if you’re trusting that companies are just trawling and reading everybody’s social interactions, so a lot of them try to make it report-based.”

Read the full story at Motherboard.

UCI News: “UCI-led study finds Harry Potter fan fiction challenges cultural stereotypes of autism” (Rebecca Black quoted)

Online publishing platforms and digital media can provide opportunities for nonmainstream groups to push back against and offer alternatives to the simplistic stereotypes presented in literature and popular culture. A study led by the University of California, Irvine focused on Harry Potter fan fiction and discovered that autistic people, family members, teachers and advocates cast autistic characters in their stories in diverse ways that challenge typical representations.

Read the full story at UCI News.

Professor Ruberg Co-Edits Groundbreaking Game Studies Issue on ‘Queerness and Video Games’

January 18, 2019

The December 2018 special issue of Game Studies on “Queerness and Video Games” is the largest in the journal’s history. “This is a groundbreaking special issue,” notes Informatics Professor Bonnie Ruberg, who co-edited the issue with Amanda Phillips, an assistant professor of English at Georgetown University. Yet the issue’s significance stems not just from its impressive volume of content. “It’s the first time,” says Ruberg, “that this major venue has engaged in such depth with issues of gender, sexuality and identity.”

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The Guardian: “Video games can turn university graduates into better employees” (Constance Steinkuehler and Kurt Squire cited)

Scholars including James Paul Gee, Constance Steinkuehler and Kurt Squire have suggested that much of the pleasure we gain from playing video games is derived from the joy of learning. Such advocates of game-based learning argue that games are complex systems which players must work hard to understand. They must communicate with one another if they are to coordinate their strategies in multiplayer games, exercise critical thinking to solve puzzles, and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances that games present.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

ESPN Esports College League of Legends Week 1 rankings

January 16, 2019

University of California-Irvine is the No. 1 team in the inaugural Top 25 College League of Legends Coaches Poll.

The Top 25, which was released Wednesday, is the first poll of its kind in college esports. ESPN gathered responses from a group of more than 40 college coaches in the U.S. and Canada to craft the rankings, which will be updated every other week. League of Legends developer Riot Games assisted in identifying seasoned coaches in the College League of Legends scene and provided data to help inform the preseason rankings for those coaches.

Read the full story at ESPN.

Informatics Department Receives $1.1M to Study Socially Responsible AI

How do we build systems that proactively promote values of inclusion? This is one of the questions the Department of Informatics hopes to tackle over the next few years, thanks to a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) award from the U.S. Department of Education (DoE). The award of $895,000, combined with $222,875 in cost-sharing funds from the UCI Graduate Division, will support seven informatics Ph.D. fellowships for students researching socially responsible AI.

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BBC: “Why an off-the-grid hour at work is so crucial” (Gloria Mark quoted)

January 15, 2019

“If a person has a habit of smoking, and they’re away from their cigarettes for a while, it creates tension,” says Gloria Mark, who led that 2012 study about email and who’s an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine. Depending on your job, eliminating (or even significantly reducing) tech may also be totally unrealistic. But Mark thinks organizations also have a responsibility to ensure employees don’t become tech slaves.

Read the full story at the BBC.

Connected Learning Alliance: “Close the Digital Generation Gap, Unlock the Power of Online Affinity Networks, and Fuel Learning” by Mimi Ito

January 10, 2019

Fresh into the new year, I’m delighted to announce the publication of Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning, a book synthesizing research by the Leveling Up team of the Connected Learning Research Network. This book follows in the footsteps of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (HOMAGO) published a decade earlier.

Read the full story at Connected Learning Alliance.