University of Wisconsin-Madison: “A video game can change the brain, may improve empathy in middle schoolers” (Constance Steinkuehler and Kurt Squire mentioned)

August 9, 2018

A space-exploring robot crashes on a distant planet. In order to gather the pieces of its damaged spaceship, it needs to build emotional rapport with the local alien inhabitants. The aliens speak a different language but their facial expressions are remarkably humanlike.

This fantastical scenario is the premise of a video game developed for middle schoolers by University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers to study whether video games can boost kids’ empathy, and to understand how learning such skills can change neural connections in the brain.

Read the full story at the University of Wisconsin-Madison website.

Nardi’s Paper on Instant Messaging Receives Lasting Impact Award

Since 2014, the Lasting Impact Award has been awarded annually at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). It recognizes a paper published at the CSCW conference at least 10 years prior that has been extremely influential. This year’s award goes to “Interaction and Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action,” a paper written in 2000 by Informatics Professor Bonnie Nardi, UC Santa Cruz Professor Steve Whittaker and former Informatics Ph.D. student Erin Bradner, now the director of robotics at Autodesk.

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Discover: “Connected Learning Summit” (Constance Steinkuehler mentioned)

August 8, 2018

Nonetheless, despite all the different paths, the conference felt like one community, something conference organizer Constance Steinkuehler, professor of education and game-based learning at the University of California–Irvine, emphasized on a panel. She said the conference was about building relationships. … Another conference organizer, Kurt Squire, Professor at The University of California, Irvine, member of the Connected Learning Laboratory, commented that the conference was about people coming together on equal footing to solve problems.

Read the full story at Discover.

Informatics Department Welcomes World-Renowned Scholar Marian Petre

August 7, 2018

The Informatics Department has just gained an important ally with Marian Petre, professor of computing at The Open University in the U.K., thanks to UCI’s Distinguished Visiting Professor Initiative. Petre is the perfect candidate for the initiative, which aims to “attract a cohort of high-impact scholars who are also inspirational leaders and educators to the campus for one in-residence quarter per year for up to five years.”

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Forbes: “How SMEs Can Catch The AI Wave” (Gloria Mark mentioned)

According to an interview with Gloria Mark, a department of informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine, which was published by Fast Company, her research has found that each interruption can set back a worker for up to 20 minutes. Considering that employees are interrupted every three minutes, on average, it becomes clear how this seemingly innocuous occurrence can eat away at your productivity and efficiency levels.

Read the full story at Forbes.

Daily Bruin: “Comic-Con panel discusses Afrofuturism in ‘Black Panther,’ Octavia Butler’s works” (Roderic Crooks mentioned)

July 27, 2018

Five months after its release, scholars are still meticulously dissecting Ryan Coogler’s film in the hopes of gaining a thorough understanding of its impact on the black community. The 2018 San Diego Comic Convention panel “Beyond Wakanda: Intersectional Afrofuturism” analyzed “Black Panther” as well as the literary works of Octavia Butler, a black feminist and science fiction author, through the lens of Afrofuturism while encouraging audience engagement. Afrofuturism is a black aesthetic, philosophical and artistic movement that dates back to the mid-20th century, said panelist Dalena Hunter, an archivist and librarian at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. Among other panelists discussing the movement were Shani Miller and Kelly Besser, UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and Library Special Collections archivists, respectively, as well as UC Irvine assistant professor Roderic Crooks.

Read the full story at the Daily Bruin.

Wired: “Google Glass is back–now with artificial intelligence” (Gillian Hayes quoted)

July 25, 2018

Gillian Hayes, a professor who works on human-computer interaction at University of California Irvine, says the Plataine project and plugging Google’s AI services into Glass play to the strengths of the controversial hardware. … “Image and voice recognition technology getting better will make wearable devices more functional,” Hayes says.

Read the full story at Wired.

Bustle: “Why The Best Video Games Are The Ones That Make Men Cry” (Bonnie Ruberg quoted)

July 24, 2018

While Gone Home isn’t a new game (it debuted in 2013), it has set a new standard for role playing video games where the player embodies someone going through a realistic life experience. ….”You can still make choices you feel good about or feel bad about. There’s almost a moral component,” says Bonnie Ruberg, professor of informatics at University of California, Irvine and a scholar of queer video games.

Read the full story at Bustle.

Platypus: “A Ludicrous Relationship? A Conversation between Anthropology and Game Studies” (Co-authored by Informatics Ph.D. Students)

July 20, 2018

Informatics Ph.D. students Spencer Ruelos and Amanda Cullen had their article titled “A Ludicrous Relationship? A Conversation between Anthropology and Game Studies” published on Platypus, the official blog of the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing. The blog post discusses the need for those who work in both game studies and anthropology to build deeper connections between the two disciplines in order to help scholars overcome finding themselves lacking a sense of academic belonging in either field.

Read the full blog post on Platypus.