Books, articles, and reports published by Digital Life Institute members.

Semantic Media: Mapping Meaning on the Internet

Andrew Iliadis

Book: Media technologies now provide facts, answers, and “knowledge” to people – search engines, apps, and virtual assistants increasingly articulate responses rather than direct people to other sources. Semantic Media is about this emerging era of meaning-making technologies. Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft organize information in new media products that seek to “intuitively” grasp what people want to know and the actions they want to take. This book describes some of the insidious technological practices through which organizations achieve this while addressing the changing contexts of internet searches, and examines the social and political consequences of what happens when large companies become primary sources of information.

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Visualizing the datasphere: Representations of old bodies and their data in promotional images of smart sensor technologies for aging at home

Kirsten L. Ellison, Wendy Martin, Isabel Pedersen, and Barbara L. Marshall

Journal Article: Technologies for people aging at home are increasingly prevalent and include ambient monitoring devices that work together with wearables to remotely track and monitor older adults’ biometric data and activities of daily living. Our paper examines the ways in which the datafication of aging is offered up visually by technology companies to promote their products. Specifically, we ask: how are data visualized in promotional images of smart sensor technologies for aging at home? And in these visualizations, what happens to the aging body and relations of care? We present 3 themes on the visual representation of old bodies and their data: (1) Captured Data, (2) Spatialized Data, and (3) Networked Data. Each, we argue, contribute to a broader visualization of the “datasphere”. We conclude by highlighting the underlying assumptions of old bodies in the co-constitution of aging and technologies in which the fleshy and lived corporeality of bodies is more often lost, reduced to data points and automated care scenarios, and further disentangled from other bodies, contexts and things.

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Writing Infrastructure with The Fabric of Digital Life Platform

Katlynne Davis, Danielle Mollie Stambler, Jessica Lynn Campbell, Daniel L. Hocutt, Ann Hill Duin, and Isabel Pedersen

Journal Article: Teaching writing involves helping students develop as critical communicators who use writing to question often-unseen systems of power enabled by infrastructures, including digital spaces and technologies. This article uses Walton, Moore, and Jones’ (2019) 3Ps Framework—positionality, privilege, and power—to explore how, through assignments we developed incorporating the Fabric of Digital Life digital archive, instructors can make visible to students the invisible layers of infrastructure. Using the 3Ps framework, we illustrate how our pedagogical approach encourages students to use writing to interrogate digital infrastructure and the ways it is entangled with positionality, privilege, and power. Communication Design Quarterly.

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Localizing Content: The Roles of Technical & Professional Communicators and Machine Learning in Personalized Chatbot

Daniel Hocutt, Nupoor Ranade, and Gustav Verhulsdonck

Journal Article: This exploratory case study of an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbot demonstrates that microcontent, a snippet of personalized content that responds to users’ needs, is a form of localization reliant on a content ecology. In contributing to users’ localized experiences, technical communicators should recognize their work as part of an assemblage in which users, content, and metrics augment each other to produce personalized content that can be consumed by and delivered through AI-assisted technology. We conclude that technical communicators should teach, research, and practice competencies and skills to advocate for localized users in assemblages of user, content, metrics, and AI. Society for Technical Communication, Volume 69, Number 4

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The seer and the seen: Surveying Palantir’s surveillance platform

Andrew Iliadis, Amelia Acker

Journal Article (in The Information Society): Palantir is among the most secretive and understudied surveillance firms globally. The company supplies information technology solutions for data integration and tracking to police and government agencies, humanitarian organizations, and corporations. To illuminate and learn more about Palantir’s opaque surveillance practices, we begin by sketching Palantir’s company history and contract network, followed by an explanation of key terms associated with Palantir’s technology area and a description of the firm’s platform ecosystem. We then summarize current scholarship on Palantir’s continuing role in policing, intelligence, and security operations. Our primary contribution and analysis are a computational topic modeling of Palantir’s surveillance patents (n = 155), including their topics and themes. We end by discussing the concept of infrastructuring to understand Palantir as a surveillance platform, where we theorize information standards like administrative metadata as phenomena for structuring social worlds in and through access to digital information.

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Where is the AI? Educator perspectives

Where is the AI? Educator perspectives

Lesley Wilton, Stephen Ip, Merra Sharma, Frank Fan

Conference Paper: to be presented at 23rd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, 27-31 July, Durham University, UK

Working Alongside Non-Human Agents

Ann Hill Duin, Isabel Pedersen

Conference Paper: From Proceedings of the 2021 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (ProComm), 2021, pp. 1-5.

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What AI? Making a case for AI Literacies for Educators

What AI? Making a case for AI Literacies for Educators

Lesley Wilton, Stephen Ip, Meera Sharma, & Frank Fan

Conference Paper: presented at 11th Annual SALTISE Conference, June 2022.

Student APProval: Building a dynamic reading comprehension program for struggling middle school readers

Student APProval: Building a dynamic reading comprehension program for struggling middle school readers

Lesley Wilton & Sarah Bernholtz

Conference Paper: Paper presented at Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) Annual Conference (Online).

AI Agents, Humans and Untangling the Marketing of Artificial Intelligence in Learning Environments

Isabel Pedersen, Ann Hill Duin

Conference Paper: This exploratory study identifies the tangling of proposed relationships between human and non-human agents by providing an analysis on how AI technologies are marketed for learning subjects through a critical discourse analysis of corporate advertisements.

From the 55th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences | 2022

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Not Busy Work! The benefits of new literacies and social practices in online discussion

Lesley Wilton

Book Chapter: In Designing for Meaningful Synchronous and Asynchronous Discussion in Online Courses.

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Building Digital Literacy Through Exploration and Curation of Emerging Technologies: A Networked Learning Collaborative

Ann Hill Duin, Isabel Pedersen, Jason Tham

Book Chapter: This exploratory study examines instructor discussion, instructional development, and study of student building of digital literacy as a result of the use and/or curation of Fabric of Digital Life collections on emerging technologies.

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