Barbosa defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Natã Barbosa successfully defended his dissertation, "Exploring Algorithmic Realism in the Data Economy," on January 14. His committee included Associate Professor Yang Wang (chair); Professor Michael Twidale; Gang Wang, assistant professor of computer science at Illinois; and Blase Ur, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Chicago.

Abstract: My doctoral research develops a deeper understanding of the promises of algorithmic interventions for the data economy inspired by algorithmic realism: an algorithmic framework cognizant of political, porous, and contextual aspects of the social world. I design, evaluate, and deploy algorithmic interventions aimed as anticipatory and mitigation measures against ethical issues of different domains of the data economy using three case studies. In each case study, the contingencies and fluidity of the data economy are accounted for and embraced in the designs. Specifically, through the development and evaluation of a human-centric labeling framework for machine learning, anticipatory models of privacy preferences for the smart home, and a technology probe on transparency of profiling in online behavioral advertising, I show how algorithmic interventions can promote ethical practices, balance conflicting forces, and promote user trust in the data economy. Findings illuminate a path of ethics, opportunities for increased user participation amidst power imbalances, and mutual benefits of such interventions in light of the prevailing forces of the data economy. However, findings also reveal a number of challenges such interventions may face, mainly around feasibility, countering economic forces, and mismatched or conflicting expectations between users and service providers of the data economy. I discuss such challenges and offer future research directions around feasibility, algorithmic authority, conflicting forces, mismatched expectations, and shared accountability in highly decentralized data economy systems.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Internship Spotlight: Tesla

MS/IM student Shivani Dhavala discusses her internship with Tesla. According to Dhavala, her iSchool coursework and internship experience is preparing her for a career as a product manager, where she can "contribute to some really fascinating products that people would use."

Shivani Dhavala

CCB to host events centered on Asian American history

In 2022, Illinois became the first state in the nation to mandate the teaching of Asian American community history in public elementary and secondary high schools. The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act ensures that every K-12 student in Illinois learns about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States. To mark the implementation of this act, the Center for Children's Books (CCB) is hosting a series of events for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Barberousse brings rich life lessons as doula, mother to her LIS studies

Imani Barberousse's interest in medical librarianship is a natural extension of her thirty years of experience as a doula and mother. She believes that collecting and disseminating birthing stories—especially those from women of color—can help inform and improve current medical techniques to reduce the current maternal and infant death rate in the United States. 

Imani Barberousse

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Inbar Michael

Thirteen iSchool master's students were named 2022-2023 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School’s scholars. MS/LIS student Inbar Michael earned her bachelor's degree in history with a minor in humanities and law from the University of California, Irvine.

Inbar Michael

NSF FABRIC project completes phase 1, enabling early testing of unprecedented large-scale network experiments

The NSF-funded FABRIC project has made steady progress establishing the groundbreaking network testbed infrastructure to reimagine the way large amounts of data are generated, stored, analyzed, and transmitted across the world. With the required hardware, software, storage, and fiber optic connections in place, the FABRIC system is available for early users to build and test novel large-scale experiments. 

Anita Nikolich