iadis eSociety Conference #2

Some more minutes from Avila (Day 2 + 3) plus impresssions from the conference trip.

e-society and Digital Divide

On the predictability of the U.S. elections through search volume activity (Catherine Lui, Panagiotis T. Metaxas, Eni Mustafaraj)

Google trends gives hints: The interest of people might describe popularity. Queries all over the world, but also from different different countries can be considered. The interest in Google trends predictions started when they were associated with flue symptoms. People will start queries about sore noses, high fever etc. 🙂 The advantage of looking at internet searches is that we can predict epidemics sooner.We cannot predict the future 🙂 but Google trends may help with predicting the present 🙂 But can social media predict “the future”? Text sentiment can be linked to public opinion. Some researchers claimed that you could predict the result of the German elections to 1.5 %. Are we really having such a powerful tool? The study looked at the competitors of the next US elections and combined different data (eg. New York times and Google trends). A tool showing data for every candidate was provided. The prediction (all races) was uneven to Google trends. However, this is not too fair for G. trends as not everyone has a presence there. But how can you look at a paper and tell whether you were just lucky or read too much into your paper? Is there a correlation between the quantity of Google searches and votes? Obviously not. It was rather a predictor of election defeat. 🙂 The conclusion: high visibility on G. trends may even be bad news. Also, Twitter-bombs are often about pushing bad information.

Posing the problems of “e”-participation in everyday life (Katharina Giritli Nygren and Katarina Lindblad Gidlund)

There are several new fields of practice and research with the prefix -e. But e often stands without questioning. But it cannot serve as a caterory itself, so what does it do itself? What’s the difference between government and e-government? It is seldom problematized, you talk about new things, but not how they come about. A new reserach project focuses on eParticipation in everyday life. The starting point is analysing the e (e.g. with view to the epistemology of technology, how it strengthens or counteracts the established practices as well as it’s role in the practices of everyday life (de Certeau)).
Methodologies are used that situate the e in temporal and spatial settings (e.g. choreography). This raises questions such as: How do people relate to participation (and to the internet)? How do people position themselves in relation to different e-ified activities? How does e intersect with different aspects of identities such as gender, class, race, sexuality, age, education, (dis)ability? Are there alternative narratives of participation? How do we, e.g., create gender online?

Mobile telephony among the elders: first results of a qualitative approach (Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol)

This is an ongoing research on the personal system of communication channels (PSCC). The older age groups (according to the Spanish National Statistics Institute) are 55-64 and 65-74 (older people don’t appear in statistics :)). Young seniors are faster adopters than older seniors when it comes to mobile telephony. The concept of PSCC includes face to face communication and referes to a personal set of communication methods. The research question is: Among the elder population, which is the place that mobile phone occupies in the PSCC? Complementary questions: How do they use mobile telephony, when and why do they reject the technology, with whom do they communicate and how is it integrated in everyday life? The study will follow an empirical approach focusing on the Barcelona metropolitan area, semi-structured interviews and direct observation. There are four selection areas: age, sex, instruction level and housing. So far a combined use of mobile and fixed phones (cost awareness and usability) is visible. There is a common use of flashing (or “missing calls”) among younger seniors. Elder seniors tended to be assisted users. Housing is a key point of the PSCC. Reluctance can turn into acceptance if needs are met, and mobile phones need to be useful, social and enjoyable to be adopted (this confirms previous research). Voice calls is the most important service (low acceptance of SMS?). (Ling 2008, Lenhart 2010, Kurniwan et al. 2006).

Broadband in Brazil (Rogerio Santanna, Sergio Assis Rodrigues, Jano Moreira de Souza)

Broadband access can become a transforming technology that can narrorw the gap between the rich and poor. Brazilian companies overlooked the possibilities and focused on capital cities and urban centers. Therefore, Brazilian government decided to make this technology available to most of the population. The paper describes the scenario faced by the Government, problems and barriers and the initiatives. Since 2001, broadband connection grew 5.400 %. However, adoption in Brazil is still centralized: three companies have 86% of the market, resulting in expensive prices. Providers haven’t worried about the broadband shortage until the middle of 2010. Costs to provide such services are low, but Brazilian low medium class (more than 50 %) of the population, were totally excluded from the offers. Prices keep high and the speed offered is below the expected threshhold and actions are condensed to bigger cities. Several government initiatives seek to promote digital inclusion, such as “Computers for all” (subsides to poor people), “broadband in public schools” (free connections to 86% of students), “monitors capacitance” (work education) and “e-government” (offers internet connections to communities with low Human Development index, around 6.000 connection points via satellite). The Brazil Broadband Plan includes two milestones (2011: 72% of population and 2014: 90%). Fortunately, Brazil has a fiber optic infrastructure that plays a central role and the Brazilian state behaves as a neutral backbone.


Promoting awareness and participation in large class lectures: the digital backchannel Backstage (Francois Bry, Verea Gehlen-Baum, Alexander Pohl)

As Twitter is not a good back channel in large lectures, this project is about the development of a backchannel based on Microblogging. Hashtags are, according to the presenter, not reasonable for lectures. What is needed is some sort of rating and evaluation (provision of metadata) provided by peers of students to filter messages according to high quality and relevance. There are three modes of communication in Backstage: private, public and anonymous. The post is displayed to the lecturer based on a social decision (ranking). The concepts uses live surveys to keep the attention of the students (“quizzes”). What is to be added is a visualisation of feedback data and an aggregation of posts (selection of the top 5 messages).

Multimedia Applications

A cross-cultural music museum system with impression-based analyzing functions (Nhung Nguyen Trang, Shiori Sasaki, Yasushi Kiyoki)

The main idea of this cross-cultural music project is to create a new culture-dependent music-impression layer. The analysis of musical elements is based on the correlation of musical elements’ values with impressions. From what I understood :), the aim of the project is to understand different cultures according to their impression of different music. In a community-based database creation process, individuals can understand new cultures. Users are rating music, whilst the stystem is producing a respective matrix. They can also see the ratings of other users and their nationalities in the cross-cultural music theatre. In an experiment setting, three different musical cultures were compared.

5D world picmap: imagination-based image search system with spatiotemporal analyzers (Diep Nguyen-Thi-Ngoc, Shiori Sasaki, Yasushi Kiyoki)

(Wow! 5D! Spatiotemporal!)

Stories exist among historical/cultural events. Imagination is a context creation using user’s intention. This system is an imagination-based image search system; a new computation environment for discovering knowledge from image data by using the spatiotemporal information. As database, pictures of FlickR were used. There are two major approaches for image retrieval: a) text-based (Google Images Search), b) content-based (PicToSeek, TinEye, GazoPa…). A single image is not enough to represent a user’s complex context. When users do not have a “good” input image, they can use a drawing tool, but as this is not enough, a different approach is taken: Users select multiple images, which include desired/undesired features (colours) in each image. Example: when the imagination is “yellow flower and blue sky”, a combined query histogramm is produced. A second feature includes geographical information. The user is shown the matching pictures on the map and can also filter pictures by time (image meta data). Problems identified: Users imagine real images, but images can also be of a different tpye. In the evaluation, they also requested more image features, e.g. shape or structure.

New media and e-society

Visualising the cyberbully analysing teenagers’ expressive drawings (Susan Jones, Lynne Hall, Sue Kerridge, Sarah Woods, Marc Hall)

The european project deals with bullying in school and cyberbullying. With the prevalence of online activity there has been a significant change in the form that bullying can take place and it’s medium of delivery. The aim of eCircus was to raise awareness of cyberbullying and to use child-centred methods. The drawing approach has been used for researchers for some time. Project was carried out during “Cyberbullying Day” and took place in a large secondary school in the north of England (11-18 year olds, 4 workshops with 200 children at each). Children were asked to produce a storyboard on A3 paper. In the pictures, there were all kinds of evidence for the role of technology in children’s life, the technology being drawn in a reasonable detail. Technologies displayed bullying language on screen, often “I h8 u”. Victims were drawn very obese, very small, wore glasses and were saying things that portrayed them powerless and submissive. Often it was depicted how the life looked like after the bullying.

Internet and traditional information sources – a survey of usage by polish and turkish students (Przemyslaw Polak)

Generally, Wikipedia is a reliable source of information, but the problem is no reflection on the source of information. The most frequently used source of encyclopedic information is Wikipedia, however there is a large difference between polish and turkish students (57% vs. 78,3%). Turkish students used many traditional, digital editions because this was provided by the university. About 0% do not use Wikipedia at all. 🙂 There are differences in the level of study – the higher, the more they used Wikipedia (maybe due to a higher proficiency in English). The study also examined the sources of information on current events. There are not too many cultural differences exept the usage of articles in internet portals which is very popular in Poland. Another significant difference appeared in informal online sources: 27,9% turkish and 3,7% polish students (I’d find it interesting to look at the dominance of global social networks and demographic data to explain this). In book reading, printed books are still dominant; there is also a strong cultural difference that can be described by university libraries’ offers. Concluding, the internet is a primary source of information for the majority of students, but there is still a place for traditional media (e.g. the dominance of printed books). The accessibility of particular types of information sources is an important factor influencing their popularity (e.g. language versions of Wikipedia, the size of the local e-book market…).

Experimental evaluation of tools and concepts for location-aware journalism (Solveig Björnestad, Lars Nyre, Björnar Tessem)

“Locanews” looks at news presented to the user based on closeness in physical distance. Journalists create stories under these constraints (every story being geo-located and fitting the smartphone format). There are three versions of each story: here (<100m), the village (100-500m away from the story) or the whole municipality. A qualitative analysis investigated the comments about the tool and content and user’s adoption. Some didn’t find the news too relevant because they’ve heard of it before, but still found the tool funny and interesting as it confirmed information. Others would have found it more interesting if they would have been from the place. Generally, users were more interested in facts than news. They understood the idea about three different versions of news but most of them didn’t see it’s value. There was no significant variation with respect to variables like age, gender or experience with technology. Further work could include augmented reality, user preferences or properties of location.

C3DA. Customizing 3D avatars (Jose M. Castillo, Armando Benito, Juan R. Fernandez, Concepcion Cortes)

Two case studies were presented: The Alzherapy projects is about systems and tools to minimize the Alzheimer’s disease (aiming at improving the lives of the Alzheimers). Customized 3D avatars are used to simulate the face and voice of the patient career.

Integral solution for web conferencing event management (Enrique Barra Arias, Antonio M. Hernandez, Antonio T. del Dujo, David Prieto)


Information communication technologies: (dis-)connecting societies (Chipo Kanjo)

In this presentation, the transformations of society through ICT were summarized; opportunities and threats contrasted. We are connecting, but we are also more and more disconnecting (where there is a lack of ICT). The discussion revolved around the evil tendencies to bully other people :), personal ICT habits and the moral arguments for or against technologies.

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