HCIL Distinguished Lecturer Series: "We Need to Talk: People and Data in Synchronous Connected Systems" by Ayman Shamma - Yahoo! Labs

Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:00 PM

Location: 2119 Hornbake Building, South Wing

The things we do together spawn conversations and leave traces; gathering with our friends and families to watch programs, concerts, and events, we share the experience through backchannel conversations, social asides and mutual displays of agreement and disagreement. Currently, trace data is all about sifting through cloud stores of data with little question as to why those traces exist. Analyses are based on data that are already collected; they are not about asking what should be collected to answer important social and motivational questions. I ask: What motivates people to do what they do? And how can we build predictive models of what people do based on their contextualized and emerging interests. I present investigations into uncovering and understanding these motivations through three areas of inquiry: genre classification, topic prediction, and event detection. This proposes changes in how we measure engagement, how we design system instrumentation, and how we design for data collection, aggregation and summarization. These changes have immediate implications on how we understand human behavior online and build new experiences, and they bring ramifications for the next generation of large data solutions.

David Ayman Shamma is research scientist at Yahoo! Labs where he heads the Human-Computer Interaction Research group and is the lead scientist at Flickr. He investigates how people interact, engage, and share media experiences both online and in-the-world. He is also the co-editor for Arts and Digital Culture for SIGMM. Additionally, he creates media art installations that have been exhibited and reviewed internationally. Shamma holds a B.S./M.S. from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition at The University of West Florida and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University. Before Yahoo!, he was an instructor at the Medill School of Journalism; he has also taught courses in Computer Science and Studio Art departments. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he was a visiting research scientist for the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames Research Center.