Talks and presentations

See a map of all the places I've given a talk!

The Humanity of Artificial Intelligence

November 01, 2017

Talk, Bay Area Science Festival, Albany, California

Today, “artificial intelligence” seems to be everywhere – in our phones, vacuums, hospitals, and inboxes – but it can be hard to separate science fiction from science fact. Many discussions about AI imagine a fully autonomous superintelligence that designs itself with little to no human intervention, making decisions in ways that humans cannot possibly understand. Yet the work of designing, developing, engineering, training, and testing such systems requires a massive amount of human labor, which is typically erased when such systems are released as products. In this talk, I give a human-centered, behind-the-scenes introduction to machine learning, illustrating the creative, interpretive, and often messy work humans do to make autonomous agents work. Understanding the humanity behind artificial intelligence is important if we want to think constructively about issues of bias, fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI.

“But it wouldn’t be an encyclopedia; it would be a wiki”: The changing imagined affordances of wikis, 1995-2002

October 19, 2017

Talk, 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers, Tartu, Estonia

This paper examines the early history of “anyone can edit” wiki software – originally developed in 1995, six years before Wikipedia’s origin. While today, the idea of a wiki is associated with large-scale, massively-distributed encyclopedic knowledge production, this was not always the case. Articles on pre-Wikipedia wikis were often closer to a Joycean stream of consciousness than Wikipedia’s Britannica-inspired texts that speak in single voice, and the underlying wiki platform lacked many of the affordances that are now taken for granted in wiki platforms. In fact, the creator of the first wiki advised Wikipedia’s co-founders that the goals of creating a general-purpose encyclopedia and a wiki were inherently contradictory.

Are the bots really fighting? Behind the scenes of a reproducible replication

October 10, 2017

Guest lecture, UC-Berkeley Department of Statistics: Reproducible and Collaborative Data Science, Berkeley, California

A guest lecture for Fernando Perez’s STAT 159/259 course on Reproducible and Collaborative Data Science, in which I discuss issues of open science and reproducibility around our recent paper Operationalizing conflict and cooperation between automated software agents in Wikipedia: A replication and expansion of ‘Even Good Bots Fight’

Jupyter and the Changing Rituals around Computation

August 25, 2017

Talk, JupyterCon, New York, New York

We (Stuart Geiger, Brittany Fiore-Gartland, and Charlotte Cabasse-Mazel) share ethnographic findings made observing and working with Jupyter notebooks, focusing on how people use Jupyter to create and deliver computational narratives in particular local contexts, like classrooms, hackathons, research collaborations, and more.

Demystifying Algorithmic Processes: The Case of Wikipedia

April 20, 2017

Panel, The 21st Annual BCLT/BTLJ Symposium, Berkeley, California

This talk is part of a panel session titled “Demystifying Algorithmic Processes: What is the role of algorithms in online platforms, what can they do and not do, and how should they be governed?”

“The Wisdom of Bots:” An ethnographic study of the delegation of governance work to information infrastructures in Wikipedia

September 02, 2016

Talk, Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Study of Science (4S), Barcelona, Spain

Wikipedians rely on software agents to govern the ‘anyone can edit’ encyclopedia project, in the absence of more formal and traditional organizational structures. Lessons from Wikipedia’s bots speak to debates about how algorithms are being delegated governance work in sites of cultural production.

Community Sustainability in Wikipedia: A Review of Research and Initiatives

August 13, 2016

Talk, PyData SF, San Francisco, CA

Wikipedia relies on one of the world’s largest open collaboration communities. Since 2001, the community has grown substantially and faced many challenges. This presentation reviews research and initiatives around community sustainability in Wikipedia that are relevant for many open source projects, including issues of newcomer retention, governance, automated moderation, and marginalized groups.

Governing Open Source Projects at Scale: Lessons from Wikipedia’s Growing Pains

July 16, 2016

Talk, SciPy, Austin, Texas

Many open source, volunteer-driven projects begin with a small, tight-knit group of collaborators, but then rapidly expand far faster than anyone expects or plans for. I discuss cases of governance growing pains in Wikipedia, which have many lessons for running open source software projects.

Scraping Wikipedia Data

February 17, 2016

Talk, The Hacker Within, BIDS, Berkeley, CA

A tutorial (with Jupyter notebooks) about how to use APIs to query structured data from Wikipedia articles and the Wikidata project.

Why bots are my favorite contribution to Wikipedia

January 16, 2016

Talk, Wikipedia 15th Anniversary Birthday Bash, San Francisco, CA

A short talk to open up an event celebrating the 15th anniversary of Wikipedia. The prompt we were given was "Why [x] is my favorite contribution to Wikipedia."

The Bot Multiple: Unpacking the Materialities of Automated Software Agents

November 12, 2015

Talk, Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Study of Science (4S), Denver, CO

I examine the roles that automated software agents (or bots) play in the governance and moderation of Wikipedia, Twitter, and reddit – three online platforms that differently uphold a related set of commitments to ‘open’ and ‘public’ online participation.

Peer Production and Wikipedia

April 09, 2015

Guest lecture, Social Aspects of Information Systems course, Berkeley, CA

An overview of Wikipedia and other peer production platforms, discussing issues that link up to the theories discussed in the Social Aspects of Information Systems class.

Moderating Online Conversation Spaces

April 07, 2015

Guest lecture, Social Aspects of Information Systems course, Berkeley, CA

An overview of how various online platforms moderate content, discussing issues that link up to the theories discussed in the Social Aspects of Information Systems class.

Governing the Commons

April 10, 2014

Guest lecture, History of Information, Berkeley, CA

A lecture on the history of Wikipedia, in the broader context of the history of reference works.

Robotic Ethics and Opportunities

April 04, 2014

Panelist, Robots and New Media, Berkeley, CA

A panel discussing the ethical and political issues that are raised with autonomous robots and software bots.

Size Matters: How Big Data Changes Everything

November 25, 2013

Talk, Bangkok Scientifique, Bangkok, Thailand

A talk introducing various concepts around large-scale data analysis to a general audience, including spam detection and governmental survellance.

Actor-Network Theory

February 07, 2013

Guest lecture, Social Aspects of Information Systems course, Berkeley, CA

An introduction to Actor Network Theory for students in the Masters of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) course

Trace Ethnography: Following Coordination through Documentary Practices

January 03, 2011

Conference proceedings talk, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Lihue, Hawaii

We detail the methodology of ‘trace ethnography’, which combines the richness of participant-observation with the wealth of data in logs so as to reconstruct patterns and practices of users in distributed sociotechnical systems

The Social Roles of Bots and Assisted Editing Tools

October 27, 2009

Conference proceedings talk, International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration, Orlando, Florida

A short paper showing the recent explosive growth of automated editors (or bots) in Wikipedia, which have taken on many new tasks in administrative spaces.