Weekly reads 2021-08-16

HCI

STS

Anthropocene

News

Dev documentation

Listened to

Added to the reading list

Books, one day …

Weekly reads 2021-02-22

Sovereignty

HCI & AI

Talks

Weekly reads 2021-02-15

Design & Anthropocène

HCI & AI

Talks

Added to the reading list

Books, one day …

  • Environnement et idéologie – Vers une écologie critique (1972) de Tomás Maldonado
  • From Counterculture to Cyberculture : Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, (2006) by Fred Turner. University Of Chicago Press.
  • Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (2000) par Thierry Bardini
  • Anthropologie du projet (2015) par Jean-Pierre Boutinet. PUF.
  • The Stack| On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton. MIT Press

Weekly reads 2021-02-08

Anthropocene

HCI & AI

Political economy

Covid

Weekly reads 2021-01-11

Conspiracy

STS

HCI at large

Anthropocene

the nature of natural climate solutions is far from self-evident, and that the boundaries of this category arise from a particular and contestable conceptualization of what constitutes external, non-human nature

 Selected climate solutions subject to a conflated natural–unnatural binary

As counterbalance :

Bio-sensing for the win :

Covid

BACKGROUND: In an effort to mitigate the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), North Carolina (NC) closed its K–12 public schools to in-person instruction on 03/14/2020. On 07/15/2020, NC’s governor announced schools could open via remote learning or a “hybrid” model that combined in-person and remote instruction. In August 2020, 56 of 115 NC school districts joined the ABC Science Collaborative (ABCs) to implement public health measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission and share lessons learned. We describe secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within participating NC school districts during the first 9 weeks of in-person instruction in the 2020–2021 academic school year.

METHODS: From 08/15/2020–10/23/2020, 11 of 56 school districts participating in ABCs were open for in-person instruction for all 9 weeks of the first quarter and agreed to track incidence and secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Local health department staff adjudicated secondary transmission. Superintendents met weekly with ABCs faculty to share lessons learned and develop prevention methods.

RESULTS: Over 9 weeks, 11 participating school districts had more than 90,000 students and staff attend school in-person; of these, there were 773 community-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections documented by molecular testing. Through contact tracing, NC health department staff determined an additional 32 infections were acquired within schools. No instances of child-to-adult transmission of SARS-CoV-2 were reported within schools.

CONCLUSIONS: In the first 9 weeks of in-person instruction in NC schools, we found extremely limited within-school secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2, as determined by contact tracing.

Syllabi

We are living in the midst of a digital transformation of society. The industrial revolution happened, and it’s over. Yet, design practice is stuck in the past and struggles to reconcile human values and algorithmic logics into socially, economically and politically sustainable models. We lack the knowledge, skills and roles within companies or organisations to design for interaction with autonomous technologies in ways actually beneficial to humankind, and thus to responsibly anticipate and steer this transformation. Imagining and manifesting alternative futures has to be a proactive effort. It’s time to rethink design and create new pathways to the future. DCODE aims to break new ground by positioning agency as foundational to the design of digital futures as was once the notion of function to industrial design.

Skimmed

Conspiracy / nationalism / extreme right

Listened to

Not read

Peer-reviewed articles

STS

Books

Listen list

Weekly reads 2021-01-04

Contre l’imposture et le pseudo-rationalisme – Renouer avec l’éthique de la disputatio et le savoir comme horizon commun Bruno Andreotti, Camille Noûs Dans Zilsel 2020/2 (N° 7).

… il s’agit de remettre le pouvoir de décision dans les mains de leaders et d’experts, seuls à même de réadapter les individus à cet environnement. Pour ce faire, les experts doivent se soustraire au contrôle démocratique tout en cherchant à obtenir le consentement des populations par une apparence de scientificité. La figure de l’expert, caractéristique de la confusion entre sphères savante et politique, véhicule ainsi un modèle hétéronome de la société reposant sur l’intériorisation d’une séparation entre décideurs et citoyens passifs, repliés sur leur sphère privée. Cette organisation pseudo-rationnelle assurant la domination de la société par un petit nombre, et rendant impossible le renouvellement des normes et des institutions sociales, a été théorisée par Cornelius Castoriadis et Claude Lefort et par Max Weber avant eux, comme étant l’essence de la bureaucratie.

L’incapacité de la technocratie des experts à répondre à cette triple crise alimente la défiance vis-à-vis de tous les corps intermédiaires qui menace d’emporter le monde savant, dont il usurpe l’apparence, dans sa chute. Il appartient au monde savant de se démarquer de toute prétention à parer des idées politiques d’un vernis scientifique et, surtout, de réaffirmer l’idéal régulateur d’une science autonome et intègre et d’une responsabilité des chercheurs devant la société. Il appartient à toute la société de repenser l’articulation des sphères politique, productive, technique et scientifique.

To connect to the recent free-speech – deplatforming controversies. Its most recent instance in Computer Science being the “Free speech” letter of P. Domingo. Here a very patient Rebuttal to Pedro Domingos’ Rebuttal to my Remarks Opposed to Signing the Open Letter on Academic “Free Speech” by David Karger.

See also Citoyen hackeur – Enjeux politiques des civic tech, par Clément Mabi, La vie des idées.

Visualization

AI

Anthropocene

Syllabi

Did not manage to go through

Peer-reviewed articles

Books

Websites

Weekly reads 2020-12-28

Books

Finally managed to read the Liu Cixin’s The three body problem and The dark forest. This led me to read further on the cultural revolution and the history of modern China. It reads well, but still classical masculine SF. I enjoyed much more Embassytown from China Mieville that I read this summer or the Broken Earth Trilogy from N. K. Jemisin.

Started reading Brutalisme from Achille Mbembe in parallel.

Tech

Software development

Design

AI

Anthropocene

Watch list

Listen list

Skimmed

Peer-reviewed articles

Not read

Peer-reviewed articles

Books

Weekly reads 2020-12-21

Let’s see how long it lasts, trying to revive this blog with a log of my weekly reads.

David Graeber will be direly missed. So I’ll start with a late essay from the upcoming book with David Wengrow : Hiding in Plain Sight : Democracy’s indigenous origins in the Americas by David Graeber and David Wengrow, in Lapham’s Quarterly 2020.

In the same spirit, in French, a critique of the grand narratives of human history, development and inequalities, that Graeber was joyously destroying. Inactualités de la révolution néolithique: Rousseau, l’Anthropocène et les nouveaux riches de la préhistoire de Rémi Hadad, L’Homme, 234-235(2-3), 2020, pp. 291-318.

Yet another paper on the chinese social credit(s) : Rethinking China’s Social Credit System: A Long Road to Establishing Trust in Chinese Society. Journal of Contemporary China.

China’s plan to establish a social credit system (SCS) has aroused the concern of building a surveillance state. Yet this view oversimplifies and misunderstands the essence of the SCS. The highest priorities of the SCS are promoting economic credibility and reinforcing court orders. Meanwhile, the SCS aims to steer citizens’ social behaviors and interactions by utilizing a redlist system that introduces numerous moderate rewards. The SCS is also more lax in execution than in planning. It reflects a unique Chinese understanding of law, which treats law as a moral guide. This article also acknowledges the concerns for the SCS. Without actively preventing positive and negative invasions in the construction of the project, the SCS authorities will risk creating further mistrust in society.

As I watched Alain Supiot mini lecture on La Gouvernance par les nombres at Collège de France. His mention in passing of the shift of “morale” to “éthique” got me curious of and I went to look at socio/historical/anthropological accounts of it. And landed on La question morale en anthropologie de Didier Fassin, éd., La question morale. Presses Universitaires de France, 2013, pp. 1-20.

Au cours des dernières décennies, la morale et l’éthique ont été invoquées de manière croissante dans les domaines les plus divers et parfois les plus inattendus. Des hommes politiques, on attend désormais qu’ils aient des comportements moraux dans leur vie privée comme dans leur vie publique, l’une comme l’autre faisant l’objet d’une inquisition à laquelle ils n’étaient guère accoutumés. Aux tyrans et aux tortionnaires, on demande des comptes dans le cadre du déploiement de tribunaux internationaux qui sont amenés à juger des crimes contre l’humanité et des crimes de guerre. Après la chute des dictatures, des commissions sont mises en place au nom de la vérité et de la réconciliation, qu’on a substituées aux habitudes antérieures de silence ou de vengeance. La finance ne trouve plus sa seule justification officielle dans l’essor du capitalisme et l’enrichissement des spéculateurs ; les épargnants et les actionnaires préfèrent investir dans des fonds éthiques se réclamant de la solidarité ou de l’écologie. Les guerres ne traduisent plus simplement un rapport de forces entre des nations défendant des intérêts ; lorsqu’elles sont menées par des puissances occidentales, elles sont souvent déclarées humanitaires. Les personnes affectées par des aléas naturels, des violences, des discriminations ne sont plus abandonnées à leur sort ou aux systèmes d’entraide locaux ; elles acquièrent par leur souffrance reconnue le statut de victime légitime. Les abus sexuels commis par des proches, des prêtres ou des entraîneurs sportifs ne sont plus soumis à la loi du secret qui a longtemps prévalu dans les familles, les Églises et les clubs ; ils sont débattus sur la place publique et sanctionnés par l’institution judiciaire…

Anyhow Alain Supiot’s lectures are really neat, tying law, economics, anthropology in a really coherent maner.

Being an Associate Chair

As I am helping Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference as an Associate Chair this year, I figured it would be good to summarize a bit the general process and how I go about it. Comments welcome, they are open!

If you land here before having read Ken Hinckley’s “So you’re a Program Commitee Member Now”. You should definitely read it first. This post is more of a personal account.

In the following I’ll likely use AC and PC member interchangeably. AC stands for Associate Chair and PC for Program committee, as ISS shifts to a journal model it’s even called an Editorial Board this year, hence the initials AE (associate editor I guess) you might also see below. While I’m spelling out acronyms, PCS is the submission and reviewing system we use.

The invitation

I was invited by the chairs at the beginning of April. Nic and Fanny gave a super clear overview of the conference reviewing timeline and the workload. It’s the second time I’m doing it for ISS, a conference I really enjoy attending and submitting to.

I guess the first decision happens at this stage. Whether or not you accept the invitation. The review process happens during French holidays which is not great. But given my teaching load during the fall, I would probably say no to most invitations during the period from September to February.

Here is the reviewing timeline we followed:

  • Jul 8: Authors’ deadline
  • Before July 8: PC members upload a collection of sample papers on PCS.
  • July 9-10: PC members declare conflicts and bid on submissions (see instructions below)
  • July 10-13: Chairs assign papers
  • Jul 14: PC members start assigning external reviewers (1AE: 1 reviewer, 2AE: 1 reviewer)
  • Jul 23: All papers should have 2 externals
  • Aug 6: External reviews due, 2AC personal review due
  • Aug 7: 1AE / 2AE start meta reviews, discussion starts; 3AE requests start
  • Aug 14: Discussion ends, 3AE reviews due
  • Aug 17: 1AC Meta-review due, 1AE/2AE/3AE tentative recommendation 
  • Aug 21: Notifications sent to authors
  • Aug 21-Sep 14: Authors revise papers
  • Sep 14-28: Second round of reviews
  • Sep 28: Individual reviews due
  • Sep 28: Discussion starts
  • Oct 3: Meta-reviews and 1AE/2AE final recommendation due 
  • Oct 5: Notifications sent to authors
  • Oct 9: Camera ready due

Workload for ISS

This year ISS is moving closer to a journal like submission process similar to Ubicomp and CSCW. Papers submitted can be accepted, asked for minor revisions, major revisions, or rejected. Papers with majors revisions have to be submitted to the next review cycle (right now, it’s quite close to a full reject).

I reviewed 3 papers and meta-reviewed 3. For each paper, I had to find one reviewer, the other AC on the paper finding the other, leading to 3 reviews + 1 meta-review.

Bidding on papers and managing conflicts

Before the paper deadline, we were supposed to upload some of our own papers. I don’t know if it was for the chairs or for PCS to compute some sort of research profiles/keywords (I’d be somewhat skeptical of this).

After the paper deadline we had two days to bid on papers and declare conflicts. In PCS, we could see a list of people with affiliations and declare whether or not we were in conflict with them.

The ACM has a policy on what constitutes a conflict: https://www.acm.org/special-interest-groups/volunteer-resources/acm-conflict-of-interest-policy. I have a slightly more expansive definition of conflict that includes personal ties. In the end it depends of our appreciation, the chairs sent us as well a list of common conflict cases:

  • employment at the same institution or company
  • candidate for employment at the same institution or company
  • received an honorarium or stipend from the institution or company within the last year
  • co-author on book or paper in the last 48 months
  • co-principal investigator on grant or research project
  • actively working on project together
  • family relationship
  • close personal relationship
  • graduate advisee/advisor relationship
  • deep personal animosity

Once you have declared conflicts you cannot get the papers from those people. You are ready to bid on papers. At this stage you can see a list of all the submissions in PCS, and can select one of the following option:

  • want: you really want to review this submission, and are qualified to do so
  • willing: you are qualified to review this submission, and are willing to do so, though not your top pick
  • blank (no option selected): will be considered as a soft willing.
  • reluctant: you are not qualified to review this submission.
  • conflict: automatically checked for you, after you declare all of your conflicts.

The chairs invited us to select ~10-15 papers as “want” and at least 10 papers as “willing”, so that they could pick from at least 20 papers for each of us. Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of the papers I selected as want or willing to compare them to my assigned papers.

Inviting reviewers

The summer made it maybe a bit harder to get reviewers, or a least to get rapid accept or decline answers.

I typically have an idea of who to invite from the title and abstract. Especially with the bidding phase filtering out papers, it is quite straightforward to think of a few people to invite for reviewing. I still scan the paper to get make sure I know the type of paper it is (system, study, design, theory oriented), and check the references to see if the authors are noticeably citing someone (or not citing people I thought would be relevant). This helps me decide in which order I’ll invite potential reviewers.

One paper turned out to be tricky, five people declining to review or not answering. I asked an old colleague now based in Asia if he had reviewer recommendations on the topic coming from this part of the world where I know less people, and then checked who would be most relevant for the paper. This worked quite well !

Writing reviews

After the invitations, I turned to my reviews on the 3 papers I was AC2. These are “normal” reviews. The only difference I see is that my recommendation for acceptance/revision/reject would necessarily trigger a discussion if it contradicted the recommendation of the primary AC.

Discussions and meta-reviews

After all the papers have their reviews in (I was personally late for some, sorry co-ACs). The discussion and meta-reviewing process starts. One possibility here is to ask for an extra person to review the paper. Given the tight schedule this was probably quite rare (I don’t know how many papers got extra reviews at this stage).

Here starts the synthesis of the reviews. As an AC, I sorted out and weighted the reviewers remarks. In the six papers I was involved in, the reviewers came to the similar conclusions, with different angles and attention to different aspects. But there wasn’t clear conflicts about the quality of a paper (or all the reviewers going in a direction opposite to mine). This made it particularly straightforward to write the meta-reviews, and made our discussions quite simple. For one paper I had a short video-call with the AC to discuss it, and emailed the chairs to discuss the final recommendation.

Finally, I also had to remind some reviewers to ensure that their reviews did not have vague claims about the literature, the supposed knowledge of the authors on topic, or the ability of the authors.

Final decisions

The paper chairs made the final decisions based on our recommendations, and sent them out within a few days. They exchanged with the ACs in case of problem, but not with me (only got an email later to wrapping things up).

The final step will be to check the papers accepted with minor revisions to check if the authors made them.

VIS 2016 – Pre-conference

This is the first time I’m attending VIS, the visualisation conference. We discussed with Romain of blogging on our  experience, here is a personal account, we might post a more structured summary in the near future.

I’ll start with the pre-conference activities. Then will publish a post per day.

The conference really starts on a Tuesday, with Sunday and Monday dedicated to workshops and tutorials. With Romain, Charles Perin, Jeremy Boy and Jean-Daniel Fekete, we are organizing the LIVVIL workshop on Sunday.

Day -2: Friday

We left Lyon on Friday morning. We finalized the workshop plan on the plane from Lyon to Amsterdam, handled last minute things, drafted the workshop introduction presentation.

Compared to other workshops I’ve organized in which only people who submitted papers participated, VIS workshops are open to anyone. As organizers we have no idea how many people will attend. This makes it super challenging to structure the workshop, especially the interactive parts. Discussing only between authors and organizers, is one thing, but involving people who might just drop by for a bit is particularly difficult. So we planned various activities depending on the number of attendees.

The flight was during the day so we also got work/personal stuff done, and worked on a template for blogging during the week.

At arrival I met with Pierre and Yannick who were flying from Paris, we took a cab together to Baltimore and had diner together.

Day -1: Saturday

We booked an awesome airbnb at the edge of Baltimore’s safe area (still less than 15 minutes of walking distance from the conference venue). So my first interaction with a Baltimorean was with a crazy person knocking on the door at 4 in the morning 🎉. To keep up with the spirit I checked some of the Wire places in the morning.

In the afternoon we wrapped-up the workshop organization with Romain, finished the slides. Defined discussion points, and outlined next steps. I was in charge of managing the first panel so I also re-read the papers, and outlined a set of questions, and sketched an introduction to the papers. We also registered, checked the workshop room, and looked for a place to host the post-workshop lunch so that we could have more informal discussions.