1st HCC Hackathon

A weekend of coding for good

Bored of COVID-19? We were, too. Because of this, a bunch of DPhil students from our research group met online on the weekend of 24/25 April 2021 for the first ever “HCC Hackathon”. We aimed to create a software artifact together, and have fun whilst doing so. We ended up pursuing four, related projects over this weekend.

YouTube survey: Reviewing, adapting and extending on similar surveys, we created a draft for a survey to gauge how well YouTube’s recommendation algorithm seems to reflect users’ interests and primary (long-term) goals for using YouTube, as well as the steps they take (if any) to improve their recommendations.

YouTube watch history: Our aim with this project was to offer users the ability to more intuitively control their YouTube recommendations so as to align with/reinforce their long-term goals/interests (and not reinforce their short-term desires). This takes the form of an extension that serves as a “privacy mode” toggle, which allows users to stay logged in but decide when they want to see more of the same content they watch and when they don’t.

YouTube watch history analysis: As part of the goal of enabling users with more choices over their YouTube recommendations, we would like to offer the users the ability to analyse and visualise their own watching histories (maybe integrate this functionality into our recommender as well).

Harms data collection tool: Online harms are widespread, so we built a tool that allows users to report harms that they come across to us, via a browser extension.

Oxford University Awarded COVID-19 Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund to HCC Researcher

Dr Jun Zhao was awarded 5K from Oxford University's COVID-19 Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund

by: Jun Zhao

17 Dec 2020

Oxford University launched a COVID-19 Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund to support university academics whose research has been disrupted during the pandemic.

Dr Jun Zhao, who leads the KOALA project, received £5000 from the university to support her research development related to children’s data privacy protection.

Initially funded by an EPSRC IAA grant, the KOALA project investigates the impact of personal data collection practices of mobile apps upon the general well-being of young children aged 6-10, by working closely with children, and their parents and educators. The rebuilding fund will enable Dr Zhao to strengthen the current digital prototype KOALA Hero and prepare future user studies and public engagement activities.

by: Jun Zhao

10 Dec 2020

Several HCC DPhil students have successfully passed their transfer or confirmation with flying colours this Michaelmas term. These are important milestones towards the completion of their DPhils. The students include:

For those of you who are less familiar with DPhil education in Oxford, please refer to further details about these significant milestones on the university web page.

Many congratulations to them all! Look forward to another exciting year ahead!

RTI Student Network

Join our international organisation for graduate students committed to making future technologies more responsible

by: Lize Alberts

09 Dec 2020

The Responsible Technology Institute (RTI) has started a new initiative to connect graduate students from all disciplines and nations interested in topics related to responsible research and innovation. We will also hold monthly reading groups and facilitate work-in-progress seminars for research students.

By joining the RTI Student Network, you will:

  • connect with other students who share your interest in responsible innovation
  • deepen/broaden your knowledge in related topics through discussions and presentations
  • receive supportive feedback from fellow students on on-going research projects
  • have the opportunity to shape an emerging global network

If you would like to become a member, please reach out to Tyler Reinmund (tyler.reinmund.20@ucl.ac.uk) and Lize Alberts (lize.alberts@cs.ox.ac.uk) and include your name, university, year of study (e.g. Master’s, PhD), and research interest(s).

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!

ReEnTrust and APGDA Webinar on Algorithms and Trust

A policy webinar on algorithms and trust

by: Jun Zhao

02 Dec 2020

A webinar was hosted jointly by the ReEnTrust project and APGDA on 2 December, 2020, to discuss algorithms and trust.

The event was chaired by APGDA Chair, Daniel Zeicher MP, and included contributions from a number of senior researchers from the ReEnTrust/HCC following the publication of their recent policy paper.

The one-hour event was well-attended by MPs and academics. The impact of trust on the development of future regulatory framework was particularly discussed after the presentation by the HCC researchers. The public attitudes towards the government use of data was considerably less pronounced than perceptions pertaining to private sector data. In particular, participants mentioned the importance of the NHS in terms of conveying trust to the general public around AI and medical data, in addition to the challenges associated with this if this group of professionals also don’t understand the principles themselves.

HCC researchers, Dr Jun Zhao and Dr Philip Inglesant, will follow the briefing event with a fuller policy report launch early next year, and further virtual roundtable events jointly with the APGDA. Please look out this space!

Dr Lyngs has been awarded a Carlsberg Foundation Oxford Visiting Fellowship

Under his 2-year Oxford Visiting fellowship, Dr Lyngs will continue his research on digital self-control with Nigel Shadbolt and the HCC team.

by: Jun Zhao

02 Dec 2020

We are very excited that our HCC member Dr Ulrik Lyngs has received a Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Dr Lyngs completed his DPhil study with HCC last year. His research focuses on design patterns that support self-control during use of smartphones and laptops.

The fellowship will bring Dr Lyngs back to Oxford in February 2021 to continue his research, in an ambitious collaboration between HCC and the University of Oxford Counselling Service, as well as external collaborators at Human Centered Design & Engineering, UW, and the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Computer Science and Center for Social Data Science.

by: Jun Zhao

02 Oct 2020

HCC is delighted to welcome Prof. Reuben Binns, who has commenced his post as Associate Professor of Human Centred Computing on 1 October.

Reuben Binns is an Associate Professor of Human Centred Computing, working between computer science, law, and philosophy, focusing on data protection, machine learning, and the regulation of and by technology. Between 2018-2020, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in AI at the Information Commissioner’s Office, addressing AI / ML and data protection. He joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher in 2015. He received his Ph.D. in Web Science from The University of Southampton in 2015.

HCC welcome 4 new DPhil students

HCC welcome 4 new DPhil students

by: Jun Zhao

02 Oct 2020

We are very excited to welcome three new DPhil students to join us in Michaelmas 2020. They are:

Just like the rest of HCC members, these new students all come from different backgrounds and pursue different ways to make a better digital society. We can’t wait to see where their research will lead to!

Welcome to Oxford!

Human Centred Computing & Safety Reading Group

Join our new reading group on safety, security, and privacy in HCC.

by: Martin J. Kraemer

30 Sep 2020

A weekly reading group on human centred computing with a focus on safety, security, and privacy. The group will include close readings of academic papers and presentations of works in progress, particularly those applying interdisciplinary approaches to socio-technical subjects. Therefore topics will include both ‘technical’ areas like machine learning and qualitative or ‘social’ subjects like the home as a research area.

The group will meet on Fridays at 2pm BST via Teams–all are welcome to join. Please email julia.slupska@cybersecurity.ox.ac.uk to be added to our Teams channel.

HCC received the funding from Oxford Martin School

HCC received the funding from Oxford Martin School

by: Jun Zhao

02 Sep 2020

Oxford Martin School awarded a multi-million research grant to HCC academics, led by Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Prof Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Prof. Max Van Kleek, Prof. Reuben Binns and Dr. Jun Zhao to build the new generation world wide web and promote human autonomy and self-determination in the digital societies.

Thirty years ago, the World Wide Web launched as an open, common, universal infrastructure that anyone with a computer and a modem could use to communicate, publish and access information. In recent years, however, it has radically diverged from the values upon which it was founded, and it is now dominated by a number of platform companies, whose business models and services generate huge profits.