Multiple benefits to the society are foreseen as CyCAT addresses the issue of algorithmic transparency in social and cultural settings.
Algorithms and Big Data Analytics play a key role in the development of interactive media and smart technologies, which are in turn impacting all sectors of society, from communication to transportation, education and healthcare. Algorithms allow the exploitation of rich and varied data sources; however, there are increasing concerns surrounding their transparency and accountability.
The overall objectives of the CyCAT project are, inter alia , to undertake interdisciplinary research related to algorithmic bias in information access systems , promote digital literacy, demonstrate social implications of algorithmic processes in the context of Cyprus, contribute towards a “ Responsible Research and Innovation ” (RRI) culture and provide teacher training on CyCAT’s developed tools.
The Center is established through an H2020 Widespread project, “Twinning” the CyCAT team at OUC, with partners in Europe and Israel. The OUC team includes Assistant Professor Jahna Otterbacher (coordinator), Professor Michalinos Zembylas and Assistant Professor Loizos Michael.
Jahna Otterbacher - CyCAT Coordinator (Ph.D., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor), is an Assistant Professor in the School of Pure and Applied Sciences and the Academic Coordinator for the MSc in Social Information Systems at the Open University of Cyprus. Otterbacher’s research focuses on understanding people’s information needs through analysing their behavioural traces in systems, as well as on the way that information systems represent the social world, as well as their resulting impact. She has a growing track record in top-tier international conference and journal publications for her work on the reproduction of social stereotypes in algorithmic systems such as search engines.
Loizos Michael - CyCAT Core Team Member (Ph.D., Harvard University) is an Assistant Professor at Open University of Cyprus, where he founded and directs the Computational Cognition Lab. His research focuses on the principled study of cognitive processes associated with individual or collective intelligence — such as learning, reasoning, sensing, communication, cooperation — and how those are used by humans and other organisms in everyday life. Emphasis is placed on the development of computational models for various aspects of cognitive processes, and the analysis of the formal implications that such models have.
Michalinos Zembylas - CyCAT Core Team Member (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Academic Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Educational Studies, will coordinate the educational work package of the project as well as dissemination activities related to raising educators’ and students’ awareness of the social and political consequences of algorithmic biases. His research explores how affective politics intersect with issues of social justice pedagogies, intercultural and peace education, and citizenship education. Zembylas has published 7 books, as well as more than 70 book chapters and 190 articles in international peer-reviewed journals. He has been honoured with important awards, such as the CIES Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award and the 2016 Cyprus Distinguished Researcher award, and has coordinated or participated in more than 20 research projects.
CyCAT’s advanced partners hold key expertise in algorithmic processes in information access (IA) systems and user interactions, particularly the way systems exploit users’ behaviors to enhance or tailor system performance. The aforementioned generates social and cultural implications and thus imposes enormous challenges upon authorities in assuring access to public information.
Open University of Cyprus (OUC) as the lead partner of the project will host an Opening Press Conference, on October 9th at 9:30 a.m. at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation in Old Nicosia City . The Rector of the OUC, Professor Socrates Katsikas, will address the event and CyCAT’s advanced partners, The University of Sheffield , the University of Haifa , the University of Trento (Università degli Studi di Trento), The University of Edinburgh and affiliates will be present and share their expertise and insight with the public.
The event will be held in English and Greek and is open to the public.
Live streaming of the event at:
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