natematias's blog

Cultivating Habits for Social Good With Your Peers: TearFund's New Rhythms App

Can small challenges and peer support help young people grow habits to become socially responsible people? That's the premise of Rhythms, a fascinating web and mobile app launched this May by TearFund, the UK Christian relief and development agency.


Nathan's avatar checks his privilege on Rhythms

The Changing Landscape of Digital Surveillance

Governments are putting in massive work to crack communications. Many companies are working hard to create surveillance tools used by our governments and many others. Many service providers are vulnerable to these issues. What fixes can we make as designers of technology? Morgan Marquis-Boire joined us for lunch at the Center for Civic Media to share some ideas (this post was written with Willow Brugh).

 

Six Emerging Forms of Digital Cooperation

At the Berkman Center here in Boston, Brian Keegan and I co-facilitate a working group on cooperation research (email list here) that meets to discuss recent papers, offer feedback on technology design, and share a broad conversation among reearchers, designers, activists, and mediamakers.

Today, I shared six cooperative technologies that I learned about at the Mozilla Festival in London:

Mozilla Lightbeam

Data Science VM: Set Up Your Server in Four Steps

Data Science VM is a script that automatically launches and configures a data science system on your computer or in the cloud in a half hour or less, across Linux, Windows, and OSX.

In my experience, any new machine for a serious project takes 3-5 days to set up. During my first semester at MIT, I spent weeks installing MediaCloud (it's easier now, I hear). I lost around 3 days each when my laptop was stolen in March of 2012, when my MacBook Pro died just before my thesis deadline, and when I started a summer internship at Microsoft. Setup time is also a major problem during hack days; I've attended too many events where the event ends just as the participants finish setting up their machines.

What It Includes

Society, Politics and the Algorithm: Social Science in the Lab

Kate Crawford introduces this session by reminding us that Technology is social and cultural. Microsoft's Social Media Collective looks at how social networks and social practices interrelate.

We're here at the Microsoft Research New England 5th anniversary symposium, where a fascinating collection of scholars are discussing computer science, big data, politics, society, and machine learning. This post was collaboratively created using NewsPad. I also wrote a post on a session from this morning: Progress and New Challenges in Machine Learning/Big Data

Progress and Challenges in Machine Vision, Computational Social Science, Polling, Machine Learning

Today, I'm live-blogging the 5th anniversary symposium of Microsoft Research New England, a gathering to discuss computer science, big data, politics, society, and machine learning.

The session on problems and challenges in machine learning and big data included fascinating talks on machine vision, computational social science, polling techniques, and machine learning.

What Goes Wrong When Computer Vision Fails?

"What happens when image recognition sees a car in a photo of a duck?" Antonio Torralba is associate professor at MIT in machine learning and computer vision.

Political & Journalistic Art in the Age of Ubiquitous Image

In an age of smartphone cameras and ubiquitous surveillance, what place is there for artists in politics? What does journalistic, political art look like?

This summer, I've been exploring the role of comics in nonfiction, blogging about Nick Sousanis's academic comics and interviewing Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld with The Atlantic. I was excited to hear Molly Crabapple at the Berkman Center today.

Crowd Curation: Participatory Archives and the Curarium Project

How can online platforms combine learning with crowdsourcing? Today at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the team behind Curarium explained the rationale behind their project and showed us wireframes of the upcoming design. It's a theme we're also considering at the Center for Civic Media; last year we featured a talk by Pamela Wright on Connecting Popular Audiences with the National Archives.

Charities in Seattle and Beyond

I'm just back from an amazing summer in Seattle at Microsoft Fuse Labs. As I unpack back at MIT, I'm enjoying great memories and stories of neighbourhoods and organisations that are doing fantastic work in Seattle. 

FareStart Guest Chef Night

FareStart Guest Chef Night, 2011, by Caffe Vita on Flickr

Before I left, I asked friends for suggestions of Seattle charities. Here are some of the organisations in Seattle and elsewhere that I chose to support, followed by the list of other awesome organisations I learned about this summer. Have I missed any? Add your suggestions in the comments.

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