I am a human computer interaction researcher studying how people interact with and understand computing systems that bring together people, data, and machine learning technologies. These systems are “black boxes”: the people who use them can see and experience the inputs and outputs, but not the inner logic. This makes it very difficult to understand and reason about how they work, and to envision what the consequences of using them might be for individuals and society.
For example, it is hard enough for end users of computing systems to be aware of the data that is collected about them, but it’s even harder to understand how that data can be used to categorize their personal characteristics or activities, to make predictions about their future behavior and interests, and to infer sensitive, private information. I’m working to discover ways to help people take back some agency over the data they provide to the apps and platforms they use, so that they will have a way to influence what these systems can do and how they affect the world.
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information, of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. My research right now is funded by NSF SaTC award CNS-1524296, and by an endowment to MSU from AT&T. Some keywords to describe my research are: digital privacy, inferences, social norms, algorithms, big data, sociotechnical systems.
Some things I’ve been up to lately…
My paper with Samantha Hautea and Anjali Munasinghe, “I Have a Narrow Thought Process: Constraints on Explanations Connecting Inferences and Self-Perceptions”, which is about how people interpret the inferences that Facebook and Google make about them, received the SOUPS Privacy Award at SOUPS 2020!
I published two papers in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction in May 2020: “It’s the Wild, Wild West: Lessons Learned From IRB Members’ Risk Perceptions Toward Digital Research Data” with Jina Huh-Yoo at Drexel, and “The Role of Conversational Grounding in Supporting Symbiosis Between People and Digital Assistants” with Janghee Cho at University of Colorado Boulder
Why Johnny Can’t Unsubscribe: Barriers to Stopping Unwanted Email, a paper I coauthored with Jayati Dev and Sameer Patil from Indiana University, will be published at CHI 2020.
Samantha Hautea, Anjali Munasinghe and I are authors of a CHI 2020 LBW titled “That’s Not Me”: Surprising Algorithmic Inferences
Norbert Nthala and I are authors of a CHI 2020 LBW titled Towards a Conceptual Model for Provoking Privacy Speculation