UTW Episode 17: Emilio Ferrara

Next Generation Web Science

For this episode, (23 min) we talk with Emilio Ferrara, an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He’s also a Research Team Leader for AI at USC’s Information Sciences Institute and the Director of the Annenberg Networks Network (ANN). Earlier this year, Emilio became the Chair of the Web Science Trust Network of Laboratories (WSTNet).

In this episode, Emilio discusses his vision for the next generation of Web Science, especially in light of his newly appointed chair position. And he also talks about some of his research into how bots can manipulate conversations around vaccines and public health. Much before COVID-19, he was involved in a DARPA challenge surrounding bots engaged in vaccination debate. Then, in January 2020, right as the pandemic was coming on the horizon, Emilio’s lab jumped on collecting data about bots spreading COVID-19 conspiracies. For insights into this and more, listen to this episode.


UTW Episode 16: Aleks Krotoski

Exploring Identity on the Web

Our guest for this episode (23 min.) is Dr. Aleks Krotoski, an award-winning international broadcaster, author and academic. She studies and writes about technology and interactivity. Her book, “Untangling the Web: What the Internet is Doing to You,” based on her hit columns in the Guardian and Observer, was published in 2012. Since then, she’s continued to break ground in academia and journalism, and she’s currently a Visiting Fellow in the Media and Communications Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute.

During this episode, Aleks talks about how our online lives have become entangled with our offline ones. Her research has found that we bring our existing ideas about society to the virtual worlds we build. But unlike in the past, there’s less space to play around with our identities online. And, there’s more consequences — for many people, the things they did 10 or 15 years ago still pop up when you search their name. What does that mean for our own growth, and how is the Web evolving, too? To hear all this and more, listen to this episode.


UTW Episode 15: Munmun De Choudhury

Mental Health and the Web

During this episode, (26 min. long), we talk with Munmun De Choudhury, a professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she leads the Social Dynamics and Wellbeing Lab.  Her research centers on using social media to better understand and improve mental health. She draws on an interdisciplinary approach, combining social computing, machine learning and natural language analysis with insights and theories from the social, behavioral and health sciences.

UTW Episode 14: Robert Ackland

Networks on the Web

Our guest for this episode, (21 min. long) is Robert Ackland, a professor from the School of Sociology at the Australian National University in Canberra. Rob studies networks on the Web, and he established the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks — VOSON for short — to provide tools for research on this topic. 

UTW Episode 13: Jaime Teevan

Web and the new future of work

In this episode, (26 min. long) we talk with Jaime Teevan, chief scientist for Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices, where she’s charged with creating the future of productivity. She also developed the first personalized search algorithm used by Bing and introduced microproductivity into Microsoft Office. 

UTW Episode 12: Danny Weitzner

Privacy and the Web

For this episode, (29 min. long) we talk with Danny Weitzner, a proud founding member of the Web Science Trust who will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2021 ACM Web Science virtual conference. He’s a 3Com Founders Principal Research Scientist at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and also the founding director of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative. His research interests include accountable systems, privacy, cybersecurity and online freedom of expression.