Bergen Media Use Research Group
Guest lecture

Public expectations of transparency and accountability in citizens’ councils on data-driven media personalisation: Findings and methodological reflections

Ranjana Das, Professor at the University of Surrey and currently visiting Erasmus fellow at the University of Bergen, will give a seminar on January 26th.

Photo of professor Ranjana Das
Ranjana Das

Main content

This talk presents findings and reflections across a set of three journal papers which emerged from a rigorous, three-wave series of qualitative research into public expectations of data-driven media technologies, conducted across locations in England, by a team bringing together sociology, engineering and media practice. Located within the contexts of the AI4ME project, through a range of carefully chosen scenarios and deliberations around the risks and benefits afforded by data-driven media personalisation technologies, we paid close attention to citizens’ voices, as our multi-disciplinary team sought to engage the public on what ‘good’ might look like in the context of media personalisation.

We paid particular attention to risks and opportunities, examining practical use-cases and scenarios, and our three-wave councils culminated in citizens producing recommendations for practice and policy. In this talk, I will focus on citizens’ ethical assessment, critique and improvements proposed on media personalisation methods in relation to benefits, fairness, safety, transparency and accountability, particularly within the broader contexts of their expectations around algorithms and algorithmic systems. I will conclude with some reflections on our citizens council methodology, particularly the use of "vignettes" as scenarios as a method of data collection in user-centric algorithm studies, in terms of their potential in inviting users’ contextual experiences of algorithms but also enabling more normative reflections on what “good” looks like in contemporary datafied societies.

Note: The talk draws upon three journal papers from the team under review currently, and results presented should not be circulated further.

Bio: Ranjana Das is Professor in Media and Communication, in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Surrey. Her research interests span families, parenting and parenthood, mental health, digital technologies and media audiences and users. Her upcoming book Anticipating algorithms: Algorithmic literacies of datafied parenthood will be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

The seminar is arranged by WP1 Understanding media experiences in SFI MediaFutures. At the seminar we will serve a light lunch on a first come first served-basis.