Community Resilience on Social Networks

The Cafés Scientifiques provide a framework for the public to engage in a debate on current scientific issues in a more accessible setting than that of a formal lecture. Following the success of previous editions, and as part of the "Sustainable Cities" series on health, sustainability and resilience organised by La Casa Encendida and the British Council, this year's cafés focus on the response thus far to Covid-19 and the recommend response going forward. The debates revolve around examples of British and Spanish cities that are demonstrating their capacity to create better living conditions in the built space of the future.

The popularity and ubiquity of social networks has enabled a new form of decentralised online collaboration: groups of users gathering around a central theme and working together to solve problems, complete tasks and develop social connections. Groups that display such "organic collaboration" have been shown to solve tasks quicker and more accurately than other methods of crowdsourcing, and enable community action and resilience in response to different events, from casual requests to emergency response. However, engaging such groups through formal agencies risks disconnect and disengagement by destabilising motivational structures.

A recording of the talk is available on the La Casa Encendida YouTube channel.

Coral Reef Conservation with 3D Technology.

Corals reefs provide an important habitat for many marine creatures through their "complexity": the numerous branching shapes and forms that allow fish and other species to make a safe home. The latest developments in 3D technology can help us understand this complexity and replicate it. This talk will demonstrate how we reconstruct 3D models of coral reefs using underwater drones, how we measure complexity and how we can reproduce that complexity with 3D printing to boost reef restoration and protect marine ecosystems, both in the UK and abroad.

Public talk at Pint of Science Festival.

Are Two Heads Better Than One?

An Exploration of Ambiguity in Crowd-Collected Language Decisions from the Phrase Detectives Game.

The online game-with-a-purpose Phrase Detectives has been collecting decisions about anaphoric coreference in human language for over 10 years (4 million judgements from 40,000 players). The game was originally designed to collect multiple valid solutions for a single task, which complicated aggregation but created a very rich (and noisy) dataset. Analysis of the ambiguous player decisions highlights the need for understanding and resolving disagreement that is inherent in language interpretation. This talk will present some of the interesting cases of ambiguity found by the players of Phrase Detectives (a dataset that will be made available to the research community later this year) and discuss the statistical methods we have been working on to harness crowds that disagree with each other.

Key note talk at Augmenting Intelligence with Bias-Aware Humans­in-the­Loop (HumL workshop series) co-located with TheWebConf (WWW2019).

Games with a Purpose?

How the Phrase Detectives language game provides insights into human language

"Games with a purpose" or GWAPs are a category of games that collect useful data from players as they play and have been used for projects ranging from search engine optimisation through to gene splicing. In this talk I present research from the Phrase Detectives language GWAP that has been collecting data for over 10 years on how humans interpret language and how ambiguity in language can be explored through a game.

Short talk at the Game AI Meetup (GAIM) in London.