A key project for the Information Retrieval group
This project, funded by EU Horizon 2020, brings together colleagues from Sheffield, the Open University of Cyprus, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Haifa (Israel) and the University of Trento (Italy). It began in October 2018, and will run for 36 months.
The main aim of the project is to establish a centre of expertise on algorithmic transparency and information bias in Cyprus, the CyCAT centre. This is achieved e.g., by organising scientific networking events, and by fostering ongoing research in this area.
Another important aim of the project is the effective promotion of digital and algorithmic literacy to the general public, through collaboration with educators, students and professionals. This Information Literacy slant to the project is enhanced by some of the researchers in Cyprus coming from the education field of academia.
One of the concerns that this project is trying to address is the rise of ‘proprietary algorithmic processes’ by giants like Google and Facebook; the hidden mechanisms that decide what they show you when you use their services.
Various work packages on the project are working in different areas, including the development of a better cultural understanding of where these social biases actually exist. One area of work in Sheffield is around designing and evaluating interventions that will be developed off the back of this foundational work. Some of these will be technical interventions like browser plugins, but others will be more social, like the educational aspects.
As well as facilitating networking events and liaising with educators, the team will be surveying people on their attitudes to algorithmic transparency, providing online seminars and writing academic journal articles on their research. Through the CyCAT centre, the team also wants to promote digital literacy policy changes, particularly to the Cyprus Ministry of Education. The idea is for CyCAT to be a hub for all this information, consultation and promotion of awareness.
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