The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Winter School on 'Digital investigation with AI'. The format is that of a (social media and web) data sprint, with tutorials as well as hands-on work for telling stories with data. There is also a programme of keynote speakers. It is intended for advanced Master's students, PhD candidates and motivated scholars who would like to work on (and complete) a digital methods project in an intensive workshop setting.
Online information in the public domain has been the source of study of societal trends and cultural condition for some time now. Geo-located search queries and social media engagement have been deployed as proxies for interests, concerns and sentiments. For a variety of reasons from data access to algorithmic effects, there has been an easing away from trace research and at the same time a growing interest in digital investigation. It focuses less on trends and more on 'fact-finding' or 'what actually happened'. In a sense it is an understandable shift, given the impact of the 'fake news' crisis that transpired on social media during the U.S. presidential election of 2016 and subsequent votes in Europe and beyond.
Since then there have been grander narratives of the current informational situation online such as the rise of a 'post-truth' era. To settle things down a variety of digital investigative epistemologies are the focus of attention from fact-checking, debunking and source and media verification to algorithmic auditing. They seek to address a wide variety of disruptions to the new media landscape, such as media and attention manipulation to continual influence and information campaigning, whether with harmful intention or more ironic and troll-like. The Winter School takes up a series of questions concerning the investigative turn from the impact of disinformation and content moderation to the new conditions of artificiality and detection with AI.
For all details about this Winter Course, please visit the Digital Methods website below.
For a preview of what the event is like, you can view short video clips from previous editions of the Winter School on YouTube.