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In a world often divided by ideological and cultural differences, social media has the ability to bring people together regardless of geographic location.
“Social media knows few borders,” said Jeremy Quist, a May 2017 graduate of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s Global Technology and Development master’s degree program.
Quist, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science, tested out the borderless nature of social media firsthand while conducting his master’s capstone research in Central and Eastern Europe about the effects of social media on transnational gay identity.
The second cohort of U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCAS-E) scholars from Pakistan arrived at ASU and Oregon State University (OSU) for the spring 2017 semester. Professional development workshops were an important aspect of their experience at ASU, including a policy workshop facilitated by SFIS Associate Director for Faculty Clark Miller. This was the second of a planned series of energy training workshops that ASU is collaborating on with schools in Pakistan over the next four years.
Women comprise 13 of the 34 scholars from Pakistan’s National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar. This is the largest number of female participants in the program so far — a success for the promotion of gender equality for engineers, which is a major goal of the program. The spring cohort returns to Pakistan in May.
The Faculty Women’s Association awarded PhD candidate Elizabeth Garbee in the Human and Social Dimension of Science and Technology program with its Distinguished Graduate Student Achievement Award, acknowledging exceptional scholarship, research, creativity, and performance in leadership and service. Garbee said she is “incredibly proud of the award” and gratified that her committee members and chair Erik Fisher thought highly enough of her to nominate her.
SFIS professor Kiki Jenkins and collaborators won first prize in the International Sea Turtle Society’s “Dance Your Research” Competition. Jenkins is a noted scholar in marine conservancy and pioneer of a new field of study into the invention and adoption of marine conservation technology. "Science dance is a kind of new frontier and we’re right on the vanguard of it,” said Jenkins, urging anyone interested in participating in future workshops and competitions to reach out. Watch the video of the winning performance here.
PhD student Eric Kennedy was awarded a Graduate College Completion Fellowship, which serves to support advanced graduate students through their final year of dissertation research and writing. “Receiving this support from the Graduate College is incredibly valuable for completing an ambitious and applied dissertation,” said Kennedy. “The award will allow me to invest the time necessary for the fieldwork, data analysis, and research required to complete a dissertation on a contemporary and fast-moving topic.”
On Saturday April 8, a dedicated and motivated group of 30+ volunteers came together at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and built 100 SolarSPELL digital libraries, project lead and library designer Laura Hosman, reported on the project’s blog. This is the largest build in the history of the project. In the next few months, the libraries will go out with Peace Corps volunteers across the Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia. Hosman also spoke about the project as a guest on the SparkDialog podcast.
Cynthia Selin, director of the Center for the Study of the Future, described Emerge, as “a festival uniting arts, science, and technology in order to explore alternative futures.” The 2017 Frankenstein theme (held in February) “Invites us to question invention and responsibility.” She is featured in a synopsis video reflecting on Emerge 2017 available here.
SFIS professor Heather Ross, a graduate of the HSD PhD program and, prior to that, of ASU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, was selected as a 2017 Fellow by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Ross was recently profiled in ASU State Press newspaper. The article highlights how diverse her interests are and how they shaped her unconventional route to a dual doctorates, a thriving family, and a private medical practice.
Times Higher Education, a data provider that aims to improve university improvement with constructive analysis, published a short appreciation of the new special edition of Frankenstein edited by SFIS director and CSPO co-director Dave Guston. The article quotes Guston: “Part of the intention of this edition is to bring this author and this character, people who were still very much learning things but had provocative and powerful ideas, to contemporary colleagues.”
SFIS Futurist in Residence Brian David Johnson was interviewed by Marketwatch for a story on The Circle, a new movie based on a dystopian Sci-Fi novel by Dave Eggers about a massive, Silicon Valley-inspired corporation using the personal data of its customers for nefarious ends. “To be clear, we are headed down that path,” said Johnson. “We’re not there yet, but we see hints at it every day. The progressive impact of technology in our lives is not going to slow down.”
Johnson was also quoted in a Scientific American piece which asks real world AI researchers if any hollywood depictions get artificial intelligence “right.” “The narrative is typically that once you create something that’s sentient, it rises up and kills you,” said Johnson. “I look at what movies are giving us a different narrative.”
SFIS’ Associate Director for Faculty, Clark Miller, was quoted by the Christian Science Monitor in an article detailing the regulatory, logistical, and other types of complexity standing in the way of society-wide conversion to solar electricity. “Electricity is sold as a regulated monopoly,” said Miller, emphasizing the regulatory barriers. He added that the electrical grid isn’t a simple “plug-and-play” system that is easily converted from one power source to another.
Stephen Donoghue of Open Letters Monthly reviewed Center for Science and the Imagination Director Ed Finn’s book What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing. Effusive with his praise, Donoghue writes that the pages of the “brilliant new book” will “fly by” and calling Finn himself a “deeply intelligent writer.” He warns readers not to expect any fluff, though, calling Finn’s breakdown of the ubiquitous and often unpredictable use of algorithms is “the most invasive, unnerving, cold sweat-inducing horror story you’re likely to read.” Finn also had a chance to talk about the book in his interview with MIT Press’ Chris Gondek.
Scistarter, the citizen science network founded and directed by SFIS’ Darlene Cavalier, received a nod in a Science article on ways technology can improve public institutions. Scistarter connects individuals who voluntarily contributes his or her time, effort, and resources toward scientific research in collaboration with professional scientists or alone.
Black Enterprise reported on PhD student Barbara Whye’s appointment as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Intel. Whye started with Intel as an engineer in 1995. She will work to further Intel’s stated goals of achieving pay equity and conducting annual compensation audits for US employees.
Dan Sarewitz, co-director of CSPO, was quoted in a Greenwire article describing two surprising bastions for environmental research in the federal government. The article explains that, though Trump is moving ahead with proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) tackle militarily important environmental issues that are not being investigated by civilian bodies. The programs have “built a constituency at DOD. People find it valuable," Sarewitz said. "As long as the program is explained in the right way, it can totally withstand partisan winds."
Jack Stilgoe of the University College London, a recent VIRI guest speaker, wrote an article for the Guardian in reaction to an accident involving an Uber-owned “automated” vehicle in Tempe in March. Stilgoe questions the veracity of “autonomy,” citing SFIS’ Jameson Wetmore and other researchers, and argues, “For self-driving cars to really work, they need to become interdependent” not just with other vehicles but with city ordinances and standard practices in the event of accidents.
Braden Allenby is the author of The Rightful Place of Science: Future Conflict and Emerging Technologies, published in 2016 by the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes. An ASU Now article introduces the Weaponized Narrative Initiative, a new research group co-directed by Allenby and Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law’s Joel Garreau. "By creating the stories and controlling the narratives over time, it’s being shown that you can significantly turn public opinions and attitudes in different directions,” Allenby said. The initiative operates under the Center on the Future of War in collaboration with the New America Foundation.
Martin Pasqualetti, co-director of ASU’s Energy Policy Innovation Council (EPIC), a group housed under SFIS, was tapped for comment by 91.5 KJZZ on the coal industry’s attempts to extend the life of the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal power plant in the western US. "It seems like they are grasping at straws,” Pasqualetti said of the coal industry’s arguments.