Phil 9.21.17

6:00 – ASRC MKT

  • I think there is a difference between exploring, a deliberate exposing to things unknown and serendipity, an accidental encounter with the unknown. In the first case, the mind is prepared for the situation. In the second, the mind needs to be receptive to the serendipity. I think that design may matter a lot here. A serendipitous result low on a list may not have the same impact as a point on a map or a line in a story.
  • Oxford English dictionary’’s definitions of:
    • serendipity: “the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident”.  
    • explore:  An act of exploring an unfamiliar place; an exploration, an excursion. 
    • discoverTo disclose, reveal, etc., to others or (later) oneself; to find out. 
    • sagacity: Acuteness of mental discernment; aptitude for investigation or discovery; keenness and soundness of judgement in the estimation of persons and conditions, and in the adaptation of means to ends; penetration, shrewdness.
  • Skimming these
    • The bohemian bookshelf: supporting serendipitous book discoveries through information visualization
      • A ThudtU HinrichsS Carpendale
      • Serendipity, a trigger of exciting discoveries when we least expect it, is currently being discussed as an often neglected but still important factor in information seeking processes, research, and ideation. In this paper we explore serendipity as an information visualization goal. In particular, we introduce the Bohemian Bookshelf visualization that aims to support serendipitous exploration of digital book collections. The Bohemian Bookshelf consists of five interlinked visualizations, each representing a unique (over)view of the collection. It facilitates serendipitous discoveries by (1) offering multiple access points by providing visualizations of different perspectives on the book collection, (2) enticing curiosity through abstract, metaphorical, and visually distinct representations of the collection, (3) highlighting alternate adjacencies between books, (4) providing multiple pathways for exploring the data collection in a flexible way, (5) supporting immediate previews of books, and (6) enabling a playful approach to information exploration. Our design goals and their exploration through the Bohemian Bookshelf visualization opens up a discussion on how to promote serendipity through information visualization.
      • six design goals that we have derived for promoting serendipitous discoveries through information visualization.
    • Discovery is never by chance: designing for (un)serendipity – finished. Good paper!
      • P AndréJ TeevanST Dumais
      • Serendipity has a long tradition in the history of science as having played a key role in many significant discoveries. Computer scientists, valuing the role of serendipity in discovery, have attempted to design systems that encourage serendipity. However, that research has focused primarily on only one aspect of serendipity: that of chance encounters. In reality, for serendipity to be valuable chance encounters must be synthesized into insight. In this paper we show, through a formal consideration of serendipity and analysis of how various systems have seized on attributes of interpreting serendipity, that there is a richer space for design to support serendipitous creativity, innovation and discovery than has been tapped to date. We discuss how ideas might be encoded to be shared or discovered by “association-hunting” agents. We propose considering not only the inventor‘s role in perceiving serendipity, but also how that inventor‘s perception may be enhanced to increase the opportunity for serendipity. We explore the role of environment and how we can better enable serendipitous discoveries to find a home more readily and immediately.
        • there is “no discovery of a thing you are looking for
        • However, most systems designed to induce or facilitate serendipity have focused on the first aspect, subtly encouraging chance encounters, while ignoring the second part, making use of those encounters in a productive way.
        • Especially, however, we want to offer approaches to get at
          the desired effect of serendipity: insight
        • For us, serendipity is:
          1. the finding of unexpected information (relevant to the goal or not) while engaged in any information activity,
          2. the making of an intellectual leap of understanding with that information to arrive at an insight
        • In our study, a number of participants remarked that they thought of themselves as ‘serendipitous’, and were surprised to find no instances of it in their search behaviour.
          • This is because exploring is not serendipity. See first point above
        • Click entropy, a direct measure of how varied the result clicks are for the query, was found to be significant. That is, a positive correlation between entropy and the number of potentially serendipitous results suggests that people may have clicked varied results not just because they could not find what they wanted, but because they considered more things interesting, or were more willing to go off at a tangent.
        • Arguably however, almost all visualization systems are designed to support such a goal: identifying interesting, but unknown, trends or patterns in data that would not have been visible otherwise.
        • Erdelez‘s [12] so-called ‘super-encounterers’, encountering unexpected information on a regular basis, even counting on it as an important element in information acquisition.
        • Instead of treating serendipity as arcane, mysterious and accidental, we embrace the ability of computers to help us perceive connections and opportunities in various pieces of information
        • presenting such information to users has the potential to increase the overall information the user must interact with. This can lead to two problems: distraction or overload, and the negative consequences of incorrect or problematic recommendations or assumptions
        • It is widely acknowledged that serendipitous discoveries are preceded by a period of preparation and incubation [7]. They are, in that respect, not as ‗serendipitous‘ as we might expect, being the product of mental preparation as well as of an open and questioning mind
        • The challenge from a design perspective may not necessarily be discovering domain literature opportunities, but defining mechanisms for presenting these suggestions in ways that are effective for the investigator. Further to creating a reading list is defining the space to deliver them opportunistically
        • This idea again supposes a form of common language model, a way to express interest or expertise in particular areas, and a way to search for results.
        • In this spectrum, we have also demonstrated that computer science has spent most of it’s design effort perhaps overly focused on trying to create insight (effect of serendipity), by recreating the cause (chance), rather than on, for instance, increasing the rate and accuracy of proposed candidates for serendipitous insight, or developing domain expertise
  • Ordered this, too: Information Visualization: Beyond the Horizon. Has quite a bit on maps that’s going to be needed in the implications for design section
  • What is a Diagram?
    • This paper responds to renewed interest in the centuries old question of what is a diagram. Existing status of our understanding of diagrams is seen as unsatisfactory and confusing. This paper responds to this by proposing a framework for understanding diagrams based on symbolic and spatial mapping. The framework deals with some complex problems any useful definition of diagrams has to deal with. These problems are the variety of diagrams, meaningful dynamics of diagramming, handling change in diagrams in a well formed way, and all of this in the context of semantically mixed diagrams. A brief description of the framework is given discussing how it addresses the problems.
  • Supporting serendipity: Using ambient intelligence to augment user exploration for data mining and web browsing.
    • Has some very Research-Browser-ish bits in it
    • an agent-based system to support internet browsing. It models the user‘s behaviour to look ahead at linked web pages and their word frequencies, using a Bayesian approach to determine relevance. It then colours links on the page depending on their relevance. In evaluation, the colouring was seen as successful, with people tending to follow the strongly advised links most of the time.
  • Retroactive answering of search queries
    • Major search engines currently use the history of a user’s actions (e.g., queries, clicks) to personalize search results. In this paper, we present a new personalized service, query-specific web recommendations (QSRs), that retroactively answers queries from a user’s history as new results arise. The QSR system addresses two important subproblems with applications beyond the system itself: (1) Automatic identification of queries in a user’s history that represent standing interests and unfulfilled needs. (2) Effective detection of interesting new results to these queries. We develop a variety of heuristics and algorithms to address these problems, and evaluate them through a study of Google history users. Our results strongly motivate the need for automatic detection of standing interests from a user’s history, and identifies the algorithms that are most useful in doing so. Our results also identify the algorithms, some which are counter-intuitive, that are most useful in identifying interesting new results for past queries, allowing us to achieve very high precision over our data set.

Phil 9.20.17

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC MKT

Phil 9.19.17

6:30 – ASRC MKT

  • 10:00 status meeting
  • Thinking about going to DC for lunch
  • Matthew Zefferman
    • I am a quantitative social scientist who uses mathematical models and ethnographic field research to understand human ultrasociality – our ability to organize ourselves into societies capable of large-scale cooperation and large-scale conflict – especially in the contexts of war, political organization, and environmental sustainability.
    • I like the term ultrasociality, it captures some of the large-scale effects I’m looking at.
  • NIMBios (Matthew Zefferman spent some time here) Has kind of a Max Planck vibe?infog_new
  • Speaking of which, the logo for the Couzin Lab at Max Planck is a perfect explore/exploit icon: couzin-lab
  • Working on paper. Currently loading up Illustrator and IntelliJ to see which comes up first. Illustrator wins! I really need another monitor now…
    • Finished the methods/simulation section Starting on the pattern detection section

Phil 9.18.17

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC MKT

      • Here’s the code that makes it:
        \vec{aoc}_x= \frac{\{
        \sum_{n=1}^{n = x-1} \vec{aop}_n (1 - \frac{\| \vec{app}_x - \vec{app_n} \| }{r}) + 
        \sum_{n=x+ 1}^{n = max} \vec{aop}_n (1 - \frac{\| \vec{app}_x - \vec{app}_n \| }{r})
        \mid (\|\vec{app}_x - \vec{app}_n \| < r)\}}{1-\sum_{n=1}^{n=max}[\|\vec{app}_n - \vec{app}_x\| < r]}
      • Given these conditions:
        • aoc is the current orientation vector
        • aop is the previous orientation vector
        • app is the current position
        • app is the previous position
        • r is the exploit radius
      • And this is the position update function: PositionUpdate
        • aop is the previous orientation vector
        • acp is the current position
        • app is the previous position
        • dt is elapsed time
      • Working on describing the high-dimensional slew using a diagram.


Phil 9.15.17

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC MKT

Phil 9.14.17

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC MKT

  • Reducing Dimensionality from Dimensionality Reduction Techniques
    • In this post I will do my best to demystify three dimensionality reduction techniques; PCA, t-SNE and Auto Encoders. My main motivation for doing so is that mostly these methods are treated as black boxes and therefore sometime are misused. Understanding them will give the reader the tools to decide which one to use, when and how.
      I’ll do so by going over the internals of each methods and code from scratch each method (excluding t-SNE) using TensorFlow. Why TensorFlow? Because it’s mostly used for deep learning, lets give it some other challenges 🙂
      Code for this post can be found in this notebook.
    • This seems important to read in preparation for the Normative Mapping effort.
  • Stanford  deep learning tutorial. This is where I got the links to PCA and Auto Encoders, above.
  • Ok, back to writing:
    • The Exploration-Exploitation Dilemma: A Multidisciplinary Framework
    • Got hung up explaining the relationship of the social horizon radius, so I’m going to change it to the exploit radius. Also changed the agent flocks to red and green: GPM
    • There is a bug, too – when I upped the CellAccumulator hypercube size from 10-20. The max row is not getting set

Phil 9.13.17

7:00 – 5:30 ASRC MKT

  • Continuing on the paper. Got Scott & Amundsen in the intro! Also used Plato’s cave.
  • Echoes of a Conspiracy: Birthers, Truthers, and the Cultivation of Extremism
    • A significant number of Americans express sympathies for conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s birth and George Bush’s role in the 9/11 attacks. This study sought to test the role of ideological media in perpetuating these beliefs. Specifically, experiments were conducted to determine if ideologically homogeneous media echo-chambers could cultivate belief in conspiracy theories and whether debunking information would reverse this belief. Results found that media echo-chambers increased belief in conspiracy theories though debunking information reversed or minimized this effect. Results confirm the role of ideological media in spreading extremist attitudes but also demonstrate the value of debunking efforts.
  • Upcoming paper on the wisdom and culture of flocks.
  • Aligning Popularity and Quality in Online Cultural Markets Andres Abeliuk
    • Social influence is ubiquitous in cultural markets and plays an important role in recommendations for books, songs, and news articles to name only a few. Yet social influence is often presented in a bad light, often because it supposedly increases market unpredictability. Here we study a model of trial-offer markets, in which participants try products and later decide whether to purchase. We consider a simple policy which recovers product quality and ranks the products by quality when presenting them to market participants. We show that, in this setting, market efficiency always benefits from social influence. Moreover, we prove that the market converges almost surely to a monopoly for the product of highest quality, making the market both predictable and asymptotically optimal. Computational experiments confirm that the quality ranking policy quickly identifies “blockbusters”, outperforms other policies, and is highly predictable.
    • This is the paper that I’ve been looking for that shows overall quality of ranking is improved if songs are presented in a random order, and that cascades lead to random quality results. However, reading this paper got me to the following: “Unfortunately, popularity, which is easily distorted by noise in the process, is not a good proxy for quality: It leads to market unpredictability and even self-fulfilling prophecies, in which a perceived but initially false popularity becomes real over time (Salganik and Watts 2008).” Which gets us to:
  • Leading the Herd Astray: An Experimental Study of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in an Artificial Cultural Market
    • Individuals influence each others’ decisions about cultural products such as songs, books, and movies; but to what extent can the perception of success become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”? We have explored this question experimentally by artificially inverting the true popularity of songs in an online “music market,” in which 12,207 participants listened to and downloaded songs by unknown bands. We found that most songs experienced self-fulfilling prophecies, in which perceived—but initially false—popularity became real over time. We also found, however, that the inversion was not self-fulfilling for the market as a whole, in part because the very best songs recovered their popularity in the long run. Moreover, the distortion of market information reduced the correlation between appeal and popularity, and led to fewer overall downloads. These results, although partial and speculative, suggest a new approach to the study of cultural markets, and indicate the potential of web-based experiments to explore the social psychological origin of other macro-sociological phenomena.
  • Good progress on the introduction and lit review
  • Discussion with Aaron about the next phase, which is the development of the Normative Maps. We walked through the idea of using the Research Browser combined with a chat interface to set up an online small-ish group that works through a problem along the lines of what M&D describe in C&C. With his game background, he thinks he can design something compelling. First goal will be to put together a paper prototype to evaluate. A paper that describes such a scenario is The effects of a normative intervention on group decision-making performance:
    • A space ship having crashed on the moon, a team of astronauts has to cover a distance of some 300 kilometres in order to reach the spot where they have a rendezvous with another team. Before embarking on this perilous undertaking, the members of the team have to decide which of the fifteen objects necessary for survival – oxygen reserves, concentrated food, signalling equipment, heating requisites, etc. – they will take with them. Those participating in the study were asked to draw up a list of priorities for these objects, first separately as individuals, and then in groups, by arriving at a consensus.

Phil 9.12.17

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC MKT

  • Meeting with Wayne yesterday after Fika. Get him a draft by the end of the week to discuss Monday?
  • More writing
  • Herding in humans (Ramsey M. Raafat, Nick Chater, and Chris Frith)
    • Herding is a form of convergent social behaviour that can be broadly defined as the alignment of the thoughts or behaviours of individuals in a group (herd) through local interaction and without centralized coordination. We suggest that herding has a broad application, from intellectual fashion to mob violence; and that understanding herding is particularly pertinent in an increasingly interconnected world. An integrated approach to herding is proposed, describing two key issues: mechanisms of transmission of thoughts or behaviour between agents, and patterns of connections between agents. We show how bringing together the diverse, often disconnected, theoretical and methodological approaches illuminates the applicability of herding to many domains of cognition and suggest that cognitive neuroscience offers a novel approach to its study.
  • Alignment in social interactions (M.Gallotti, M.T.Fairhurst, C.D.Frith)
    • According to the prevailing paradigm in social-cognitive neuroscience, the mental states of individuals become shared when they adapt to each other in the pursuit of a shared goal. We challenge this view by proposing an alternative approach to the cognitive foundations of social interactions. The central claim of this paper is that social cognition concerns the graded and dynamic process of alignment of individual minds, even in the absence of a shared goal. When individuals reciprocally exchange information about each other’s minds processes of alignment unfold over time and across space, creating a social interaction. Not all cases of joint action involve such reciprocal exchange of information. To understand the nature of social interactions, then, we propose that attention should be focused on the manner in which people align words and thoughts, bodily postures and movements, in order to take one another into account and to make full use of socially relevant information.
  • Herding and escaping responses of juvenile roundfish to square mesh window in a trawl cod end (This is the only case I can find of 3-D stampeding. Note the [required?] dimension reduction)
    • The movements of juvenile roundfish, mainly haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and whiting Merlangius merlangus, reacting to a square mesh window in the cod end of a bottom trawl were observed during fishing experiments in the North Sea. Two typical behavioral responses of roundfish are described as the herding response and the escaping response, which were analyzed from video recordings by time sequences of the movement parameters. It was found that most of the actively escaping fish approached the square mesh window at right angles by swimming straight ahead with very little change in direction, while most of the herded fish approached the net at obtuse angles and retreated by sharp turning. The herding and escaping responses showed significant difference when characterized by frequency distributions of swimming speed and angular velocity, and both responses showed large and irregular variations in swimming movement parameters like the panic erratic responses. It is concluded that an escaping or herding response to the square mesh window could be decided by an interaction between the predictable parameters that describe the stimuli of net and angular changes of fish response, such as approaching angle, turning angle and angular velocity.
  • Assessing the Effect of “Disputed” Warnings and Source Salience on Perceptions of Fake News Accuracy
    • What are effective techniques for combating belief in fake news? Tagging fake articles with “Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers” warnings and making articles’ sources more salient by adding publisher logos are two approaches that have received large-scale rollouts on social media in recent months. Here we assess the effect of these interventions on perceptions of accuracy across seven experiments (total N=7,534). With respect to disputed warnings, we find that tagging articles as disputed did significantly reduce their perceived accuracy relative to a control without tags, but only modestly (d=.20, 3.7 percentage point decrease in headlines judged as accurate). Furthermore, we find a backfire effect – particularly among Trump supporters and those under 26 years of age – whereby untagged fake news stories are seen as more accurate than in the control. We also find a similar spillover effect for real news, whose perceived accuracy is increased by the presence of disputed tags on other headlines. With respect to source salience, we find no evidence that adding a banner with the logo of the headline’s publisher had any impact on accuracy judgments whatsoever. Together, these results suggest that the currently deployed approaches are not nearly enough to effectively undermine belief in fake news, and new (empirically supported) strategies are needed.
  • Some meetings on marketing. Looks like we’re trying to get on this panel. Wrote bioblurbs!
  • More writing. Reasonable progress.

Phil 9.11.17

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC MKT

From just before. We have been at war ever since. I wonder what would have happened if all that blood and treasure had been spent on building high-quality secular schools throughout the Middle East as a counterweight to the Saudi Wahhabi madrasas… 10page-cityroom-popup

  • Continuing on paper
  • Fika! Nice to see folks.

Phil 9.8.17

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC MKT