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  • Department of Communication

Conference Participation

Graduate student Beatrys Rodrigues co-authored/presented the paper “ELSI for AI? Emerging Visions of Governing AI in US Institutions” at the Society for the Social Studies of Science conference. Since the launch of the Human Genome Project, with its programs to address ethical, legal, and social implications/aspects (ELSI and ELSA), the practice of attaching ethics programs to major state-funded scientific initiatives has been a visible and well-institutionalized part of the science policy tool kit. A somewhat different pattern has taken shape with artificial intelligence—an area in which Big Tech companies have driven much R&D and many applications of this suite of technologies. The authors’ account documents the further transformation of post-ELSI visions of governing emerging technology and the continuing political importance of promising to anticipate and mitigate the undesirable impacts of technology through ethics programs.

Events

Join us for COMMColloquium, co-sponsored this week with the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. The event takes place on Friday, November 17, at 1:00 pm in 102 Mann Library Building. Professor Bruno Takahashi (Michigan State University) will present “Context Matters: Insights from Environmental Communication Research in Latin America.” The colloquium is followed by a reception, located in The Hub of the Department of Communication.

Publications

Research Associate Jiawei Liu and Professor Jeff Niederdeppe, October 2023, Effects of Social Comparison Framing of Racial Health Disparities and Behaviors” Human Communication Research. The authors examined the effects of public health messages that feature cancer risk comparisons and screening rate comparisons between Black Americans and White Americans. Findings suggest that communicating cancer risk and screening rate comparisons between racial groups may not be an effective way of promoting cancer screening and racial health equity and may incur unintended consequences in some cases. Collaborative n Media & Messaging for Health and Social Policy recently blogged about this research.

Associate Professor Andrea Stevenson Won & Donna Davis, November 2023, “Your Money or Your Data: Avatar Embodiment Options in the Identity Economy,” Convergence. Avatar embodiment options are often constrained or promoted according to the economic models of different virtual worlds. To help explain users’ interest (or lack of interest) in immersive technology, the authors discuss the mismatch between platform intentions and avatar affordances. They describe how user and platform motivations intersect in the ‘embodied identity economy,’ a model in which users either ‘pay’ for access to embodied experiences with data from their physical identity or fund economy with cash payments.

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