Civic technologies for informing, empowering, and connecting people

As a social scientist influenced heavily by engineering sciences, I examine civic technologies for informing, empowering, and connecting people. I address two fundamental questions:

  • i) How do new technologies impact human behavior and society?
  • ii) How can we harness these technologies for social good, to foster a more informed, diverse, and inclusive society?

I operationalize these questions in empirical contexts including

  • Large-scale online collaboration systems, such as:
    • Applications of collective intelligence in open and participatory journalism
    • Deliberation and policy-making
    • Civic crowdfunding
  • Applications of artificial intelligence for civic use
  • Virtual, mixed, and augmented reality as civic technologies

At the micro level, I study users’ interaction with civic technologies, using human-computer interaction frameworks. At the macro level, I analyze the impact of people's behavior on society, including power structures, representations, and distribution of information. The better we understand these mechanisms, the better we can design and use technologies for social good — for supporting equal access to information and civic participation.

By deploying theories and methods from social sciences and engineering, I examine the cyclical and reciprocal relationships between technologies and society: technologies affect our behavior, our behavior impacts society, and society, in turn, affects our behavior. This dynamic also shapes the design of new technologies.

My work is driven by both academic goals and a mission to contribute to a more equal, diverse, and inclusive society.