An interview-style podcast that explores how technology and AI are changing the way we interact with each other and the world. Each episode features an expert or academic with insights for business leaders, technologists, and digital product leaders.
Exploring Social Connection in the Digital Age with Jeff Hall
Are we underestimating the impact of technology on our social connections? In a captivating exchange with Jeff Hall, professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, we dissect technology's power and limits in fulfilling our inherent need to connect. We delve into Jeff's fascinating research, which reveals the hidden value in those seemingly small moments of connection.
From face-to-face chats to phone calls and text messages, we explore how these forms of communication influence our sense of belonging, especially when feeling disconnected. But the conversation gets even more intriguing when we explore the role of Artificial Intelligence in meeting our social needs. Could AI ever become conscious? And what are the implications of employing AI in fields like mental health? Together with Jeff, we ponder these questions, highlighting the critical role of human control in high-stakes situations.
Eventually, our discussion widens to consider the broader implications of AI and technology on our daily lives. Above all, Jeff emphasizes the need for kindness towards ourselves and the preservation of our social connections in this increasingly tech-mediated world.
Links to Professor Hall’s writing referenced in the episode:
Interpersonal Media and Face-to-Face Communication: Relationship with Life Satisfaction and Loneliness
Which mediated social interactions satisfy the need to belong?
The Price We Pay for Being Less Social (WSJ)
Social media use, social displacement, and well-being
Links to other references:
Microsoft survey reveals the downsides of all those remote meetings
Pi, an AI app
You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
Ringing the Alarm Bell with Federico Germani
Federico Germani is sounding an alarm. In a research paper he co-authored, the headline says it all: “AI Model GPT-3 (dis)informs us better than humans.” Read it here.
Germani is a Researcher at the University of Zurich and is the founder and director of Culturico, a non-profit storytelling platform.
With a background in molecular biology, Germani felt the need to switch to social sciences to have a more immediate impact. He’s exploring the emerging field of bioethics and disinformation with the goal to improve global health.
Based on the results of the study, it turns out we aren’t good at distinguishing the difference between AI-generated content and human-created content. In fact, GPT-3 (which was the model tested at the time) informs and misinforms us really well.
When respondents looked at a series of tweets (if that’s what they’re still called), they couldn’t tell the difference between the ones written by AI or by humans. That’s both impressive and terrifying. Machines are now better at mimicking human communication than humans are at actually communicating.
Interestingly, one of the surprises from the study strongly suggested that humans are better at identifying misinformation than AI. So, for all the social media companies putting AI-based systems in place to reduce misinformation, this potentially seems to be the wrong approach. Perhaps AI can be a first line of defense, but humans do a better job of spotting fake news.
Given the pace of change and advancements in this space, Germani argues we’re going to need much better media and information literacy moving forward. But that in some ways, we can neglect the AI and just focus on teaching critical thinking skills.
You can follow Germani on LinkedIn or on Twitter / X.
Special thanks to Eggy Toast for our show's music.
Unpacking the Consequences of Interacting with AI at Work with Pok Man Tang
What happens when humans spend hours of their workday engaged with artificial intelligence – rather than other people – to help them do their jobs? Well, there’s good news and bad news.
That’s according to my guest today, Pok Man Tang, an assistant professor at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
In a paper he co-authored, he learned there is the potential for positive and negative consequences when people spend their days working with AI-based systems.
The results of this research should make executives think critically before deploying AI assistants to their workforce. And managers should consider how they might amplify and encourage the positive effects and be transparent about the negative ones.
No person is an island: Unpacking the work and after-work consequences of interacting with artificial intelligence.
Thanks for listening! If you have feedback or any questions, contact me at email@example.com.
Music by Eggy Toast
On Taking Advice from Algorithms with Emir Efendić & Philippe van de Calseyde
In the land of artificial intelligence, there’s no shortage of systems seeking to help us make better decisions. From a list of products that “you might also like” to an analytics dashboard letting you know the best time to market to your ideal customer. AI-generated advice is everywhere.
But, what are the social consequences of taking algorithmic advice, such as a robo-advisor for investment choices or a robo-lawyer for legal help? What judgments do we make about people who listen to their advice over actual humans? Well, we know little about how people view others who take algorithm advice.
That sparked the curiosity of my guests, Emir Efendić and Philippe van de Calseyde. Their recent paper, “Taking Algorithmic vs Human Advice Reveals Different Goals to Others,” in the International Journal of Human-computer Interaction looks closely at this topic.
In this episode, I talk with them about what they learned about the social implications of taking advice from algorithms instead of humans. And if you, like most people, are guided by algorithms in your personal or professional life, I think you’ll find this conversation enlightening.
Music by Eggy Toast
Skeptical, Yet Optimistic with Dr. Maria Aretoulaki
Welcome to the first episode of Mediated World, a podcast about technology's (though primarily AI) role in human communication.
In this podcast, I host experts and researchers – from professionals to academics – to dive into the latest studies and unpack them. This work often gets lost in the academic world or overshadowed by bigger headlines. So, I’ll put some attention to them. And we’ll all be smarter for it.
In this first episode, I talk with Dr. Maria Aretoulaki, Head of Voice & Conversational AI at GlobalLogic, a Hitachi Group Company. Dr. Aretoulaki’s work mainly involves call center automation, voicebots, voice assistants, and chatbots. While she believes there are many positive applications for AI, we must also pay attention to the downsides. She offers her thoughts on how we should all navigate this new technology – within our personal and professional lives. I think you’ll enjoy the conversation.
Produced and hosted by Andy Busam
Music by Aldous Ichnite