ADM+S News and Media Research Symposium 2021: Conclusion
6 October 2021

Dr Jake Goldenfein, AI, ADM+S
Prof Julian Thomas, Director, ADM+S
Prof Jean Burgess, Associate Director, ADM+S
Prof Julian Thomas, Director, ADM+S
Dr James Meese, AI, ADM+S
Zahra Stardust, Research Staff, ADM+S
Dr Ariadna Matamoros-Fernandez, AI, ADM+S
Kathy Nickels, Professional Staff, ADM+S
Watch the recording
Duration: 0:10:38


Dr Jake Goldenfein: 

Thanks so much. Firstly, thanks to everyone for and absolutely brilliant event, and to all the organisers and everything. I’ve had a much better time than I anticipated was possible in a hybrid format, so that’s you know, brilliant. I don’t want to take up very much time. James and i are just quickly here to announce the outcomes of yesterday’s breakout room activity. I know i said that there wouldn’t be any winners but i changed my mind and there are winners. So, with respect to the groups that I had, if those some of you went, when in attendance we had some collaborative grant pictures for potentially limitless amounts of money, and i had two fabulous proposals. Group one or rather group one as represented by a generative pre-trained transformer natural language model; proposed a fascinating mixed methods approach to recommender systems analysis and governance, that consisted mainly of repetition plagiarism banality and like rap music. That was pretty amazing, and group two proposed a community built public service voice-assistant smart speaker, with a Bluey persona. I think attempting to incorporate public service media priorities from the ABC into the sort of technological management of the home, but maybe at the same time perhaps not realising that Bluey is now primarily controlled by Disney. Or perhaps, actually realising that, and secretly proposing a project that’s about how there isn’t really any longer an outside of the corporation, even within our imagination of what public service media might be. So really, they’re both two frightening dystopian projects, and for absolutely no reason at all, and on the basis of totally arbitrary criteria i did choose a winner. And to me the idea of a natural language model just producing and reproducing the parameters for its own oversight and critique, was just a little bit too frightening to deal with because of how likely it is to actually already be true. So, in the end i chose the proposal that involved humans having some input into the oversight and construction of our media environment because it seems important for the sake of like, convincing myself that this job has a future. So representative of group two in Brisbane, I think is Jean.

So, there is a prize for you and so, it’s celebrations!

Prof Julian Thomas: 

What a surprise. We can’t see it from here.

Prof Jean Burgess: 

Can we, have it?

It’s a very a very small but very precious trophy I believe Sylvia is in this group as well, right? So Sylvia this one’s for you and the ABC.

Dr James Meese: 

Yes, and now it’s time for me to step in and um you know, just quickly. While I’ve got the floor, I also just want to express my thanks especially to Kathy and Tyler, who’ve done so much on the back-end to make today and yesterday possible. And they’ve just been you know, just a fantastic pair of work to kind of keep things moving so I just want to express my thanks there and obviously to everybody else on the floor at QUT who are kind of keeping things moving. We had a really great set of proposals. I only had one stand up but i didn’t want to put in a special mention to group four, which was headed up by Kylie Papillardo and Jenny Kennedy, who just completely ignored the grants and decided to just talk, which was kind of a point anyway. So a real special commendation to them for doing what the real point of the project was, which was just to kind of connect with one another but i was really impressed and again with Jake. Completely arbitrary criteria but as we’ve already seen from Jane, a very important prize. Group three which raised the question of how do we use recommended systems to boost and amplify marginalised voices? But what I love about this proposal is there wasn’t actually a resolution except this. These prompts just led to more questions. You know, who’s deserving of more visibility? You know, to what extent would people like to be amplified? You know, what’s the difference between recommendation and curation? And i think what’s really fascinating about this grant is even though it didn’t come up with an answer, as it points to some of the kind of difficulty of some of these problems. And the really, the need for the Centre, that you know these questions just get more questions, and it kind of signals the kind of scope of work that we’re going to be doing over the next seven years. So, with that in mind i want to congratulate group three and call Ariadna as the in-person-representative to accept the very valuable prize.

Dr Zahra Stardust: 

Can I say this is just hilarious because we basically just started with one research question and then kept unpacking all the problems with the research question. And then that led to more questions, and we i didn’t think we even decided on a method and then suddenly our time was up, and we closed the laptop and forgot all about it. So, you just got essentially a transcript of our deliberations, but thank you.

Dr Ariadna Matamoros-Fernandez: 

Thanks James very much appreciated.

Kathy Nickels: 

Thank you for that. That was amazing and just sorry, listening to Jake explain some of those projects, i don’t know how you came up with so many ideas in like 20 minutes! That’s really impressive. Yes, so thank you everyone it’s been a blast and just over to Julian now.

Prof Julian Thomas: 

Hi, just wanted to say as with Jake, I mean it’s been wonderful and sincere thanks I think from all of us, to the extraordinary team at QUT, which has made this happen. Kathy, Taal, Axel of course, who has led this focus area through our first phase of establishment and development. And you’ve seen the extraordinary projects that have, that are already underway, and that are so promising and interesting.

Thanks also, especially to the DNRC, for being such a wonderful host at QUT for us, for this first public event for the Centre. I really can’t think of a of a better place to have done it. It’s been surprisingly fantastic actually, to be part of it remotely and it’s been yeah, really stimulating and exciting and I think has done exactly what we actually hope this event would do. Which has been to traverse really, the full range of activity across the Centre, and across many of our partners as well. So, we’ve moved, I think you know, really quickly across a whole range of programs. A whole range of the constituent disciplines across the centre. Across the work of our partner organisations, we’ve heard a lot about them today, and yesterday, and of course across the different parts of the Centre, different centres and research areas, across all the universities which comprise the Centre. So i think that’s been wonderful because we’ve seen what sorts of connections can be made and are being made, and are already you know, bearing a lot, all sorts of fruit. So, you know that’s been really wonderful for me. And i hope that everybody else has got as much out of it as I have. Having said that it has been great i am also hoping that we maybe we don’t need to do this again or that if we do it next time it will be different. We very much of course like to be there with you and i hope that we can do that next year and sooner rather than later. So that is of course the plan. There’s so much energy and excitement around the research agenda for this Centre. I really feel as though the best way to make the most of it, to leverage that and to move on is to work together and collaborate. And there is actually- in the end, no alternative, no substitute for what we can do working together and in person where we can. So, my thank you’s to everybody and because it really has been such a wonderful event and really looking forward to next year when James and Jean are taking this focus area further. So, we’ll see where we go then but thank you everybody.

Prof Jean Burgess: 

Thanks Julian. That’s it, goodbye, have a great long weekend people up here in Queensland. Bye everybody on zoom, see you soon.