Post by Kate Green (2016 Cohort)
So the Michaelmas term at Cambridge has come to an end which means that I have finished my 3 month internship with the Trust and Technology Initiative.
A lot has happened over the course of three months and I would like to take this time to reflect on some highlights:
The Trust and Technology Initiative Launch; I helped cover the photography of the event as well as presenting my research.
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MCCRC Symposium – organised by my colleagues, this symposium and workshop provided me with some insight into the legal side of privacy.
Value in Personal Data workshop at the Digital Catapult – I attended a brunch workshop that explored putting a monetary value on personal data.
Misinfocon – as part of Mozfest’s programme this conference explored minsinformation in today’s society. This was particularly interesting from a public health perspective and the impact of misinformation on epidemics. I wrote some reflections for the Initiative’s blog.
Hannah Fry talk – I attended Hannah’s talk on her recent book on algorithms.
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USB-C talk from Google – this was a little too technical for me, but it was interesting to learn about the challenges of USB-C in laptop design.
Lunchtime talk with Prof Simon Schaffer – who talked about Babbage who didn’t invent the computer, but in fact replaced them…
Aside from different events, I met lots of new people from different areas from sociology to law, to computer science, to psychology.
I think this was a good time for me to take three months away from my PhD and explore different (but not unrelated) areas. It’s given me some perspective and a sense of where my PhD fits in the wider context.
In terms of work, I first of all started to explore the personal data downloads from social media platforms. I looked at the ease of access, the file types and device compatibility. I was interested to see how personal data downloads might be useful for social media users who participate in online health communities.
While this area was interesting, I wanted to make sure that the internship had a tangible outcome that could be useful for my PhD. I began to explore my interview data from my first study and specifically focused on a question I asked around ‘trust’. I had not analysed this part of the study because I was unsure of its relevance and usefulness, however, whilst at the Trust and Tech Initiative I felt like this was an opportune moment to explore it. I am hoping to write the findings up more formally and submit it to a conference proceedings in 2019.
When I shared the findings with my colleagues at the Initiative and it was felt that my exploration of trust through a transdisciplinary lens could serve as a useful resource for others entering the conversation. I have been writing up a report that uncovers one approach to talk about trust in technology and I use online health communities as an example case study. Once it has all been tidied up and formatted into a well-designed document it will be published by the Initiative.
Overall I feel that the internship was a positive experience; however, I am looking forward to focusing back on my PhD. The break was welcomed and now I feel it’s done its purpose.