Professor Claudia Roda

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  The American University Of Paris


My research has recently developed along two main axes: (1) attention aware systems and (2) the impact of digital technology on societal organization.

1. Attention-aware systems

Human Attention in Digital Environments A defining factor of successful human communication is the ability of a communicator to adapt to the attentional state of the receivers. This ability to detect, reason about, and adapt to the attentional state of communication partners is fundamental in human communication. Systems capable to adapt to the attentional state of the user (Attention-Aware Systems) would, not only support more natural interaction, but also contribute to the reduction of the cognitive overload generated by the extensive use of digital technology. (more)

Attentional processes guide the allocation of cognitive and physical resources allowing one to both perceive the environment and act upon it; they also play an important role in many of the problematic situations faced by users of ICT environments. Understanding and appropriately supporting attention allocation would enable reducing information overload, limit the negative effects of interruptions, increase situation awareness, and support users in situations of multi-tasking.

The state of the art are “hard wired” solutions which unfortunately break down when the type and number of devices, applications, and people change over time, when people frequently interleave several activities and are interrupted (by other people or devices), and when the activity on a system is just one element of a much more complex network of interactions. At the same time these are precisely the types of environments where people find themselves in today, as complex networked information systems consisting of (among others) smart phones, public displays and divers electronic assistants (e.g. in the car) and monitors pervade all areas of our lives. (hide)

My research focuses on systems where multiple devices dynamically coordinate their interaction with the user so that they autonomously adapt their responses to the user’s attentional needs in the current situation (here you can see a simple simulated example of system behaviour). I expect that attention based device coordination will enable intuitive access to multiple devices by a larger portion of the population supporting in particular those operating under stress conditions (e.g. control rooms, drivers) or less capable of coping with high cognitive loads (e.g. elderly, differently able).

This research, which is currently mostly based on findings in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, also extends to include social aspects of attention. (more)

For example, I have explored the significance of Attention Aware System within the attention economy, studied the relationship between attention and creativity, investigated the role of attention in computer supported collaborative learning, and I have used activity theory to analyse “digital narratives” identifying the impact of digital tools in the process of narrative-based identity formation. (hide)

2. Impact of digital technology on societal organization

I have explored how the formal human rights framework on a national and international level interacts with information technology to provide citizens with leverage to intervene in governance in a myriad of new ways. Designers and regulators are faced with difficult decisions with respect to issues such as security, privacy, access, health defence, children and minority protection, transparency, control, etc. The analysis is based on a series of cases that illustrate the tough choices citizens and societies must make in order to harness the potential of digital technology, while balancing a range of human rights whose very functioning is called into question. For example, I am one of the principle scientist in the EC funded project PRIPARE external link, which aims at facilitating the application of a privacy and security-by-design methodology that will contribute to the advent of unhindered usage of Internet against disruptions, censorship and surveillance, and support its practice by the ICT research community to prepare for industry practice.

You can access my collection of useful links to privacy material and information about the course and introductory workshop on privacy by design.

Lecture: Digital tightrope: Use and abuse of perceptual technologies - Scientific meeting on Perceptual technologies: from laboratory to real life at the Laboratorio di Azione, Percezione e Cognizione, San Raffaele 1.6.2017

Interview: Le design de l'attention (digitalsocietyforum) 26.11.2015

Seminar: Attention automatisée et design d’interface : Eyes tracking, GoogleGlass et Quantified Self – Le design de l’attention: Création et Automatisation - Institut de recherche et d’innovation Centre Pompidou and Biennale internationale de design de Saint-Etienne 24 March 2014

Panelist: Privacy in Computer Science Education – Computer, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) Conference 2015

On BBC-World The Forum: about interruptions - 12.1.2015

AUP's Principal Scientist for the PRIPARE project (PReparing Industry to Privacy-by-design by supporting its Application in REsearch) launched October 1st 2013.

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(c) 2013-2015 Claudia Roda