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SAMANSVAR-Ansvarlig innovasjon og bedriftenes samfunnsansvar

Responsible adoption of visual surveillance technologies in the news media

Awarded: NOK 18.8 mill.

The ViSmedia project concerns the social implications of visual technologies and innovation in the news media. The project is intradisciplinary and transnational. It builds on the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) and responds to the grand societal challenges of knowledge and security. The project was prompted by the rapid global growth of new technologies with surveillance potential. The core group included a dozen researchers from the social science, humanities, and technology disciplines in Norway, Finland, and the USA, and a multitude of user groups. Technologies such as camera drones, smartphones, virtual reality (VR) tools, and artificial intelligence (AR) contribute to strengthening journalism transparency and accountability. However, the potential of such technologies for the surveillance and manipulation of individuals, groups, and societies is nearly unlimited. While in democratic countries, the legitimate, societal responsibility of the news media is often taken for granted, the legitimacy is at stake due to new technologies? emerging capacity for dissemination of all kinds of information in real-time. The project approach was experimental and process-oriented. The RRI principles of promoting responsible research and innovation through anticipatory, reflexive, engaging, and adaptive methods have served as guidelines for the project?s activities. We identified how expanding tools, such as drones, smartphones, and digital maps, were applied in journalism locally and globally. We invited students and representatives of media businesses and the government to engage in critical thinking and anticipatory activities on these issues. We also mapped how the news media, through the use and sale of cookies to third parties, surveil their users. Patterns of news spin in social media, semi-illegal image sharing on the internet, and dystopian science fiction series further amplify the ethical complexities of emergent technologies with surveillance potential. Tools and emerging practices of VR storytelling also challenge journalism codes of conduct. We dived into complex issues of journalism ethics, transparency, and credibility related to artificial intelligence and the production of fake news?more specifically, how deepfakes might influence democratic elections. The manipulation of videos might harm the people who are exposed and might reduce the accountability of the news institution and societal trust in general. Our research indicates that technology experts and policymakers should be responsible for mitigating such risks in the early stages of technology development. Our studies also demonstrate how the building of scenarios, by proposing alternative technological futures, can contribute to reducing societal uncertainties. Through the anticipatory approaches to studying risk technologies, we engaged broadly in the further development of student active learning. Today?s students are tomorrow?s developers and decision-makers. We, therefore, involved large groups of students in experiments and other forms of co-research at the Universities of Bergen and Jyväskylä, Finland. The media cluster Media City Bergen opened up for further intradisciplinary research and collaboration across journalism, TV production, and media and interaction design programs. The innovation pedagogy approach in media and interaction design provided prototypes for journalism?s use of risk technologies. Students from four media disciplines have participated consecutively in planning and conducting seminars, workshops, and conferences. In accordance with RRI, the researchers in the ViSmedia project have contributed anticipatory advice and input to higher education, government, and media businesses. The project was finalized with the Visual Futures of the Media Conference Jan 19, 2021, which was livestreamed from Bergen University Aula with presenters placed in five countries. Publications, interviews, conference videos, and other results are accessible on the project website www.vismedia.org, later www.uib.no/vismedia. Here you will also find video clips from all five ViSmedia conferences, and other types of data that can be reused for research and teaching and learning purposes. Information about publications, events, and other results is accessible on the project website www.vismedia.org, later www.uib.no/vismedia. Here you will find news items, video clips from the ViSmedia conferences in the University Aula in Bergen, and other types of data that can be reused for research and teaching and learning purposes.

The aim of this research project is to investigate and explore how a responsible adaption, innovation and application of visual surveillance technologies in digital news media can be optimized, and how such knowledge can contribute to further developing and strengthening journalism and the news institution as a responsible and credible actor in society. Using responsible research and innovation (RRI) as a methodological framework, the main research question is how the increasing demand for, and use of, visual material in digital news media creates both opportunities and dilemmas with respect to responsible and sustainable 1) technological and computational exploration in journalism 2) journalistic ethics, transparency, and accountability and 3) journalistic education, innovation, and dissemination. These three themes address issues of societal responsibility in production, collection, selection, and dissemination of visual content in journalism from experimental, technological, theoretical, ethical, educative, collaborative, and societal vantage points. The project will analyze empirically, experimentally, and conceptually the professional and societal challenges and dilemmas prompted by the innovation, adoption, and application of emerging visual technologies to journalism and the news media. Analyses focus on the interdependencies of the local, the international, and the global - comparing findings, experiments and theorizing through collaboration with a team of international researchers, and with the assistance of media students at the University of Bergen, collaborative news organizations at the evolving media cluster Media City Bergen, and a national, stakeholder based advisory board.

Publications from Cristin

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SAMANSVAR-Ansvarlig innovasjon og bedriftenes samfunnsansvar