Eric P. S. Baumer
I study the complex interconnections between technology design and its societal effects. What role does technology play in mediating communication and social interaction? What roles could it play, should it play, or should it not play?
These questions pose difficult technical and conceptual challenges. We cannot fully understand the societal ramifications of computational and information technologies without examining the technical components of their design. Conversely, we cannot adequately design or implement such technologies without a thorough understanding of their human and social dimensions.
Thus, my research applies a deeply interdisciplinary synthesis across computer science and social science, simultaneously drawing on and contributing to both. I integrate techniques from quantitative, qualitative, technical, and design-oriented research to surface, or even to challenge, technology’s own political commitments and social effects.
This work is motivated by three complementary interests. First, I study everyday beliefs about how we should use, or at times not use, social media. Second, I design and implement computational tools to enable new ways of understanding natural language communication. Third, I explore how computational tools can support people in reflecting on the deeper implications of data.
By studying and designing novel configurations of social and computational systems, my research contributes concepts and tools essential for understanding, and for creating, the future of social technology.