The Work in the Age of Intelligent Machines Research Coordination Network (WAIM), overseen by iSchool faculty Kevin Crowston and Ingrid Erickson and their colleague Jeffrey Nickerson, awarded five doctoral fellowships for the 2021-22 academic year: Anastazja Harris of the University of Texas Austin, Azra Ismail of Georgia Institute of Technology, Yasmine Kotturi of Carnegie-Mellon University, Virginia Leavell of the University of California Santa Barbara, and Zahra Mobini of the University of Texas Dallas.
Fellows will receive a $50,000 stipend to support their dissertation research and will have the opportunity to share their progression during the WAIM Convergence Conference in the summer of 2022.
“Much of the discussion of the increased capabilities of computers to do work focuses on the risk of people being replaced by machines. But few jobs are completely automatable, so rather than replacement, it is likely that many people will have jobs in which they work with technology,” says Crowston. “These five excellent dissertations, chosen from many strong applications, will advance our understanding of how to design both systems and jobs that enhance worker well-being.”
Harris’ dissertation, “Connecting artificial intelligence literacy and human-AI decision making outcomes in organizational hiring,” explores the connection between decision makers’ AI literacy and their use of AI-based recommendations to assess job applicants. This dissertation research aims to develop a scale measure for perceptions and understanding of AI, or AI literacy, and test the scale within a hiring scenario experiment. The study will also examine whether AI literacy impacts job applicants’ evaluation when working with an AI-based hiring tool.
The dissertation from Ismail, “Towards equitable futures in frontline health: Design of intelligent systems for supporting (gendered) care work in resource-constrained settings,” looks at the design of data-driven and automated systems in frontline health, particularly for women working in low-level positions in the Global South. The research will investigate how data-driven systems could support workers through the use of automation.
“(Co-)Designing a More Inclusive Future of Work,” the dissertation from Kotturi, focuses on creating a more inclusive future of work for diverse genders, ethnicities, racial identities, and socio-economic statuses. The research will create peer-to-peer support systems that leverage human and machine intelligence for skill, identity, and career development among those in non-traditional or alternative working arrangements. The dissertation research will also inform new design methods for inclusive work for vulnerable workers and contribute open-source software systems to introduce algorithms and interaction design paradigms to support human-machine collaboration.
Leavell’s dissertation “Anticipating intelligent technologies: Nonlinear dynamics in the digital transformation of essential water infrastructure” is a multi-site ethnography of digital transformation in water infrastructure. The research will observe how the anticipation of the future affects work, technology, and organizing long before the effects of digital transformation become apparent. The project will also include social network data to track how patterns of interaction and advice-seeking shift in the early stages of selecting and adopting new digital technologies.
For the final dissertation, “How to save a life: Design and implementation of a data-driven alert system for early detection of sepsis,” Mobini will explore the design and implementation of a data-driven automated alert system for sepsis. The research findings will provide guidelines for the development of effective alert systems that can improve the quality of care in various healthcare settings.