HSSH's first Datafication Research Festival brought together about 80 researchers from the City Centre Campus on March 17th for a whole day of discussions about the rapidly developing questions of a data-driven society and its research.
The festival started with Professor Minna Ruckenstein's lecture which construed the study of digitalized life. The work of HSSH's Datafication Research Program was presented by Program Directors Katja Valaskivi, Eetu Mäkelä and Emilia Palonen, as well as the program's postdoctoral researchers Narges Azizifard, Feeza Vasudeva and Dayei Oh. In the afternoon, researchers at the City Centre Campus, and from different disciplines and different research groups presented their own research linked to datafication.
"Our goal was to involve different research groups from around the City Centre Campus. We noticed that research group thinking is not very strong yet. However, a room full of researchers who were interested in these topics gathered at the event with short notice. This is a promising start for the datafication research network and the cooperation between HSSH and the faculties on similar themes, materials and methods," says Emilia Palonen.
To wrap up the festival day, a panel consisting of Centre Campus researchers discussed ChatGPT and its impact on the future of teaching and research at the university. Professor Jaana Hallamaa, Professor Petri Myllymäki, University Researcher Matti Pohjonen, University Lecturer Anna-Mari Rusanen and Senior University Lecturer Arho Toikka participated in the panel.
"Our panel on critical perspectives to ChatGPT was a thought-provoking discussion that brought together experts from various fields to examine the implications of conversational AI in the university setting. It was an enlightening conversation that challenged our assumptions and highlighted the need for continued critical examination of this technology," Matti Pohjonen, who works at HSSH's Methodological Unit, commented using ChatGPT to generate his response in the spirit of the panel.
Datafication Research Program director Emilia Palonen moderated the ChatGPT panel and felt the task was a privilege. "There were experts from different corners of the university, and all of them had a lot of relevant things to say - and the audience was also able to join in on a Friday afternoon. The hour reserved for the panel was tight. More of this kind of discussion is needed," says Palonen.
The first Datafication Research Festival focused on the formation, transformation, and perceptions of epistemic communities in the contemporary condition of datafication and starting the tradition of bringing together research groups in the field at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki.