Josh Guberman

Undergraduate Research Assistant

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Day 1

I made it in to Oakland International Airport on February 28th about an hour before noon PST. I had some time to spare when I made it to my hotel, so I grabbed some lunch (I ate outside since the weather was beautiful) and got some work done. Eventually, I decided to make my way over to San Francisco since there wasn’t really much to do around my hotel. Getting to the Embarcadero (where the hotel hosting the conference was located) was as easy as hopping on the BART at Coliseum Station. The BART is much nicer than Chicago’s ‘L’ (as is reflected in the higher price).

I made it to the Embarcadero with an hour to spare before the conference’s welcome reception, so I went for a stroll through the park in the space between the Hyatt Regency (where the conference was located) and the Ferry Building. It was while i was making my way through the park to the Ferry Building (I had remembered that there was shop in the Ferry Building that sells great cheese…) that I came across a woman frantically jumping up and down and waving her arms. I looked around and saw a firetruck turning away from where this woman was. It wasn’t until I looked back in her direction that I noticed a man nearby, laying on the ground in an unnatural position. I quickly surmised that this man was the reason for the woman’s frantic behavior as well as for the emergency vehicles, which were headed in the wrong direction…

I ran toward the man on the ground, pushing my way through the small crowd that had gathered around to point and stare. When I reached the man, I got down on the grass and leaned over him, checking for consciousness, breathing, and a pulse. He was drifting in and out of consciousness, but was breathing and had a pulse. The frantic woman, still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, informed me that the man had approached shortly before he passed out, saying that he had taken too much heroin and requesting that she call 911. I told her that I know CPR, and I stayed with the man until the paramedics finally arrived, talking to him (he was in no state to talk back, but he seemed to respond to my voice), trying to keep him conscious, and monitoring him for breathing and pulse.

By the time the man was safely in an ambulance, the welcome reception had already begun. I made the short walk to the Hyatt Regency, where I picked up my name badge for the conference and had a few horderves before making my way back to my hotel.

Day 2

###Opening / Keynote

Early the next morning, I made my way back to San Francisco for the confererence’s Opening / Keynote. The opening keynote speaker was Simon Rogers, a data-journalist at Google. He talked about how how searh-data can best be applied to journalistic persuits. His Prezi presentation had some cool visualizations of data…

Towards Physical and Social Wellness (Paper Session)

In my spare time when I’m not doing work for CaSM Lab @ IIT, I work as a research assistant at the Moller Motivation & Health Psychology Lab. The subject matter of this particular paper session seemed related to some of the projects Professor Moller is working on, so I was interested to attend. All of the talks at this session were particularly interesing. The findings of one of the papers discussed - Persistent Sharing of Fitness App Status on Twitter by Kunwoo Park, Ingmar Weber, Meeyoung Cha, Chul Lee - seemed particularly relevent to one of Professor Moller’s current projects.

My favorite paper from this session was probably One LED is Enough: Catalyzing Face-to-face Interactions at Conferences with a Gentle Nudge by Jay Chen and Azza Abouzied. Using a match-maker algorithm and a wearable device that glows a certain color when a match is nearby, the authors tried to encourage more meaningful and useful social interactions at a previous CSCW conference. Though the results were only somewhat promising, I like the idea behind the device.

Robots As Cooperative Partners… We Hope… (Panel)

After grabbing some lunch with Xi at the Ferry Building, I made my way to this panel. I’ve been fascinated with robots since the first time I read Isaac Asimov’s Robot series back when I was 10, and I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to hear experts on robots talk about the current state of human-robot interaction/human-robot cooperation. As I listened to the panelists talk, I was a little dissapointed as I realized that our robots are not yet anywhere near advanced enough to warrent the existence of robo-psychologists (my fictional dream-job). Nevertheless, the panel was very interesting. It primarily focused on the iterative design process of making telepresence robots easier to interact with for people on both sides of the screen.

Credibility and Social Media (Paper Session)

I managed to catch the the last two of the three talks of this paper session. Both discussed the ways in which rumors exist and proliferate online. Of the two papers, I found Keeping Up with the Tweet-dashians: The Impact of ‘Official’ Accounts on Online Rumoring by Andrews, Fichet, Ding, Spiro, and Starbird particularly interesting. The paper focuses on the role that “official” accounts on Twitter play on the propegation and quelling of rumors, with a specific focus on the official WestJet (@WestJet) and the part it played in the recent rumor about the supposed hijacking of WestJet flight 2154. The talk was fascinating, and I definitely plan on reading the paper.

Poster Session

Finally, it was time for the poster session: the reason I was at the conference. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, this being the first conference I had ever attended, but I think the poster session went pretty well. Libby helped out when the conversation veered away from our scale toward the machine-learning side of things. A lot of people I spoke with seemed genuinely interested in our research, and I met a number of researchers working on similar projects.