Skip down to main content

Dieter Schwarz Foundation Project Awards announced

Dieter Schwarz Foundation Project Awards announced

Published on
29 Apr 2024
Written by
Kathryn Eccles, Ekaterina Hertog, Vili Lehdonvirta, Adam Mahdi and Helen Margetts
Five faculty members have received Dieter Schwarz Foundation (DSF) funding, enabling them to begin new 12-month research projects at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

Five faculty members have received Dieter Schwarz Foundation (DSF) funding, enabling them to begin new 12-month research projects at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

Five Oxford Internet Institute (OII) Faculty members have received Dieter Schwarz Foundation (DSF) funding to enable them to begin new 12-month research projects through the foundation funded research programmes at the OII.  The projects are related to the theme of AI, specifically AI and Culture, AI and Health Care, AI and Social Care; Digital Government and Personal Computing.  The projects will start from 01 April 2024. 

Here the award recipients introduce us to their projects. 

Professor Kathryn Eccles: AI is not photography: AI, cultural categories, and occupational legitimacy. 

“My project explores the impact of AI image generation on the occupational legitimacy of professional photographers. With the emergence of advanced AI image generation tools this technology has the capacity to create photorealistic images and art from text prompts. This raises the question of how AI has intruded into the professional spaces of creative professionals, with AI variously framed as a collaborator, tool or competitor. By engaging with the practices of professional photographers this project situates the current debates on AI and photography within an historical context in which new technologies threaten and expose notions of what constitutes ‘art’ and creative practice.” 

Professor Ekaterina Hertog: The Promise of AI in Childcare: Comparative Analysis of Parental Control Apps to Support the Work of Childcare. 

“Most parents spend a substantial amount of time caring for their children, and childcare work is often concentrated at the time when both men and women are also expected to invest heavily in their careers. The demands of childcare have also been on the rise throughout the Global North, especially among families with parents with college education. As the work parents do to raise their children intensifies, it is not surprising that parents are increasingly turning to technology for help. This project examines monitoring technologies, often referred to as “parental control apps”, and how parents use them as part of supervisory childcare.” 

Katya Hertog

Professor Vili Lehdonvirta: Understanding the Causes of the Reverse Personal Computing Revolution. 

“In the 1980s, the so-called personal computing revolution saw large mainframes give way to personal computers and local servers. This project argues that we are now seeing a reverse of this trend, with the massive data centres underpinning cloud computing leading to a massive centralization of computation. In an environment where the infrastructure of cloud computing is overwhelmingly dominated by a handful of providers, this may see some of the political and economic consequences of previous decades also being reversed. As the development of frontier AI systems is dominated by these technology giants, understanding of this recentralization process is crucial for future policymaking.” 

Vili Lehondvirta

Dr Adam Mahdi: From Notes to Narratives: Assessing the Use of Large Language Models in Medical Communications. 

“In the context of ongoing resource constraints and recruitment challenges in healthcare systems, policymakers are increasingly considering the role that can be played by AI tools in alleviating these pressures. My project aims to provide insights into the potential applications for Large Language Models in medical contexts, evaluating both their benefits and risks. In particular, it will explore the reliability of large language models ability to producing reports from medical notes, and their ability to replicate the social skills required for doctor-patient communication.” 

Adam Mahdi

Professor Helen Margetts: When do citizens speak to government in a digital society? Exploring people’s willingness for digital exchange of information with government agencies and democratic representatives. 

“The ability for citizens to exchange information with their government is crucial to the functioning of democratic government, however we know little about how such exchange takes place in practice. This project seeks to assess what we do know about how citizens speak to their governments over time, and the potential impact that emerging AI technologies could have on democratic communication. In particular, it seeks to identify the impact that an AI-powered ‘conversational’ interaction might have on citizens’ willingness to engage with their governments.” 

Helen Margetts

All the award recipients and the Oxford Internet Institute would like to thank the Dieter Schwarz Foundation for their generous support. 


Related Topics