The difficulty of making good creative decisions constrains human productivity. My work focuses on how we might make creative decisions in the future, with help from computational systems, improving speed and reliability, through a range of related research foci.
Computationally representing creative decisions in a structured way, enabling computer processing, has been challenging because humans are also usually unsure of the best way to do it.
For my PhD, I have introduced an automatic, grammar-based system for structuring information (DCC'16). We applied this tool to data from design, architecture, and abstract systems (AI EDAM forthcoming). We used this representation technique for detecting subtle differences between data sets, comparably accurately to previous efforts, but requiring almost 10 times less data.
Mentoring several groups of undergraduate students at CMU and in the Pitt i3 program, we have worked to build systems that are made stronger by encouraging humans and computers to work together. For example, We have explored how socio-technical systems can provide novel insight into new product development opportunities, by performing computational analysis on Amazon product reviews (iConference'16). In ongoing work, we are studying how novice humans can be supported by computer systems to provide rich design insight.
Crowdsourcing tools today offer ad hoc and remote work arrangements at an unprecedented scale, yet many of the perks of traditional jobs have not yet been realized for this community; no benefits, limited community of support, systems hindering economic mobility.
I am part of the Stanford Crowd Research Collective, a group of almost 1000 collaborators from around the world, led by Stanford professor Michael Bernstein. We conduct research as a crowd, and are developing Daemo (CSCW'17 demo), a new crowdsourcing platform that aims to mitigate many of the shortcomings of crowdsourcing today.
We also introduced crowd guilds (CSCW'17), a way to improve reputation and feedback within crowdsourcing, inspired by traditional worker guilds, and we have developed the Daemo Constitution (Collective Intelligence'17), a mechanism for self governance in crowdsourcing marketplaces.
Using incentives to motivate human behavior is very effective, but if the incentives are poorly designed the resulting behavior is rarely the desired one. For example, requiring a certain number of characters of feedback in an online feedback form is more likely to lead to feedback padded with spaces than higher quality responses. With algorithmic game theory, a branch of economics, incentives can be carefully designed to achieve specific behavioral goals.
Together with Dilrukshi Gamage, Thejan Rajapakshe, Haritha Thilakarathne, Indika Perera, and Shantha Fernando, we have explored how aligning the incentives for peer feedback in online learning helps improve the perceived quality and length of the feedback (L@S'17). We have used similar approaches for crowd guilds (CSCW'17) and boomerang (UIST'16) with the Stanford Crowd Research Collective.