Academic Work

Comments and platforms – Master thesis

For my master’s thesis I performed a research project, comparing comments on news articles from Facebook and from a news sites comment section. The research led to the creation of the website commentsandplatforms.net.

Abstract

Online comment sections are often seen as places of vile and hostile speech. Previous researchers have focused on anti-social behavior online, and a lot of research and theorizing have been done on the role of anonymity. To combat hostile and unwanted comments, many publishers have closed their comment sections, and are instead using their Facebook pages as a forum for interaction with their readers and facilitating comments on news articles. The current research explores how commenting on Facebook differs from commenting on a newspapers website by performing a qualitative analysis of comments on the same articles from both platforms. 12 categories of comments have been created. Comments from VG’s Facebook page and comment sections have been categorized, analyzed and compared with each other. It was found that there were more questions, suggestions, argumentative, informative and derogatory comments on VG’s comment sections. There were more reactive and supportive comments on VG’s Facebook page, in addition to tagging comments that were written to direct specific people’s attention to an article. It was also found that there were more emoticons and a lower average word count on Facebook, and that there were more conversations and discussions in the comment sections on vg.no. After discovering that the results of this study showed an equal number of derogatory comments as a study by Rowe (2015), a second study was performed: Rowe’s coding scheme was replicated to find if his explanation of anonymity as the cause of incivility online was valid. This could not be confirmed, suggesting that anonymity cannot be used as a single explanatory factor for online incivility. A combination of technological, psychological and social factors have been suggested in this thesis to explain the observed differences. The design of Facebook does not encourage longer comments. The affordances of using Facebook, in combination with Facebook users’ socio-emotional motivations for commenting and the effects of the echo chamber and filter bubbles, results in shorter, more reactive comments, and fewer conversations between users. Finally, to evaluate the democratic value of commenting on the two platforms, the results have been put into context of the Habermasion Public Sphere, where it was found that comments on comment sections are closer to the ideal requirements for good public debate. In addition to this thesis, my research led to the creation of the website commentsandplatforms.net.

 

Ethical Challenges of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (Pdf)

An academic paper where I consider some of the ethical dilemmas we will face in a future with self-aware artificial intelligence.

Abstract

In this essay we will be discussing some of the ethical dilemmas that arise around the topic of artificial intelligence and robotics. We will be using the television series “Real Humans” to provide examples of the issues that arise when A.I. and robots become a major part of the human society. After looking at science fiction as a genre and artificial intelligence as a concept, the discussion will evolve around the issues of free will, consciousness, the rights and treatment of A.I., and the usage of A.I. as labor. Finally, the similarity between a proposed artificial intelligence and the human mind will be considered in order to come to a conclusion about the rights of A.I.

 

Intelligent Prosthetics (Pdf)

An academic paper where I suggest the creation of new, intelligent prosthetic limbs. Can intelligent self-operating prosthetics, fitted with artificial intelligence and sensors allowing for situational awareness, provide a more practical interaction with the user’s environment than unintelligent prosthetics that require direct human control to perform any action?