Amplifying the Griot: Technology for Preserving, Retelling, and Supporting Underrepresented Stories

dc.contributor.authorKotut, Lindah Jeropen
dc.contributor.committeechairMcCrickard, D. Scotten
dc.contributor.committeememberHorning, Michael A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMitra, Tanushreeen
dc.contributor.committeememberRamakrishnan, Narendranen
dc.contributor.committeememberSu, Normanen
dc.contributor.departmentComputer Scienceen
dc.description.abstractAs we develop intelligent systems to handle online interactions and digital stories, how do we address those stories that are unwritten and invisible? How do ensure that communities who value oral histories are not left behind, and their voices also inform the design of these systems? How do we determine that the technology we design respect the agency and ownership of the stories, without imposing our own biases? To answer these questions, I rely on accounts from different underrepresented communities, as avenues to examine how digital technology affect their stories, and the agency they have over them. From these stories, I elicit guidelines for the design of equitable and resilient tools and technologies. I sought wisdom from griots who are master storytellers and story-keepers on the craft of handling both written and unwritten stories, which instructed the development of the Respectful Space for technology typology, a framework that informs our understanding and interaction with underrepresented stories. The framework guided the approach to understand technology use by inhabitants of rural spaces in the United States--particularly long-distance hikers who traverse these spaces. I further discuss the framework's extensibility, by considering its use for community self-reflection, and for researchers to query the ethical implications of their research, the technology they develop, and the consideration for the voices that the technology amplifies or suppresses. The intention is to highlight the vast resources that exist in domains we do not consider, and the importance of the underrepresented voices to also inform the future of technology.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralAdvances in technology do not always consider how they affect group interactions, and the resulting tensions for marginal and underrepresented groups and contexts. As more technological advances focus on these contexts and communities, it is important to consider, identify, and examine these tensions and their effect on communities. We use stories from different communities as avenues for understanding technological impact, and as guides for the design of equitable and resilient tools and technologies. Stories are accessible, universal, and powerful. They guide the design of the Respectful Space for technology typology that I describe in this dissertation. Stories also allow for a combination of different areas of research: we can use Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to understand the impact of technology on human behavior, parse human language with Natural Language Processing (NLP), understand patterns in storytelling with machine learning, and leverage theories from social sciences to understand how people think, how they organize themselves, and how this translates to online spaces. I present three studies in this dissertation whose broad aims are to elicit guidelines for designing respectful technologies, and to guide our design approach for underrepresented contexts based on stories from these spaces. Using the respectful approach as a scaffold, I then give context to other research domains: informing the design of tools to amplify other communities to tell their own stories offline and online, and, more broadly, in providing spaces to query how these techniques offer key opportunities to understand other emerging and growing areas in computer science including ethics, and fairness and accountability in algorithm design.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectRespectful Technologyen
dc.subjectSocial Network Analysisen
dc.subjectPostcolonial Computingen
dc.subjectHuman Computer Interactionen
dc.titleAmplifying the Griot: Technology for Preserving, Retelling, and Supporting Underrepresented Storiesen
dc.typeDissertationen Science and Applicationsen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Philosophyen
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