Welcome back to Researcher Radio. In this season we will delve into the world of academic publishing and publisher relationships with authors. In this episode, we will discuss the following themes that follow the author journey. This includes the pre-submission and journal selection process, submission and peer review process, and post-publication marketing and aftercare. If you have any questions or if you would like to participate in an up and coming webinar, feel free to send an email to [email protected]
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On Monday this week, Mark was at a Royal Society conference on changing research culture, where he was awarded a prize for changing research culture with colleagues Rich Young and Tanya Collavo. Find out about their idea to create a Tinder for researchers and hear ideas that emerged from the conference via interviews with participants.
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Timnit recently completed her postdoc in the Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics (FATE) group at Microsoft Research, New York. Prior to that, she was a PhD student at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, studying computer vision under Fei-Fei Li. She also co-founded Black in AI, an organization that works to increase diversity in the field and to reduce the negative impact of racial bias in training data used for machine learning models.
She was born and raised in Ethiopia. As an ethnic Eritrean, she was forced to flee Ethiopia at age 15 because of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. She eventually got political asylum in the United States. “This is all very related to the things I care about now because I can see how division works,” she explains during a conversation with Margot Gerritsen, Stanford professor and host of the Women in Data Science podcast. “Things that may seem little, like visas, really change people’s lives.”
Last year, she said that half of the Black in AI speakers could not go to NeurIPS because of different visa issues. “And in that 20 seconds, that visa denial, it feels like the whole world is ending for you because you have an opportunity that’s missed… Not being able to attend these conferences is much more important than people know.”
She has learned through her work with Black in AI that the number one thing we need to do is empower people from marginalized communities, which is why diversity, inclusion and ethics are not at all separate. It’s essential to have a wider group of people in the world determining where AI technology goes and what research questions we pursue. She says the industry has been pretty receptive to her proposals around norms, process and transparency because they are easier to operationalize. However, there are other things like racism and sexism where we need a fundamental shift in culture.
She has seen the potential for unintended consequences with AI research. Her PhD thesis at Stanford utilized Google maps data to predict income, race, education level, and voting patterns at the zip code level. She saw some follow up research using a similar methodology to determine what kind of insurance people should have. “And that is very scary to me. I don’t think we should veer off in that direction using Google Street View.” She says she wishes you could attach an addendum to your earlier research where you talk about your learnings and your intentions for how the work be used. Timnit is currently working on large-scale analysis using computer vision to analyze society with lots of publicly available images. She says it’s critical that she also spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of this research.
In October of 2019, Google announced their supercomputer had reached quantum supremacy. With that announcement, and as we take a short break for the holidays, we thought we should replay a prior Big Brains episode for you with David Awschalom, one of the world’s leading quantum scientists.
Awschalom is turning what was once in the realm of science fiction into reality—which could offer revolutionary breakthroughs in communications, digital encryption, sensor technology and even medicine.
Dashun Wang, associate professor at Kellogg School of Management, crunched big datasets of entrepreneurs, scientists, and even terrorist organizations to better understand the fine line between failure and success. One surprising finding is that people who experience early failures often become more accomplished than counterparts who achieve early successes. Another insight is that the pace of failure is an indicator of the tipping point between stagnation and eventual success. Wang is a coauthor of the study in the journal Nature: “Quantifying the dynamics of failure across science, startups and security.”
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Susie was dinosaur-mad as a child. But unlike most children, she never grew out of her obsession. She tells Jim about an exciting new stegosaur find in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and describes the time she spent dinosaur hunting (with a toddler in tow) in the Morrison Formation in the American Mid-West: a place where there are thought to be enough dinosaur remains to keep a thousand paleontologists happy for a thousand years.
She is at her happiest out in the field, with a hammer and a notebook, studying rocks and looking for dinosaur remains. We tend to lump dinosaurs together as though they all roamed the earth at the same time which is silly – given that they had the run of the place for nearly two hundred million years. Susie wants to sort out exactly which dinosaurs lived when. Although she warns, the fossil record is woefully incomplete. We will probably only ever know about 1% of what there is to know about all the dinosaurs that ever lived.
Producer: Anna Buckley
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