Home / Events / Automating the Crowd: Workshop 2

Automating the Crowd: Workshop 2

Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 11.30am to 3.30pm

Workshop Organisers:

Anne Alexander (CDH), Ann Borda (University of Melbourne), Siddharth Soni (Faculty of English, University of Cambridge), Kirstie Whitaker (Alan Turing Institute).

This workshop will create a space for reflection and discussion on the relationship between the work done using AI and the humans who make AI work, by weaving together the untold stories of the workers and volunteers whose effort powers AI systems with discussions of the impact of those systems on society.

In contrast to contributions to current academic and policy debates which focus on finding technical or legal solutions to discriminatory outcomes of AI systems, we emphasise the unequal social relationships which underpin automation. Through bringing together case studies of micro-work platforms, Machine Learning systems for image classification, citizen science projects and open source software communities, speakers will offer a broad perspective on the relationship between human and machines in AI systems.

Automating the Crowd 2 follows on from a workshop held at the Alan Turing Institute in January 2019 ( providing an opportunity for a wider audience to engage with the themes highlighted in that event, while opening up a space to discuss new topics. The workshop series forms one of the activities underpinning the Automating the Crowd writing project, which will produce a collaboratively-written book aimed at a public audience interested in computing and artificial intelligence, and social,ethical and economic questions related to their development

This workshop will run from 11.30am – 3.30pm, and is free of charge and open to all.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Supported by: Cambridge Digital Humanities, Cambridge Big Data, Alan Turing Institute

Forthcoming talks

Noise-Aware Differentially Private Synthetic Data

Tuesday, 28 June 2022, 12.00pm to 1.00pm
Speaker: Antti Honkela, University of Helsinki
Venue: Hybrid, CBL Seminar room, Department of Engineering, and Zoom

Synthetic data generated under differential privacy (DP) promises to significantly simplify analysis of sensitive personal data. Existing work has shown that simply analysing DP synthetic data as if it were real does not produce valid inferences of population-level quantities, leading to too narrow confidence intervals and thereby risking false discoveries. We propose using multiple imputation techniques to avoid these problems. This requires simulating multiple synthetic data sets from the Bayesian posterior predictive distribution over data sets. We propose a novel noise-aware Bayesian DP synthetic data generation mechanism for discrete data that enables generating such a distribution of data sets. Our experiments demonstrate that the method is able to produce accurate confidence intervals from DP synthetic data.

Social Signals in the Wild: Multimodal Machine Learning for Human-Robot Interaction

Tuesday, 28 June 2022, 3.00pm to 4.00pm
Speaker: Angelica Lim (Simon Fraser University)
Venue: William Gates Building, Level 2 (Rainbow Corridor), Seminar Room: SS03

ABSTRACT: Science fiction has long promised us interfaces and robots that interact with us as smoothly as humans do – Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons, C-3PO from Star Wars, and Samantha from Her. Today, interactive robots such as Pepper and voice user interfaces such as Amazon Alexa are moving us closer to effortless, human-like interactions in the real world. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges in creating technologies that can analyze, detect and generate non-verbal communication, including gestures, gaze, auditory signals, and facial expressions. I will present my lab's major directions in understanding human social signals (including emotions, mental states, and attitudes) across cultures as well as in recognizing and generating expressions with diversity in mind.

SPEAKER BIO: Angelica Lim is the Director of the Rosie Lab (, and an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. Previously, she led the Emotion and Expressivity teams for the Pepper humanoid robot at SoftBank Robotics. She received her B.Sc. in Computing Science (Artificial Intelligence Specialization) from SFU and a Ph.D. and Masters in Computer Science (Intelligence Science) from Kyoto University, Japan. She has been featured on the BBC, TEDx, hosted a TV documentary on robotics, and was recently featured in Forbes 20 Leading Women in AI.

Meta-Learning Tutorial

Wednesday, 29 June 2022, 12.00pm to 1.30pm
Speaker: Eleni Triantafillou, Google Brain
Venue: Cambridge University Engineering Department, CBL Seminar room BE4-38

Abstract not available

Controlling imperfect robot swarms

Thursday, 30 June 2022, 3.00pm to 4.00pm
Speaker: Hector Garcia de Marina, Universidad de Granada
Venue: Baker Building - Board Room, Department of Engineering / Online (Zoom)

Swarm technology will enable reconfigurable robotic tasks that require high resilience and boundless scaling, especially in vast, unstructured, and dynamic environments. A robot swarm can be defined as a decentralized multi-robot system that, through only local interactions, can exhibit a collective behavior that facilitates the realization of tasks well beyond the reach of an individual. However, in contrast with the control of individuals, control laws for robot swarms are incredibly fragile against imperfections. In general, tiny imperfections in sensing and actuation are amplified throughout large numbers of robots and rapidly erode and make unpredictable the overall performance of the robot swarm. Notwithstanding, imperfections can result in surprising complex emergent behaviors such as intricate trajectory patterns of mobile robot swarms.

This talk will explore how to unleash and ally with imperfections in sensing and actuation instead of suppressing their ``damaging'' effects as a formal strategy to control emergent behaviors of robot swarms.

Trustworthy Digital Identity - Systems Architecture

Thursday, 30 June 2022, 4.00pm to 5.00pm
Speaker: Jon Crowcroft, CL and Turing institute