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Experimental Workshop

Experimental Workshop

How to think with artefacts? That is the invitation of this experimental workshop in which the speakers will bring visual artefacts, either their own or ready-made things, to talk about their ongoing research projects.

Principle participants:

Shu Cheong Tang (PGT, Warwick Manufacturing Group)

Jazmine Zhu (PGT, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)

Xu Yuan (PGT, Warwick Business School)

Carys Hill (PGT, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)


Patrick Scaife (PGT, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)

Matías Valderrama (PGR, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in smart cities’ immigration services

Shu Cheong Tang (PGT, Warwick Manufacturing Group) (online)

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Smart Cities, Immigration Services, Border Control

Immigration is a risk assessment decision-making process by immigration officer to allow or refuse someone entering a territory based on legitimate power and official rules. In most immigration border, these risk assessment steps involve human thinking and information processing of immigration officers. Over the counter, immigration officers do not only check passports and travel documents, but they may also enquire passengers for their purpose of visit or stay; and examine matters related to their journey to decide whether a passenger could be landed into the territory or should be submitted for further examination. Though immigration officers conduct collective risk assessment on the passenger, their decisions are controversy of impartialness and influenceable by human factors. Deploying various types of “Automated Border Control” gate (ABC gate) is a trendy development in immigration and border control all over the world. However, ABC gate provides limited functions on passport authenticity and identity inspection. These gates are always supported by different layer of immigration control systems. If future immigration services intend to enrich the functionality of ABC gate, service enhancement have to be made to the improve service operations and functions. The initial research direction is wide. First, the research can explore the use of artificial intelligence technologies in border control and discuss whether AI could serve as an auxiliary agent in decision making process. Where AI is deployed, can it achieve additional justification of impartialness, from the social context. Second, this research will also discuss the ways which AI is applied, the benefits on service improvements, as well as the challenges and concerns of AI applications in immigration services. These are from an social and/or operation management purview. Finally, if AI could enrich the functionality and operationality of ABC gate, how such AI service deployment could improve immigration services in the techno-social approach.

#digitalnomad: a multimodal analysis of the self-presentation of digital nomads on Instagram

Jazmine Zhu (PGT, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)

Keywords: digital nomadism, neoliberalism, Instagram study, self-presentation, hashtag study

Since the start of the pandemic, enterprises and labourers have been exploring whether remote work is feasible, and digital nomadism has emerged as a viable career option. The term “digital nomad” was first proposed to describe people who employ digital technologies to complete their work remotely without the time and location constraints, it is the result of the penetration of mobile technology into everyday life and work conditions, which has had a profound impact on society in terms of lifestyle and work culture, and Instagram has played a crucial role in the spread of this imaginary of “digital nomadism”. Research on digital nomadism has primarily focused on describing their lifestyles, and few studies have paid attention to the self-presentation of digital nomadism on social media platforms. This dissertation will use visual content analysis and textual analysis to interpret the presentation of digital nomadism under the Instagram #digitalnomad hashtag, drawing from Goffman's dramaturgical theory and examining the effect of Instagram's affordance in shaping the remote work aesthetic and entrepreneurial identity of the digital nomad, arguing that digital nomadism is becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and commoditised, gradually deviating from the post-work imaginary of the value system it embodies. The digital nomad’s presentation of the “travelling entrepreneur” contradicts the post-work imaginary it represents; therefore, I suggest that digital nomadism might be an extension of the logic of capitalism rather than a resistance and is an opportunistic activity under the influence of neoliberalism. The contribution of this essay to the study of digital nomads is twofold. The first is the introduction of multimodal analysis into digital nomad research, using visual components and hashtag texts as critical tools. The second is to note the effect of Instagram as a stage for the digital nomadic performance, its platform affordance and vernacular on the corporatisation and commodification of digital nomadism.

Chatbot application

Xu Yuan (PGT, Warwick Business School)

Keywords: chatbot, AI

Traditional telephone and mail services are not enough to cope with the surge in demand due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, airlines are forced to cancel flights on a large scale, leading to travellers requiring unprecedented levels of customer service (Mulfati, 2021). Chatbots for airlines could be adopted to automate customer service on websites. The chatbot is a computer program that converses with users in natural language (Shawar & Atwell, 2007). It communicates in human language via text or voice with people using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis (Khanna et al., 2015). Firstly, chatbots can efficiently address the surge in customer demand and reduce customer service costs. Chatbots are available to interact with users 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with quick responses and the ability to handle multiple client requests simultaneously (Nayya, 2019). Besides, a chatbot's functioning can be integrated with human assistance. They significantly alleviate the burden on the customer support team by handling repetitive customer calls and emails through the programme. As a result, they can drastically minimise client queries and maximise the efficiency of the support crew, which helps in the control of labour costs (ChatBotPack, 2021). Furthermore, chatbots can improve customer service. For example, the user can get the recommendation of flights from the chatbot by inputting the desired date and time. A chatbot can assist a customer through a conversation flow, resulting in increased reservation volume and income. Businesses can more precisely address client requirements with chatbots, as chatbots increase the efficiency of user communication. Chatbots become smarter over time and provide targeted offers by accumulating in-depth knowledge about clients through machine learning and deep learning techniques (Nayya, 2019).

Doing What Instagram Can’t? A Study of the Anti Diet Riot Club

Carys Hill (PGT, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)

In this workshop I would like to discuss my ongoing Masters dissertation, as part of my 1+3 PhD. In the dissertation, I am working with the Anti-Diet Riot Club (ADRC), a London-based activist group who seek to challenge and resist restrictive body standards. ADRC are a hybrid organisation, existing online through a closed, paid-for, members-only community forum, regular mailing lists and online events, and offline/in-person through events including meetups, talks, film screenings and life drawing. I am interested in how ADRC members experience this hybrid format. Though fieldwork is ongoing, in initial discussions with ADRC co-founders, they stated that they formed the closed, forum-based online community in response to the limits of Instagram and its algorithmic biases – in cultivating a community, in having thoughtful conversations, and in challenging beauty standards beyond the white, gender-confirming, slim, fashionable norm. In this sense, ADRC is moving away from social media and returning to older online forum-based formats which they feel resists the individualising, oppressive (patriarchal, racist) algorithmic architectures of social media, in particular Instagram. I am keen to discuss and theorise this shift from social media to closed forums with others in the experimental workshop and think through how this shift might open up new ways of resisting and subverting commercialised and oppressive social media spaces for activist groups such as the ADRC.