15 February 2018

Research Picks Weekly – 15 Feb 2018

Smarter with a smartphone
Is the widespread adoption of smartphones that allow us to communicate, share multimedia and engage with other people, groups, and organisations improving our lives or compromising our mental health and wellbeing? A new study by researchers in Germany of college student smartphone use offers some new clues. Mobile broadband devices have created an unprecedented means of communication and those who promote the tools and apps that run on such devices suggest that they can do nothing but enhance the user’s social capital and psychological wellbeing. It seems that social capital among young students is boosted in several ways by smartphone use.
“Is smartphone creating a better life? Exploring the relationships of the smartphone practices, social capital and psychological well-being among college students” Hua Pang, Int J Adv Media Commun, 2017, 7, 205-224; http://doi.org/10.1504/IJAMC.2017.10010331

Is Big Brother watching?

In George Orwell’s novel “1984”, the state is always monitoring its citizens’ activities. With the rise of closed-circuit television (CCTV), internet tracking software, and our predilection for always being connected with smart devices, it is likely that surveillance sits somewhere close to that ubiquitous older sibling that is perpetually tallying our behaviour, good and bad. To quote from recent research from Spain: “The massive presence of cameras in the public space is not neutral in terms of rights and freedoms.” Are there adequate guarantees of citizens’ rights in the face of rapidly advancing technological development, such as face recognition. CCTV can track, process, and disseminate information, which when tied to mobile phone signals, accounts, Wi-Fi data and location services, including GPS, could significantly compromise our personal freedom and privacy. The common riposte that one should not worry if one has nothing to hide is a non-sequitur, we all have personal matters that are perfectly legitimate that we would not wish politicians, bank managers, shopkeepers, and all and sundry to know about. Legal systems have simply not kept pace with the technological change, it may be that privacy is being compromised on every street corner and at every turn.
“Video surveillance, public space and fundamental rights”, Asunción De La Iglesia Chamarro, Int J Human Rights Constitut Studies; https://doi.org/10.1504/IJHRCS.2017.10010784


Thingiverse is a web-based repository of files for 3D printing a vast range of objects. Hobbyists, “makers” and DIY technologists use the database to find files to allow them to print the objects they need for their projects. A recent study has reviewed a random selection of the thousands of files using existing open source software. Analysis of the metadata for thousands of files reveals that the common sharing model is a creative commons – attribution – share alike licence. In other words, users of the files can legitimately use them as long as they credit the original creator of the file among other commitments, which makes it a very useful tool for amateurs and perhaps professional users alike.
“Thingiverse: review and analysis of available files”, Felix W. Baumann and Dieter Roller, Int J Rapid Manuf, 2018, 7, 83-89; https://doi.org/10.1504/IJRAPIDM.2018.10010829

Crowdsourcing business knowledge

Tacit knowledge externalisation (TKE) is a critical process in business decision-making, innovation, and problem-solving. Research from India suggests that an internal crowdsourcing workflow could be exploited because it would be generic and flexible structure to allow that knowledge to flow outwards. “The workflow comprises crowd creation, crowd opinion, crowd voting, crowd wisdom and crowd learning phases, which encompass knowledge elicitation, sharing and utilisation activities that occur during the externalisation process,” the team reports. Now, they have used the ASP.NET web application “TKApp” to demonstrate proof of principle with a start-up company. Also, because the core logic of the workflow they have developed is a SOAP-based web service it is now deployed publicly and so could be used by any enterprise in their TKE efforts, which then allows know-how that is not-communicable through everyday language to be shared to the benefit of the enterprise involved and its stakeholders.
“A web 2.0-based internal crowdsourcing solution for tacit knowledge externalisation in enterprises”, Shreyas Suresh Rao and Ashalatha Nayak, Int J Web Eng Technol, 2017, 12, 297-327; http://doi.org/10.1504/IJWET.2017.089690

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