University of Southern California

Research

Digital Media Symposium Outcomes

The USC Symposium on Digital Media: Research, Education and Innovation was a huge success! As a first ever USC Symposium on Digital Media, experts from across the University joined-in on this two-day event. With more than 80 researchers and a dozen schools represented, dialogues in digital scholarship had evolving momentum.

Opening remarks were made by Elizabeth Garrett, USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, pointing out the strength and variety of the university’s digital media research groups and its prime location, Los Angeles. On that note, keynote speaker, Peter Chernin, also stressed the advantage of USC’s geographical location because of the concentration of video, film and gaming companies in Los Angeles, stating “You are uniquely positioned for that nexus of technology and content.”

Vice President for Research Randolph Hall, summed up the goal of the symposium as an opportunity to raise the profile of digital media scholarship at USC by creating new opportunities for research with societal impact. He also stated that ““We need to identify any gaps and fill them, and then present ourselves to the world so that we are deeply connected to the consumer and private sector as well as academia.”


One researcher, Cyrus Shahabi, director of the Integrated Media System Center at USC Viterbi, presented his group’s work on geo-immersion, which enriches maps with vast stores of data on traffic patterns or security video. This technology, along with information on building activity and energy use, floor plans, and security camera views can be linked to a location.

As the day continued, there were many other talks from USC experts discussing current research and how to move forward as a University. There were breakout discussions on building and promoting its digital media presence. The discussions took place both in real forums and in the virtual space of backchannel, an online forum that allowed participants to post comments, engage one another and vote for the most relevant ideas.

For the full news story from USC News, Digital media scholars converge for first symposium.

Symposium Presentations

Digital Media Presentation
IMSC Big Data Activities, Cyrus Shahabi
Technique and Technology, Scott Fisher
Annenberg Innovation Lab, Jonathan Taplin

Summary of Discussions

Some backchannel comments:

For the last two millenia, disciplines and entities of higher learning have generated knowledge about how humans behave and interact in the “real” world. Now we need to engage in that process in the digital world for better or worse. -Skip Rizzo

Digital interactions’ core strengths lie in magnifying and aggregrating behaviors. it is a natural consequence that the strength and reach of magnification is not always desirable -Marientine Gotsis

What about the negative impact of digital media on health. Paralleling the rise of digital media has been the increase in obesity. In California, 1985<10% were obese. 1993, 10-14%, 1998, 15-19%, 2004, 20-24%… -Randall Hill

Here is a grand challenge: true interdisciplinary collaboration and digital/social runs counter to current university structures. Is the university willing and able to create and embrace fundamental change and make a new model for edu? -Todd Richmond