Last semester, START’s Amy Pate, Barnett Koven, Marcus Boyd, Liz Yates and Rachel Gabriel held a joint conference with UMD partner institution Tec de Monterrey (TEC), in Monterrey, Mexico. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the progress of the joint pilot project “Social Media Influencers: Re-Domaining Fashion Industry Forecasting to Anticipate Online Extremist Radicalization,” and to discuss institution-wide opportunities for future collaboration between UMD and TEC.
The project is funded by a UMD-TEC Seed Grant program designed to help scholars at both institutions identify complementary research strengths and generate pilot data for proposal submissions that pursue innovative and collaborative work. “Social Media Influencers: Re-Domaining Fashion Industry Forecasting to Anticipate Online Extremist Radicalization,” aims to establish a foundation for research that combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) with cutting-edge trend forecasting principles informed by the fashion industry to detect and predict trends in right-wing extremism online and identify opportunities for targeted and proactive interventions or preventative messaging efforts.
Over the course of the two-day conference, representatives from both universities gave presentations on the capacities and programs of their respective institutions and discussed areas for future collaboration. The agenda also included a meeting and roundtable lunch with a number of TEC faculty members from various departments, as well as a tour of TEC.
While at TEC, Koven and Gabriel also gave a talk to computer science doctoral candidates called “Machine Learning and Big Data for Social Science Research,” which discussed the possibilities and limitations for social media, big data and machine learning in the social sciences. Finally, multiple meetings were held to review progress made on the Fashion Forecasting project and establish a roadmap for completion and transition of the project moving forward.