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San Diego Profs Tackle Dying Oceans

San Diego profs tackle dying oceans and idea cross-pollination at global exhibition

San Diego Union Tribune

Design Lab member and Visual Arts Professor Pinar Yoldas joins the 2021 Venice Biennale to promote discussion of dying oceans and idea cross-pollination through a global exhibition.

This summer, 112 artists and architectural teams from around the world were invited to the annual Venice Biennale in Italy to create artworks that answer the forward-thinking question: “How will we live together?” Two of the invitees to this prestigious exhibition are from San Diego.

Pinar Yoldas, a multidisciplinary art professor at UC San Diego, took an imaginative look at what the world’s endangered oceans might look like in 30 years, while Daniel López-Pérez, a founding faculty member for the architecture program at the University of San Diego, studied the global dialogue of ideas inside a spherical structure inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller’s geoscope design.
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UCSD & Design Lab Students Participate In The Civic Digital Fellowship Program

UCSD & Design Lab Students participate in The Civic Digital Fellowship Program

Irene Guo, Neve Foresti, and Eric Richards, former and current UC San Diego Design Lab students, participated in the Civic Digital Fellowship Program, a ten-week program that equips students in different fields of technology (from data scientists to designers) to utilize their technical skills for public service; these students are referred to as Civic Digital Fellows. This program is the very first of its kind, and is modeled on four principles: the fellows must be compensated for their hard work through monetary gains, they tackle work with a high impact, their professional careers are developed, and finally, their community is cohort-based. 
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Ucsd Extension Design Bootcamp

Design Lab and UCSD Extension Team Up for Design Bootcamp

This past July, San Diego high school students embarked on a five-day dive into anthropology and design as part of Design Bootcamp, a collaboration between the UC San Diego Design Lab and UC San Diego Extension.

The class first emerged from the demand for design workshops in San Diego coupled with UC San Diego’s interest in offering classes to pre-collegiate students. “This first Research Scholars ‘Design Bootcamp,’ if you will, is our first prototype,” says Michele Morris, Design Lab Associate Director. “The needs of the University, the expertise of the Design Lab, and the community platforms of UC San Diego’s Extension all came together seamlessly.”

Mayya Azarova, a Design Lab Anthropology PhD candidate, joined the team as the Bootcamp’s inaugural instructor.  Coupling her background in anthropology with design, the team customized an offering focused around ethnography and empathy-building.
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Surveillance Technology San Diego

San Diego council committee unanimously approves ordinances targeting surveillance technology

Photo courtesy of John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune

A City Council committee on Wednesday unanimously approved two proposed ordinances geared at governing surveillance technologies in the city, an action sparked by sustained pushback from activists and others who were surprised and upset last year when it was revealed that San Diego had quietly installed cameras on streetlights throughout the city.

Lilly Irani, an associate professor at UC San Diego (and Design Lab faculty) who specializes in the ethics of technology, called the vote “a win for better governance in the long term.”

Irani helped draft the ordinances and assisted the organized opposition dubbed the TRUST San Diego coalition, which focuses on responsible surveillance in the region. The coalition was born out of concerns about one specific technology — so-called smart streetlights — and ultimately landed a seat at the table to draft the proposals.

“Without Councilmember Monica Montgomery championing this... there would be no table,” Irani said.
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Surveillance Drones San Diego

Chula Vista PD Approved For Broader Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement

Photo courtesy of Shalina Chatlani

The Chula Vista Police Department has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to broaden its use of drones.

Still, some academics say drones can be seen as a form of surveillance. And that having a video doesn’t necessarily mean that officers are making neutral decisions.

"Say you’re getting a call from someone acting erratic … like what would a drone be able to see that would discern a person screaming and waving their hands around as someone who needs intervention by the police, versus a mental health team?" said Lilly Irani, a professor of communication and technology at UC San Diego (and Design Lab faculty).

Even if officers are using video to see whether a situation is dangerous, human bias doesn’t just go away, she said.

"OK, so what type of visual symbols are you going to look for to discern the difference between dangerous and nondangerous?" Irani said.
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