Oxford Internet Institute

My attention was drawn to the Oxford Internet Institute:

The Oxford Internet Institute was founded in 2001 at the University of Oxford, as an academic centre for the study of the societal implications of the Internet.
In the last forty years the Internet has grown from an arcane and specialized academic service to the sophisticated global network of networks we see today: during this period the complexity of its societal implications has become ever more obvious, as well as the many ways it shapes our lives. Grounded in a determination to measure, understand and explain the Internet’s multi-faceted interactions and effects, our research projects bring together some of the best international scholars within a multi-disciplinary department in one of the world’s top research universities. We are committed to being an informed, independent and nonpartisan source of the highest quality analysis and insight in all our research and policy-related activities.

The institute recently organised a conference on Internet, Politics, Policy 2012: Big Data, Big Challenges, where there were some papers bearing on policy-making. These are topics closely related to research that I do. An organisation worth following in the future.

BBC's Radio 4 on Vagueness in Law

On the BBC Radio 4 Analysis program, there was an episode about the Sorities Paradoxes. These are the sorts of paradoxes that arise about categories that have no sharp boundaries:

One grain of sand is not a heap of sand; two grains of sand are not a heap of sand; …. ; adding one more grain of sand to some sand is not enough to make a heap of sand; yet, at some point, we agree we have a heap of sand.

So, where are the boundaries?
Part of what is interesting to me is that while we might have problems to provide a formal, systematic analysis, we seem to have strong intuitions that are (more or less, and in fact more, where all things are otherwise equal) in agreement with the intuitions of others.
In law, such issues about vagueness also arise, and they lead to legal contention, so are important to decide. In this radio broadcast, there is a fun discussion of the sorities paradoxes and some mention of how legislators address them; in particular, just how can legislators ‘define’ nudity?
Analysis Extra: The Philosopher’s Arms: Sorites’ Heap 10 Sep 2012
The program is about 30 minutes long and should play in your browser. The broadcast content is copyright the BBC. Radio 4 is great!

Presentation at LEX Summer School 2012

I was a lecturer at the LEX Summer School 2012 in Ravenna, Italy on September 14, 2012.
San Vitali Mosaic, Ravenna, Italy

The school aims at providing knowledge of the most significant ICT standards emerging for legislation, judiciary, parliamentary and administrative documents. The course provides understanding of their impact in the different phases of the legislative and administrative process, awareness of the tools based on legal XML standards and of their constellations, and the ability to participate in the drafting and use of standard-compliant documents throughout law-making process. In particular we would like to create consciousness in the stakeholders in the legal domain about the benefits and the possibilities provided by the correct usage of Semantic Web technologies such as XML standards, ontologies, natural language processing techniques applied to legal texts, legal knowledge modelling and reasoning tools.

The zipped file contains the slides and some exercise material.
The first lecture (Part 1) introduces the general topic, some samples of results, and a discussion about crowdsourcing annotations in legal cases. The second lecture (Part 2) discusses the parsing and semantic representation of a fragment of the British Nationality Act. The class materials are used for an in class exercise about annotation.
Port of Classe mosaic
Shortlink to this page.
By Adam Wyner

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Paper at SWAIE 2012

A paper with Jodi Schneider accepted to 1st Workshop on Semantic Web and Information Extraction (SWAIE 2012) held at the 18th Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, Galway, Ireland.
Identifying Consumers’ Arguments in Text
Jodi Schneider and Adam Wyner
Product reviews are a corpus of textual data on consumer opinions. While reviews can be sorted by rating, there is limited support to search in the corpus for statements about particular topics, e.g. properties of a product. Moreover, where opinions are justified or criticised, statements in the corpus indicate arguments and counterarguments. Explicitly structuring these statements into arguments could help better understand customers’ disposition towards a product. We present a semi-automated, rule-based information extraction tool to support the identification of statements and arguments in a corpus, using: argumentation schemes; user, domain, and sentiment terminology; and discourse indicators.
author = {Jodi Schneider and Adam Wyner},
title = {Identifying Consumers’ Arguments in Text},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Semantic Web and Information Extraction (SWAIE 2012)},
year = {2012},
address = {Galway, Ireland},
note = {To appear}}
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By Adam Wyner

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Video Lecture on Agreement Technologies and Argumentation

I participated in a recent Agreement Technologies (AT) meeting in June 2012 in Valencia, Spain; AT is a European Cooperation in Science and Technology funded organisation. As part of a new book with associated videolectures, I presented the videolecture Agreement Technologies and Argumentation, written by Sanjay Modgil and Francesca Toni, which has a runtime of just under 10 minutes. The other videolectures are good introductions to other areas of AT.