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  1. The scale and urgency of sustainability problems the world over has led to calls for sustainability transformations in cities, regions, and countries. Such calls for transformation are underlain by a persistent knowledge-to-action gap between scientific knowledge production, policy, and practice. To rise to the challenges of sustainability and resilience, municipal administrators need to set evidence-based and ambitious sustainability targets and develop strategies to achieve them. Simultaneously, transdisciplinary sustainability science researchers need to generate scientific knowledge to further enable cities along pathways of transformation. This paper details a collaborative backcasting game, AudaCITY, developed to build transformative capacity in city administrations while also generating deep contextual knowledge to inform a transformative sustainability science research agenda. We present AudaCITY's key features, potential applications and adaptations, and exemplary outputs and outcomes for cities and researchers. We conclude with recommendations for adopting and adapting AudaCITY for use in action-oriented and transformational sustainability science and capacity building.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 7, 2023
  2. While most moderation actions on major social platforms are performed by either the platforms themselves or volunteer moderators, it is rare for platforms to collaborate directly with moderators to address problems. This paper examines how the group-chatting platform Discord coordinated with experienced volunteer moderators to respond to hate and harassment toward LGBTQ+ communities during Pride Month, June 2021, in what came to be known as the "Pride Mod" initiative. Representatives from Discord and volunteer moderators collaboratively identified and communicated with targeted communities, and volunteers temporarily joined servers that requested support to supplement those servers' existing volunteer moderation teams. Though LGBTQ+ communities were subject to a wave of targeted hate during Pride Month, the communities that received the requested volunteer support reported having a better capacity to handle the issues that arose. This paper reports the results of interviews with 11 moderators who participated in the initiative as well as the Discord employee who coordinated it. We show how this initiative was made possible by the way Discord has cultivated trust and built formal connections with its most active volunteers, and discuss the ethical implications of formal collaborations between for-profit platforms and volunteer users.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 28, 2023
  3. Researchers in areas as diverse as computer science and political science must increasingly navigate the possible risks of their research to society. However, the history of medical experiments on vulnerable individuals influenced many research ethics reviews to focus exclusively on risks to human subjects rather than risks to human society. We describe an Ethics and Society Review board (ESR), which fills this moral gap by facilitating ethical and societal reflection as a requirement to access grant funding: Researchers cannot receive grant funding from participating pro-grams until the researchers complete the ESR process for their proposal. Researchers author an initial statement describing their proposed research’s risks to society, subgroups within society, and globally and commit to mitigation strategies for these risks. An interdisciplinary faculty panel iterates with the researchers to refine these risks and mitigation strategies. We describe a mixed-method evaluation of the ESR over 1 y, in partnership with an artificial intelligence grant program run by Stanford HAI. Surveys and interviews of researchers who interacted with the ESR found100% (95% CI: 87 to 100%) were willing to continue submitting future projects to the ESR, and 58% (95% CI: 37 to 77%) felt that it had influenced the design of theirmore »research project. The ESR panel most commonly identified issues of harms to minority groups, inclusion of diverse stakeholders in the research plan, dual use, and representation in datasets. These principles, paired with possible mitigation strategies, offer scaffolding for future research designs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. This paper highlights current technological limitations and offers recommendations for scientists and engineers when designing devices to support aging in place. Existing technology for older adults to support independent living is examined as well as the implications of contextual factors, namely, location, on how people live and age based on the location in which they reside. This is the first review to investigate how challenges of aging change relative to location of residence and, subsequently, how such variation may inform technological solutions. To date, few devices consider the environment in which older individuals age. Places examined include aging: at home; assisted living facilities; nursing homes; and family housing. Challenges found in common across these locations were financial strain and isolation. In addition, each setting was found to have its own unique hurdles. Understanding these barriers is essential to developing technology that enables older adults to successfully age in place.