The Semiotic Engineering Research Group

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Current Topics

Current research topics at SERG.PUC-Rio include:

  • Semiotic Theories and Methods for the Investigation of Computing and Digital Technologies
  • Algorithmic Mediation of Social Processes and Digital Rhetoric
Semiotic Theories and Methods for the Investigation of Computing and Digital Technologies

This is the perennial topic of investigation at SERG, since the beginning. Semiotic theories and methods for computation constitute an alternative with the potential to complement insightfully other theories and methods proposed to describe or explain computation, its use, and its influence on individuals, groups, and society. Our preference for semiotic theories of Peircean extraction (and compatible ones) has the advantage of bringing together pragmatic and logic discovery perspectives (through Peircean abduction), whitch contributes to approximating significantly the human and computational aspects of design, development and use of digital technologies.

Algorithmic Mediation of Social Processes and Digital Rhetoric

The expansion and impact of the use of Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning), Data Science, and algorithmic mediation of many social processes (e. g. recommendation for action, information filtering, automatic profiling and decisions based on it) impose increasing and complex social responsability considerations for those who develop digital technologies. Ethical debate is rapidly getting closer to certain subareas of Computing that used to see themselves as strictly technical domains, impermeable to the thorny complexity of human and social processes around the application of their results in the real world. In particular, the advancement of personal data protection legislation in many countries has raised awareness about the need for truly interdisciplinary research groups, aiming to face the inevitable personal questioning and reflection about human values, which researchers and developers can no longer escape. Semiotic Engineering, with its radical commitment to positioning digital technology designers and developers before the individual and social consequences of their work, has great potential contributions to make in this field. Interactions between Semiotic Engineering and Digital Rhetoric are currently being explored by a transdisciplinary team at EMAPS ».

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