Keynote speakers

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

S. Shyam Sundar (PhD, Stanford University) is distinguished professor of communications and the founding director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University, USA (biography). Supported by the US National Science Foundation, Dr. Sundar conducts experiments on the social psychological effects of a variety of digital media, ranging from websites and social media to mobile phones, robotics and internet of things. A frequently cited source on technology, Sundar has testified before Congress as an expert witness and delivered talks at several universities around the world. He is editor of the first-ever Handbook on the Psychology of Communication Technology (Wiley; 2015) and currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Abstract "Human Agency in Cyberspace: The Promise and Peril of Interactive Media"

Interactive media provide ample opportunities for people to become sources of mass communication, and thereby assert their agency, both individually and collectively. This can lead to greater engagement, empowerment and mobilisation. However, it can also heighten the psychological need for external validation, often readily provided by audience metrics of digital media, resulting in a tendency to produce and disseminate 'fake news.’ This talk will discuss both positive and negative consequences of providing more user agency in cyberspace via interactive media.