Bilkent IR Talks, Spring 2021-8

On April 29, 2021, Dr. Akın Ünver, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Kadir Has University, delivered a lecture titled: “Social Media as Conflict Event Data: Empirical Evidence from Northern Syria” for Bilkent’s IR Talks. Building upon his latest research with Ahmet Kurmaz that investigates on use of data science for migration tracking, the talk focused on the relation between social media and conflict. After explaining the reasons why fighters share location data in conflict zones, Dr. Ünver presented the methodology for collecting textual and location data from social media. Finally, Dr. Ünver explained the current results gathered from the project, and answered questions regarding the use of social media as propaganda, how algorithms work, the temporality of data, limitations on data collection, effects of location data, use of similar algorithms by military organizations, and biases in Artificial Intelligence.

Short Bio:
Dr. Akın Ünver is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Kadir Has University, specializing in conflict research, computational methods, and digital crisis communication. He is a Resident Fellow of Cyber Research Program at the Centre for Economic and Foreign Policy Research (EDAM), a Research Associate at the Center for Technology and Global Affairs, Oxford University, and a Senior Research Fellow at GUARD (Global Urban Analytics for Resilient Defence) at the Alan Turing Institute. He is the author of ‘Defining Turkey’s Kurdish Question: Discourse and Politics Since 1990’ (Routledge Series in Middle Eastern Politics). His works are published in Foreign Affairs, The Diplomat, Journal of International Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, Middle East Policy, Yale Journal of International Affairs and many other journals and scholarly publications. He is the Istanbul organizer of the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS).

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