UX Researcher | Behavioural Scientist | Forbes 30 Under 30 Alum
Dr Vyacheslav Polonski, who often goes by the name Slava, is a UX Researcher at Google. He specialises in human-centred machine learning and is a Founding Fellow of Google’s People+AI Guidebook. Previously, he was a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), studying complex social networks, user behaviour and technology adoption. In 2017, Vyacheslav completed his PhD studies at the University of Oxford as an ESRC Scholar. Prior to his PhD, Vyacheslav completed an MSc in the Social Sciences of the Internet at the OII and a BSc in Management at LSE. Vyacheslav is an active member of the World Economic Forum having participated in multiple conferences as a Global Shaper (2015, 2016, 2017) and member of the WEF Expert Network (2017, 2018). He co-founded Avantgarde Analytics, a machine learning startup that harnessed AI & behavioural psychology for algorithmic campaigning. In 2018, Forbes Magazine featured him in the 30 Under 30 list. His research and commentary have been highlighted in the media, including in The Independent, Forbes, Bloomberg, TechCrunch, Scientific American and The New York Times.
University of Oxford / Harvard University
Ph.D (D.Phil) in Computational Social Science at Oxford Internet Institute
Visiting Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
University of Oxford
M.Sc in Social Science of the Internet (Distinction)
London School of Economics
B.Sc in Management (First Class Honours)
Undergraduate of the Year 2012
Featured case study
Recent publications and contributions as UX Researcher at Google
AI at Google Flights
Recently published UX case study explaining how our Google Flights team designed new AI tools to help millions of users find cheaper flights online.
People+AI at Google
Contributions to Google's People+AI Guidebook, which was written to help UX professionals and product managers follow a human-centered approach to AI.
Other featured insights
Mapping political polarisation on social media
The Internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action to a new dimension of citizen autonomy. Yet it has also contributed to radicalisation and conflict. As part of a larger study on the future of digital democracy, I have analysed large amounts of social media data to understand how political polarisation on social media has fuelled the rise of populism with regard to the Brexit vote in the UK's recent EU referendum and its implications for future elections.
Analysing the network structure of online communities
Global Shapers Community
Social network analysis provides a large toolkit of quantitative techniques that allow us to understand the structure of relationships of people in the context of their social groups. Using these tools, I have analysed the friendship relationships and conversational patterns of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community, which spans across 450 hubs and brings together young people to work on social impact projects in their cities.
Exploring the spread of ideas in semantic networks
World Economic Forum
Ideas and concepts that are related to each other can be visualised in semantic networks that represent the degree of connection between these concepts, e.g. to understand the degree of relatedness of meanings associated with individuals, places or entities. Having extracted hashtags from Instagram activities around the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos 2016, I have looked at the way how the event was perceived and experienced by its participants and the general public.
Areas of EXPERTISE
Highlights of recent press articles on issues related to UX research, social media, artificial intelligence, digital ethics and political polarization. Articles published in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Portuguese, Dutch, Mandarin, Arabic, Polish, Russian and many other languages.
Building moral machines
Before giving machines a sense of morality, humans have to first define morality in a way computers can process. A difficult but not impossible task for the global community.
AI technology is becoming commonplace in political campaigns, but what effect is it having on democracy? It is clear that AI has the power to destroy or save democracy.
Risks of AI solutionism
Using AI simply for the sake of AI may not always be productive or useful. Not everything that can be automated should be. A long read on the dangers of the wide-spread AI solutionist mind-set.
Dr. Vyacheslav W. Polonski is a UX Researcher at Google. Previously, he studied complex social networks, human dynamics and technology adoption at Oxford University. His research at the Oxford Internet Institute was located at the intersection of behavioural science, sociology, big data and social network analysis. As the Founder & CEO of Avantgarde Analytics, he applied this knowledge to advise clients on algorithmic election campaigns and AI-powered communication.
Vyacheslav previously studied at Harvard University, University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He holds a Ph.D (D.Phil) in Computational Social Science from the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. His doctoral research received the inaugural Kellogg College Community Engagement and Academic Merit Award. In 2013, he was awarded the Master of Science (M.Sc) degree with Distinction in the Social Sciences of the Internet from Oxford University. He also obtained the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree with Distinction in Management from the LSE in 2012.
Vyacheslav was funded by the German National Academic Foundation, which is Germany’s largest and most prestigious funding body. He has also been a recipient of the Stelios Scholarship at LSE, Heinrich-Böll-Scholarship, ESRC Scholarship and the Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship at Oxford University. In 2011, the British Council shortlisted Vyacheslav as one of the UK’s most distinguished International Students of the Year. In 2012, he won the Future Business Leader of the Year award at the national Student of the Year competition by TARGETjobs. In 2016, Real Leaders Magazine featured him as one of 100 Visionary Leaders Under 30 alongside the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai. In 2018, he was featured by Forbes Magazine on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Law and Policy in Europe. He was also selected as one of the Top 10 Standouts by Forbes alongside other innovators and media influencers like Rita Ora.
Combining a strong background in social theory and sociology with an interest in real-life UX problems, Vyacheslav co-taught the graduate course Social Dynamics of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute. He was accredited as Associate Fellow (AFHEA) of the Higher Education Academy. Vyacheslav also contributed to several academic research projects funded by the European Union and Google, and presented his research at prestigious conferences around the world (e.g. in Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, the UK and USA).
Prior to his academic career, Vyacheslav was a management consultant intern with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, and completed further internships with Mars Inc. and Bertelsmann. In addition to that, he was selected for the 2012 cohort of Entrepreneur First (EF1). Vyacheslav was the first employee of Hello Fresh in the UK. After opening the London office of Rocket Internet, he contributed to dramatically scaling Hello Fresh's operations and diversifying its product offerings while maintaining its culture of innovation.
Vyacheslav is actively involved in the World Economic Forum and its New Champions communities. He was named a Global Shaper by the Forum and elected to serve as Curator of the Oxford Hub in 2016/2017. Under his leadership, the Hub hosted events with several world leaders, most notably with Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet/Google. In 2015 and 2017, he was a speaker at the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China. In 2016, he was invited to the WEF Britain in the World meeting with PM David Cameron and 10 cabinet ministers to discuss the future role of the UK in Europe. In 2017 and 2018, he was invited as an expert and Vision 2030 Champion to the WEF Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils in Dubai. Recognising his work in network science, Vyacheslav was selected as an Adviser for the WEF Interaction Excellence Initiative and the premier WEF Expert Network on Behavioural Science and Technology. In 2018, he was also involved in the youth programmes of the EU and was invited as a speaker to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
His research and commentary are regularly highlighted in the media, including in The Independent, The New York Times, Scientific American, Bloomberg, BBC, Newsweek, Tagesspiegel, Forbes, Fortune, Euronews, Berlingske, Voice of America and TechCrunch.
European Parliament: European Youth Event
World Economic Forum: Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils
2017 & 2018
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
World Economic Forum: Annual Meeting of the New Champions
2015 & 2017
Dalian, People's Republic of China
UNLEASH Sustainable Innovation Lab
Copenhagen & Aarhus, Denmark
World Economic Forum: Britain in the World Meeting
London, United Kingdom
Oxford Blavatnik School: Data Science for Government Conference
Oxford, United Kingdom
World Economic Forum: Annual Curators Meeting
ICCSS: International Conference on Computational Social Science
ICWSM: International Conference on Web and Social Media
Oxford, United Kingdom
MIT Media Lab CyborgCamp
International Social Media & Society Conference