Ruha Benjamin presents her talk ‘Designer and Discarded Genomes: Experimenting with sociological imagination through speculative methods,’ a series of speculative field notes on the possibility of human prototrophy.
Ruha Benjamin’s presentation entitled “designer and discarded genomes: experimenting with sociological imagination through speculative methods” uses speculative field notes to explore the antecedents and implications of the current era of genetic engineering.
This talk was presented for the event Future Perfect. In a moment when the future increasingly feels like a foregone conclusion, Future Perfect brought actors from a variety of world-building disciplines (from art and fiction, to law and science) together to explore the uses, abuses, and paradoxes of speculative futures. Curated by Data & Society artist-in-residence Ingrid Burrington, Future Perfect was an experimental one-day, invitation-only conference originating from insights of the institute’s regular Speculative Fiction Reading Group.
Ruha Benjamin is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press), and 2016-17 fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. Her work examines the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine with a particular focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity. She earned her PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley, completed fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Genetics and Society and Harvard’s Science, Technology, and Society Program, and has received grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine among others. Her work is published in numerous journals including Science, Technology, and Human Values; Ethnicity & Health; and Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science.
Suchana Seth speaks about different definitions of fairness in the context of machine learning.
Suchana Seth speaks about different definitions of fairness in the context of machine learning. Suchana Seth is a physicist-turned-data scientist from India. She has built scalable data science solutions for startups and industry research labs, and holds patents in text mining and natural language processing. Suchana believes in the power of data to drive positive change, volunteers with DataKind, mentors data-for-good projects, and advises research on IoT ethics. She is also passionate about closing the gender gap in data science, and leads data science workshops with organizations like Women Who Code.
Ravi Shroff speaks about his research studying predictive models for decision-making in city and state government.
Ravi Shroff speaks about his research studying predictive models for decision-making in city and state government. Ravi Shroff is a Research Scientist at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), where he specializes in computational social science. His work involves using statistical and machine learning techniques to understand the criminal justice system, child welfare, and related urban issues. At Data & Society, Ravi will examine how simple computational models can be designed and implemented in city government. He studied mathematics at UC San Diego (PhD) and applied urban science and informatics at CUSP (MS).
Anne Washington talks about the risks of efficiency and the need for a common language when speaking about data science and public policy.
Anne Washington talks about the risks of efficiency and the need for a common language when speaking about data science and public policy. Anne L. Washington is a computer scientist and a librarian who specializes in public sector technology management and informatics. She is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. As a digital government scholar, her research focuses on the production, meaning, and retrieval of public sector information. She developed her expertise on government data working at the Congressional Research Service within the Library of Congress. She also served as an invited expert to the W3C E-Government Interest Group and the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group. She completed a PhD from The George Washington University School of Business. She holds a degree in computer science from Brown University and a Master’s in Library Information Science from Rutgers University. Before completing her PhD, she had extensive work experience in the private sector including the Claris Software division of Apple Computers and Barclays Global Investors.
Rebecca Wexler speaks about the dangers of Trade Secrets and Black-boxing Criminal Justice.
Rebecca Wexler speaks about the dangers of Trade Secrets and Black-boxing Criminal Justice. Rebecca Wexler works with The Legal Aid Society to advocate for more lenient criminal discovery laws; draft legal motions to compel disclosure of data and source code for forensic technologies; and build partnerships with technology companies to facilitate a reasoned approach to defendants’ requests for user information.
Daniel Grushkin speaks about the origin of GenSpace, The DNA Revolution, and merging data with biology.
Daniel Grushkin speaks about the origin of GenSpace, The DNA Revolution, and merging data with biology. Daniel Grushkin is the Executive Director and cofounder of Genspace, a nonprofit community laboratory dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology.
Alice Marwick speaks about Data & Society’s recent report on Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online.
Alice Marwick speaks about Data & Society’s recent report on Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online. Alice Marwick leads the Media Manipulation project at Data & Society, and will join the Communication department at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the Fall.
Whitney Philips and Ryan M. Milner discuss and share excerpts of their new book, The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online.
Whitney Philips and Ryan M. Milner explore the weird and mean and in-between that characterizes everyday expression online, from absurdist photoshops to antagonistic Twitter hashtags to ambivalent online play with the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Through these discussions, the book shows how digital media can help and harm, bring together and push apart, and make laugh and make angry in equal measure. Most significant to the current political climate, it shows how these media can equally facilitate and restrict voice. Not only do digital spaces and tools empower hate groups like the white nationalist alt-right and other extremist figures, they also empower progressive pushback against these same groups and figures—along with a whole range of folkloric play that eludes easy classification. By foregrounding the fundamental ambivalence of digital media, they demonstrate that there are no easy solutions, and no simplistic, one-size-fits-all answers, to pressing questions about free expression, democratic participation, and issues of basic safety on the contemporary internet.
Eric Horvitz breaks down societal and technological complications of using AI.
Eric Horvitz – Artificial intelligence (AI) is at an inflection point and is poised to move into the open world and into our lives in numerous ways that will have numerous influences on people and society. While AI promises to provide great value, along with the aspirations come concerns about inadvertent costs, rough edges, and failures. Concerns include failures of automation in the open world, biased data and algorithms, opacity of reasoning, adversarial attacks on AI systems, and runaway AI. Horvitz will discuss short- and longer-term challenges and discuss studies aimed at addressing concerns, including the One Hundred Year Study on AI at Stanford University and the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society.
Eric Horvitz is a technical fellow and director at Microsoft Research. His interests span theoretical and practical challenges in AI and he has made contributions in machine learning, perception, decision making, and human-computer interaction. More information and publications are available at http://erichorvitz.com.
Marie Hicks talks about her latest book, Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing.
Marie Hicks draws on the example of our closest historical cousin–the UK– to look at the ways in which computing initiatives often go wrong in unexpected ways at the national level. In 1944, the UK led the world in electronic computing. By 1974, the British computer industry was all but extinct. What happened in the intervening thirty years holds lessons for all postindustrial superpowers. This talk will outline the systematic processes deployed by the UK government to enhance the nation’s technological superiority–and through that its global political standing–and discuss why these efforts went disastrously wrong. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the ways the US is currently falling prey to similar errors of judgement in its attempts to leverage computing technology as an engine of social and economic change.
Marie Hicks is an assistant professor of history of technology at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Her work focuses on how gender and sexuality bring hidden technological dynamics to light, and how women’s experiences change the core narrative of the history of computing. Hicks’s book, Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing is available from MIT Press (2017). For more information, see programmedinequality.com. Hicks received her MA and Ph.D. from Duke University and her BA from Harvard University. Before entering academia, she worked as a UNIX systems administrator.