Data & Society Welcomes Tamara Kneese as Senior Researcher and Project Director of AIMLab

July 12, 2023 – Data & Society is pleased to announce that Tamara Kneese has joined the organization as the Algorithmic Impact Methods Lab’s (AIMLab) senior researcher and project director.

In this role, Kneese will oversee the strategy and coordination of AIMLab’s high-impact, experimental research on new, public interest models for algorithmic impact assessment. She will lead the lab as it collaborates with diverse partners and foregrounds the communities that are most impacted by algorithmic harms. She will help our talented roster of researchers develop shared, interdisciplinary outputs that speak to broad public audiences.  

Kneese has extensive experience in human-centered technology and climate activism in the tech industry, and is passionate about addressing the harmful impacts of technology. Her research juxtaposes histories of computing and automation with ethnographies of platform labor. Most recently, she was lead researcher at Green Software Foundation. Before that, she was director of developer engagement on the green software team at Intel and assistant professor of media studies and director of gender and sexualities studies at the University of San Francisco. She’s currently writing about AI’s relationship to labor rights and environmental impacts, and her first book, Death Glitch: How Techno-Solutionism Fails Us in This Life and Beyond, will be published by Yale University Press in August 2023.

“We are excited to welcome Tamara Kneese to lead the AIMLab project at Data & Society,” said Jacob Metcalf, director of D&S’s AI on the Ground program. “Her expertise in labor and climate activism in the tech industry will be invaluable toAIMLab’s ambitions as we introduce robust public interest research methodologies that can evaluate the impacts of automated decision-making systems, a crucial next step in rebalancing power between developers and impacted communities. I am confident she will lead pioneering work in this role, and I am delighted she is a part of the team.”

“I am honored to be a part of this groundbreaking project at Data & Society,” said Kneese. “I have always admired D&S’s vision of creating a future where the values that inform data-centric technologies are grounded in equity and human dignity, and I look forward to continuing the important work of building coalitions to produce impact assessments for automated decision-making systems and holding such systems, and their creators, accountable.”

Kneese joins Jacob Metcalf, qualitative researcher Ranjit Singh, and participatory methods researcher Meg Young on the project. The AIMLab team will also welcome a technical researcher in the near future. 

In her spare time, Kneese is a volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition. She holds a Ph.D. from NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. She was a research assistant at Data & Society while she pursued her Ph.D. at NYU.  

The AIMLab project will require sustained engagement with advocacy and community groups, technology firms, regulators, and academic and civil society researchers. D&S is actively seeking potential partners with mutually aligned interests or research practices. If you are interested in collaborating, get in touch: [email protected].

The Algorithmic Impact Methods Lab has been generously supported in part by the Open Society Foundations and the Siegel Family Endowment through their Fellows Program.