Eleven New Affiliates Join Data & Society

December 13, 2023 — Data & Society (D&S) is pleased to introduce eleven new affiliates to our cohort of talented researchers, thinkers, and advocates. The affiliate program strives to enhance the collective influence of our field by fostering connections and relationships between people whose work engages with the convergence of technology and the public interest. Through these collaborations, D&S aims to advance our vision of a future where data-centric technologies are grounded in equity and human dignity. 

Affiliates actively collaborate with and contribute their insights to D&S. Previous and current affiliates have produced reports, policy briefs, and workshops, and participated in D&S-led events. Affiliates are also encouraged to participate in events and programming at D&S outside their main research activities; they have access to D&S’s Slack community, where they can share and view opportunities, participate in conversations, and contribute ideas and happenings. 

“Our success in realizing a world with equitable and humane data-centric technologies is tied to the success of others in our field,” said Ania Calderon, managing director of strategy and engagement. “We look forward to nurturing deeper relationships with these affiliates and continuing to learn from each other’s expertise.”

Affiliates are formally nominated by current D&S staff and approved by senior leadership. Affiliate status is reviewed on a yearly basis each fall, but affiliates can be nominated to join on a rolling basis throughout the year.

The new affiliates are:

Samiha Akhter is a passionate researcher with experience designing adaptive interventions for developing world market systems. Keenly interested in navigating the nexus of human rights, digital economy, women’s empowerment, and international development, she currently serves as a research associate at DataSense, a strategic business unit at iSocial (Infolady Social Enterprise Limited) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. There, she also serves as the department focal and lead coordinator for a research project. Her career trajectory reflects her dedication to driving impactful change through her multifaceted expertise in research, analysis, and project management. Samiha earned her bachelor’s degree in economics with a double major in finance from BRAC University. 

Shamarukh Alam is a senior fellow at iSocial Limited in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Borhane Blili-Hamelin is an ethicist who brings a philosophical and qualitative lens to technical areas like machine learning evaluation, auditing, risk assessment, red teaming, and vulnerability management. As an officer at ARVA, the nonprofit home of the AI Vulnerability Database (AVID), he works on standards for discovering and disclosing harmful flaws in AI systems. He coordinated AVID’s work as a community partner organization for the White House-supported DEF CON 31 Generative Red Team event, and works on algorithmic audits as a senior consultant at BABL. Borhane’s current research projects study the potential of red-teaming for empowering communities to recognize and prevent generative AI harm, and explicitly value-laden and pluralistic correctives to key practices and concepts in AI research such as benchmarks and AGI. A former project lead for the Mozilla Festival’s Civil Society Actors for Trustworthy AI working group and a former MozFest wrangler, he earned his PhD in philosophy from Columbia University.

Jenna Burrell previously served as Data & Society’s director of research. Before joining D&S, she was a professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley. There, she was co-director of the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Group (AFOG), which brought together faculty and students from across campus to facilitate research on how algorithmic systems can be designed, used, or regulated to support more equitable and just societies. Her research focuses on how marginalized communities adapt digital technologies to meet their needs and to pursue their goals and ideals. These days she spends a lot of time thinking about ways of protecting human control and autonomy in the wake of artificial intelligence and the possibilities for democratizing technology. Jenna is the author of Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana (MIT Press). She earned a PhD in sociology from the London School of Economics and a BA in computer science from Cornell University.

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman is a full professor in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, and a faculty associate in the history of science department and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her scholarship and teaching address questions of science, technology and medicine, focusing on the politics, cultures, and ethics of hacking. Gabriella is the author of two books on computer hackers and the founder and editor of Hack_Curio, a video portal into the cultures of hacking . In 2022, she hosted the BBC4 radio and podcast series, The Hackers. Previously, she held the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University and was an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.

Ludmila Costhek Abílio is a sociologist who researches informal, precarious, and socially invisible work. She is currently a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo and a visiting professor in the sociology graduate program at the University of Campinas. For more than ten years, she has been closely following transformations in the work of motorcycle delivery drivers in the city of São Paulo, and more recently, in England. She is one of the leading academic references on the Uberization of work and platform work in Brazil.  

Beth Duckles is a co-founder and research director of Organizational Mycology, which supports evidence-based strategy development in communities. She is currently conducting qualitative research to create a training program and community of practice for leaders of open source scientific software projects. She is also a senior researcher at the  AI Risk and Vulnerability Alliance and a project co-lead on the Red Teaming in the Public Interest Project. Beth takes a mixed-method social science approach to complex cross-disciplinary problems spanning academic, government, nonprofit, and private sectors. She was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy, has conducted research on standard-setting in the green building industry, and has taught courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Beth served as a wrangler for Mozilla Festival’s 2022 Sustainability and Climate Change Space, and as the founder and co-director of Open Post Academics (OPA), an online peer-support community for people with PhDs. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Arizona.

Jinat Jahan Khan is a senior research assistant at the BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health. Previously, she was a research associate at DataSense, where she contributed to projects like the Fairwork Bangladesh Report 2022. Her other studies explored the potential role of employer and business membership organizations (EBMOs) in the gig economy, and the working conditions of women in platform-based work. Jinat received the best paper award under the theme of labor market and employment at the South Asian Economics Students’ Meet in 2023. The paper focused on the determinants of farmer empowerment and employment in major agriculture sectors in Bangladesh. Jinat is a recipient of the Female Champions Fellowship, a collaboration between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Centre for Research and Development. Her fellowship research focused on the financial literacy of social sciences students at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She completed her honors and master’s in economics at the University of Dhaka. 

Ananya Raihan is a leading policy researcher in Bangladesh, and an Ashoka fellow. In a global research program run by the Oxford Internet Institute’s Fairwork Foundation, Ananya leads Fairwork Bangladesh in ranking the digital platforms engaging gig workers, with the goal of gathering evidence and influencing platforms to create better conditions for platform workers in Bangladesh. He has worked with the government of Bangladesh in various policy engagement roles, and as an e-governance advisor, helping to shape the Digital Bangladesh agenda. He is a member of a panel of economists designing Bangladesh’s Eighth Five-Year Plan. As an economist, Ananya led research at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, a leading think tank in Bangladesh. He also produced research papers for ADB, DAI, ILO, ICTSD, WTO-ITC, UNCTAD, IDRC, UNICEF, OXFAM, UNESCAP, UNESCO, and many other institutions at home and abroad. He previously served as a member of the global advisory body of the Institute of Development Studies at University of Sussex. Ananya holds a PhD in Economics from Institute of Cybernetics, National Academy of Science, Ukraine.

Aayush Rathi is a research lead at the Centre for Internet and Society, where he does interdisciplinary work on labor informalities, welfare systems and digitization. His work contributes to academic and policy discourse through sociolegal research that amplifies the experiences of historically marginalized communities. Aayush also works with free software projects that create empowering technologies for vulnerable communities, and is currently helping Tails OS raise funds. He holds a degree in law and humanities from the National University of Juridical Sciences. 

Ambika Tandon is a feminist researcher and activist working at the intersection of labor, economy, and technology. She has six years of experience working with civil society organizations in developmental and digital rights. Ambika is currently a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, studying outcomes for women workers in India’s platform economy. 

Read the bios of all our affiliates here.

About Data & Society

Data & Society is an independent nonprofit research organization, studying the social implications of data-centric technologies and automation. We recognize that the same innovative technologies that may benefit society can also be abused to invade privacy, provide new tools of discrimination, foreclose opportunity and harm individuals and communities. Through original research and inclusive engagement, we work to ensure that empirical evidence and respect for human dignity guide how technology is developed and governed.