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Miranda Katz of WIRED interviews D&S founder and president danah boyd on the evolving public discourse around disinformation and how the tech industry can help rebuild American society.

“It’s actually really clear: How do you reknit society? Society is produced by the social connections that are knit together. The stronger those networks, the stronger the society. We have to make a concerted effort to create social ties, social relationships, social networks in the classic sense that allow for strategic bridges across the polis so that people can see themselves as one.”


D&S researcher Mary Madden shared her findings from her recent report “Privacy, Security and Digital Inequality.”

“Not only do Americans with lower levels of income and education have fewer technology resources, but they also express heightened sensitivities about a range of data privacy concerns.”


D&S founder danah boyd discusses machine learning algorithms and prejudice, digital white flight on social media, trust in the media, and more on The Ezra Klein Show.

“Technology is made by people in a society, and it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life.”


D&S lawyer-in-residence Rebecca Wexler describes the intersection of automated technologies, trade secrets, and the criminal justice system.

For-profit companies dominate the criminal justice technologies industry and produce computer programs that are widespread throughout the justice system. These automated programs deploy cops, analyze forensic evidence, and assess the risk levels of inmates. But these technological advances may be making the system less fair, and without access to the source code, it’s impossible to hold computers to account.


D&S researcher Mary Madden was interviewed by the American Press Institute about Madden’s recent Knight Foundation-supported report, “How Youth Navigate the News Landscape.”

However, one of my favorite quotes was from a participant who described a future where news would be delivered by hologram: “I think like it’s going to be little holograms. You’re going to open this thing and a little guy’s going to come out and tell you about stuff.”

Given that some participants said they already found notifications annoying, I’m not sure how successful the little hologram guy would be, but it was clear that the participants fully expected that the news industry would continue to evolve and innovate in creative ways moving forward.


D&S fellow Anne L. Washington discusses her previous research as a digital government scholar and her upcoming work examining US open data policy, funded through a five-year National Science Foundation Early Faculty Research Career grant.

“We use a secret language in academia sometimes,” [Washington] says, laughing. “‘Technology management’ is about how organisations leverage digital assets for strategic business goals. My doctorate is in management information systems.  On the other side of that is ‘informatics’, which comes from the library science tradition. Over centuries, librarians have refined how to store and retrieve knowledge so people can find what they need and walk away smarter. Informatics takes this basic idea and scales it up for massive digital collections.”


Other | 04.03.17

Narcissism, Social Media and Power

Alice Marwick, Miranda Giacomin

D&S fellow Alice Marwick discusses narcissism and the attention economy in this interview with Kinfolk.


Radio NZ | 02.15.17

Uber & Alex Rosenblat

Alex Rosenblat

D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat was interviewed by Radio NZ about Uber and the promises it makes its drivers, i.e. flexible hours and freedom.


The New Inquiry | 01.23.17

Data Streams

Hito Steyerl, Kate Crawford

D&S affiliate Kate Crawford and Hito Steyerl converse about “NSA bros, dataveillance, apex predators, AI, and empathy machines.”


D&S advisor Anil Dash presents the newest episode of On Being.

Back in November, I got to sit down with the amazing Krista Tippett for a lengthy interview in front of an incredibly warm crowd in Easton, MD. Now, that interview has been edited down and is available as the latest episode of Krista’s hugely popular show, On Being.


D&S advisor Claudia Perlich discusses modeling, transparency, and machine learning in a new episode of the Partially Derivative podcast.

“One pitfall I see is that it’s easy from a social science perspective to condemn all data science as evil…but that ultimately doesn’t help advance the situation.”


D&S researcher Tim Hwang participates in episode 11 of Big Thinkers.


interview | 10.31.16

Heather Dewey-Hagborg Questions DNA as Big Data

Joel Kuennen, Heather Dewey-Hagborg

D&S artist-in-residence Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s work was recently profiled in ArtSlant.

At the same time, DNA extraction and sequencing has never been cheaper or easier. In light of this and the continued reliance on DNA as forensic proof, artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg approaches the cultural conception of DNA through a hacker mindset, exploiting vulnerabilities in our legal code to expose society’s unwarranted reliance on DNA as an object of truth.


D&S founder danah boyd was recently interviewed for 52 Insights.

As she fires out her progressive opinions at rapid speed, what becomes immediately apparent is just how immensely passionate she is about her work. Her research revolves around the world of new technologies, social media and today’s youth and how they all fit together in our society. She is also a Principal Researcher at Microsoft and founder of the Data & Society Research Institute. As we discover, she is a fervent defender of young people and admonishing of her own generation’s eagerness to place blame on them. At the end of the day, her work is very much about the notion of equality and how we can create it with these many new tools we have.

We believe danah boyd has some very important things to say, and with over 100,000 followers on Twitter, her voice is already being heard.


D&S advisor Alondra Nelson was interviewed for PBS NewsHour about her book, “The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.”

That’s the critical piece, because we know for communities of color, that genetics has not always been a rosy piece of research. I mean, that there have been historical tragedies in the past that would lead particularly African-Americans to be suspicious of genetic testing.

And so, the ability to opt-in, the ability to now in the 21st century use genetics to do something powerful, to tell a powerful story about your identity and your life, and to choose how you want to take that story up. So, sometimes people get information that they find useful or interesting, and sometimes they don’t. But because you have opted in as a consumer, you get to choose, you get to adjudicate whether or not you think that information is useful for your story.

 

 


D&S artist-in-residence Ingrid Burrington was interviewed for The Intercept about her book and took a walking tour with her interviewer, Cora Currier.

I asked Burrington what she hoped people would do with her guide. It is empowering to know what you’re looking at, but also overwhelming to consider the scale of the apparatus around you. Burrington described a public records battle she lost to get the locations of NYPD cameras; the city said the data could help criminals. In the process, Burrington realized that the data she was seeking wouldn’t account for unmarked cameras and privately owned cameras that could be turned over to police. To map the entire surveillance network of a city would require a huge effort and become quickly outdated.


D&S fellow Karen Levy was interviewed for Philosophical Disquistions about intimate surveillance.


D&S fellow Mimi Onuoha is interviewed about design processes and current projects.


Brian Standing interviews D&S Researcher Ingrid Burrington about the material impacts and labor of a seemingly immaterial network.


“On today’s podcast, I get to interview Alex Rosenblat, a researcher from the Data & Society Research Institute. Now that name may seem familiar because in addition to spending the last 9 months studying how Uber drivers interact with the driver app, Alex has also published several very popular articles on things like Uber’s phantom cabs and a technical paper on the subject of driver control.”

Harry Campbell, Alex Rosenblat On How Much Control Uber Really Has Over Its Drivers, The Rideshare Guy Podcast, November 25, 2015


interview | 11.20.15

Why Machines Discriminate- and How to Fix Them

Kate Crawford, Suresh Venkatasubramanian

In this interview on Science Friday, D&S advisor Kate Crawford discusses how biases that are present in our culture can be found in big data sets that are used to train algorithms that will make critical decisions such picking resumes of job applicants or approving loans. Joined by Suresh Venkatasubramanian this discussion provides an overview and understanding of “why machines discriminate- and how to fix them.”


D&S fellow Noel Hidalgo discusses his work in civic tech past, present, and future in an interview by James Burke who is with the Open State Foundation and the P2P foundation.

To hear more about open government, civic hacking, and projects currently happening in NYC listen to James’ interview with Noel at P2P.


interview | 07.20.15

Internet infrastructure

Ingrid Burrington

“…we’ll take a tour of the visible internet infrastructure in Lower Manhattan with Ingrid Burrington, a fellow at the Data & Society [Research] Institute.”

Ben Johnson, Marketplace Tech for Monday, July 20, 2015


“On Monday, Apple revealed a more inquisitive Siri for iOS 9—a direct competitor to Android’s Google Now. Each smartphone feature seeks to anticipate your next move by offering up suggestions, directions, and the like. [D&S advisor] Hilary Mason, who is founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs, says Siri and Google Now are examples of ‘companies using all of the data they’ve gathered about us [to] actually make our lives better.’ She joins Ira to discuss how much insight our smartphones have into our behavior, and whether or not there are limits to what they can predict about us.”


“Nu even concreet; hoe ziet dat eruit?
“[D&S fellow Anthony Townsend:] Dat is moeilijk te zeggen. Maar we hebben het online niet op orde en we sluiten de wereld offline daar op aan. Om een voorbeeld te geven: vorig jaar leidde een psychologisch experiment met gemanipuleerde Facebookreacties tot een groot schandaal. Stel je voor dat de slimme thermostaten van Nest worden ingezet voor een experiment en de temperatuur een beetje opvoeren of lager zetten. Om energie te besparen, misschien, maar met potentieel grote gevolgen voor onze gezondheid. Dan zijn de consequenties niet meer alleen emotioneel of sociaal, maar ook fysiek. Het is denkbaar dat bedrijven en overheden straks de fysieke omgeving manipuleren en we zijn daar op geen enkele manier, door ethische of juridische kaders, op berekend.”

Bart van Zoelen, ‘Als je Amsterdam eenmaal beleeft als smart city, is het moeilijk teruggaan’, Het PAROOL, March 15, 2015


“Seeta Gangadharan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Open Technology Institute in Washington DC [and a D&S fellow]. She discusses the automated systems, known as algorithms, that are replacing human discretion more and more often. Algorithms are a simple set of mathematical rules embedded in the software to complete a task. They allow google to rank pages according to their relevance and popularity when people conduct an internet search, and allow internet sites like Amazon and Netflix to monitor our purchases and suggest related items. But open technology advocates say there is not enough oversight of these algorithms, which can perpetuating poverty and inequality.”

Kathryn Ryan, The computer algorithms that run our lives, Nine To Noon (Radio New Zealand), 23 February 2015


“[D&S advisor] Dr. Alondra Nelson studies gender and black studies at the intersection of science, technology, and medicine. She is the author of numerous articles, including, ‘Bio Science: Genetic Genealogy Testing and the Pursuit of African Ancestry,’ as well as Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and the forthcoming The Social Life of DNA. We talked to her in the Trustees’ Room at Columbia University where she is professor of sociology and gender studies and the Dean of Social Science.”

Jamie Courville, Interview with Alondra Nelson: Race + Gender + Technology + Medicine, JSTOR Daily, February 18, 2015


“According to [D&S fellows] Karen Levy and Tim Hwang, the metaphors we use to describe our digital life matter, because the metaphors we use have baggage. In a recent article, ​’The Cloud’ and Other Dangerous Metaphors, they say that the assumptions embedded in metaphors become embedded in our discussions. And that can make us lose track of what it is we’re really talking about.”

Surfing, streams and clouds – the dangers of digital metaphor, CBC Spark, February 1, 2015


MIT Technology Review | 11.18.14

Smart Cities Will Take Many Forms

Anthony Townsend

“What does a city taken over by computers—or perhaps smartphones—look like?
“[D&S fellow Anthony Townsend:] ‘A city that’s taken over by computers designed by a big technology company is going to look like a machine. It’s going to be highly automated, highly centralized, and very efficient. It may not be a lot of fun, it may not be terribly respectful of our desire for privacy, it may not be very resilient. On the other hand, we could design cities that have a very decentralized, very redundant kind of infrastructure where the services that we create using sensors and displays and all these digital technologies are trying to achieve objectives that are more in line with increasing social interaction, increasing sustainable behaviors, reinforcing the development of culture, creativity, and wellness. So there are very different possible outcomes. It’s really up to the choices we make.'”

Nate Berg, Smart Cities Will Take Many Forms, MIT Technology Review, November 18, 2014


“In this episode, I talk with [D&S fellow] Ingrid Burrington, a researcher and artist using technology and mapping to explore interesting, often unseen places. I met Ingrid at an Open Knowledge Festival 2014 fringe event in Berlin this past summer, where she gave a presentation entitled Internet Groundtruth, which explored the (mostly) hidden infrastructure of the world’s biggest network – the Internet – using untraditional methods.”

Alex Fink, Episode #20 – What Lies Beneath the Surface: Infrastructure Groundtruth with Ingrid Burrington, The OKCast, October 28, 2014


Excerpt: “[D&S fellow] Bonnie Tijerina: ‘Right now I am working on creating resources for digital privacy literacy, helping to ensure our communities are aware of the rights they give up when they are online and empower them to choose what makes sense for them with the right knowledge. I am also talking with various stakeholders about an increased role for libraries to play in storing and making accessible open data and providing support for citizen scientists’ participation in the big data movement.'”


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