Vulnerabilities in a sociotechnical society
danah boyd, Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research

Mar. 28, 2018, 3:30 p.m., Physics/Astronomy Auditorium (PAA), A102

[Watch a recording of this seminar on YouTube.]

Abstract

Data-driven and algorithmic systems increasingly underpin many decision-making systems, shaping where law enforcement are stationed and what news you are shown on social media. The design of these systems is inscribed with organizational and cultural values. Often, these systems depend on the behavior of everyday people, who may not act as expected. Meanwhile, adversarial actors also seek to manipulate the data upon which these systems are built for personal, political, and economic reasons. In this talk, danah will unpack some of the unique cultural challenges presented by “big data” and machine learning, raising critical questions about fairness and accountability. She will describe how those who are manipulating media for lulz are discovering the attack surfaces of new technical systems and how their exploits may undermine many aspects of society that we hold dear. Above all, she will argue that we need to develop more sophisticated ways of thinking about technology before jumping to hype and fear.

Bio

A photo of Danah Boyddanah boyd is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, the founder and president of Data & Society, and a visiting professor at New York University. Her research is focused on addressing social and cultural inequities by understanding the relationship between technology and society. Her most recent books – “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” and “Participatory Culture in a Networked Age” – examine the intersection of everyday practices and social media.

She is a 2011 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a director of both Crisis Text Line and Social Science Research Council, and a trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University, a master’s degree from the MIT Media Lab, and a Ph.D in Information from the University of California, Berkeley.