‘Tech 4 Social Good Day’ panels and workshops will focus on sparking ideas and collaborations that address social problems in technology

NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) will host the first Tech 4 Social Good Day, a student-run, unconference-inspired event consisting of explorations, talks, and workshops on the intersection of social good and technology, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at NYU’s Brooklyn campus (370 Jay Street). This event is free and open to the public.

The event will be hands-on and is designed to create motivation and energy around using technological skills to solve problems and make society a better place. Participants will collaborate and learn new skills through workshops dedicated to creating art using machine learning techniques; creating activist plans around particular social issues; creating sustainable, solar-powered websites; scraping the web to develop representative datasets; developing strategies for data privacy; and more.

Panel discussions and lightning talks will cover some of the most pressing issues shaping technology today with invited artists, academics, and community leaders and include ethics in artificial intelligence, digital censorship of LGBTQIA+ and POC bodies, tech in healthcare and assistive technology, algorithmic bias, data visualization for activism, and the future of STEAM education (where arts education and critical engagement is as equally valued and integrated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The event is designed to be broad and welcoming to multiple communities within and external to NYU to facilitate unique collaborations and ideas at the intersection of multiple fields.

“The Tech 4 Social Good Day conference came to fruition out of a collective desire to see a technological future that prioritizes ethics and better serves a wider societal demographic. Imagination and creativity are imperative to unlearning the current, problematic models for working with and developing technology,” said Ashley Jane Lewis, a creative technologist working at the intersection of culture, tech, and art, and co-founder of NYU ITP’s Tech and Society student club.

“We believe that creative technologists stand at vital middle ground between emerging technology, civil society, and culture. With that mindset, we are hoping that participants of Tech 4 Social Good Day will meet each other, learn new skills, center marginalized identities and consider fresh ways to incorporate ethics into their work and practice,” she continued.

The conference will kick-off Friday, January 31 at 6:30 p.m. with a keynote talk from Charlton McIlwain, Vice Provost of Faculty Engagement and Development at NYU, entitled ‘Remember When the Internet Was Black?’. McIlwain is the author of the recently-released book Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the Afronet to Black Lives Matter. Following the keynote, there will be a series of informal five minute ignite talks by conference participants and a wine reception and viewing of artwork created by NYU students.

Saturday, February 1 will feature a full day of lightning talks, think tanks, discussions, and workshops at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program on the 4th floor of 370 Jay Street.

The full schedule is below and more information is available at www.techforsocialgood.rocks. Event attendees should register at https://t4sgday.eventbrite.com. This event is organized by Veronica Alfaro, Anthony Bui, Lydia Jessup, Ashley Jane Lewis, and Mary Notari from the ITP Tech & Society working group and is sponsored by NYU ITP, Tisch GSO, 370🅙 Project, and the NYU Office of Programming, Partnerships, and Community Engagement in Brooklyn.

Tech 4 Social Good Day January 31 – Feb 1 Schedule:

DAY 1: Friday, January 31, 2020
NYU Tisch School of the Arts – Brooklyn Campus
370 Jay Street, 12th Floor
6:00 p.m. - Doors Open

6:30 p.m. - Keynote

"Remember When the Internet Was Black?" - Charlton McIlwain (NYU Steinhardt)

7:30 p.m. - Ignite Talks

A series of informal 5 min. talks by conference participants––facilitated by the organizers––in order to share what they are working on and solicit collaborators.

8:00 p.m. - Wine Reception + Art Viewing

Artworks by students.


DAY 2: Saturday, February 1, 2020
NYU Tisch School of the Arts – Brooklyn Campus
Interactive Telecommunications Program
370 Jay Street, 4th Floor
9:30 a.m. - Doors Open

10:00 a.m. - Coffee + Welcome from the organizers

10:15 a.m. - Lightning Talks – 7 min long Pecha Kucha style talks by invited speakers

  • "The Moral Machine: Bias and Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" - Cara Neel (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • "Taking a Human-Centric Approach to Designing AI-Powered Applications" Atharva Patil (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • "From Keyboard Warrior to Valiant Frontliner: Hong Kong Protests Strategies Observed" - Winnie Yoe (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • "Tech + Design for Healthcare and Assistive Technologies" - Veronica Alfaro (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • "Algorithmic Fairness" - Sylvan Zheng (ITP, NYU Tisch)

11:00 a.m. - Morning Sessions

  • Room 1: Think Tank - "Future-Proofing STEAM Education" - Convener: Rashida Kamal (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 2: Discussion - "Networked Bodies of Resistance" - Convener: Gabriella Garcia (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 3: Think Tank - “Rethinking Nuclear Energy Systems” - Convener: Morgan Mueller (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 4: Discussion - “Making and Making Kin” - Convener: Katya Rozanova (IDM, NYU Tandon)
  • Room 5: Working Group - MUST APPLY - "ml5.js: License and Community Statement Working Group" - Convener: The ITP ML5 Working Group

12:30 p.m. - Lunch Provided

1:30 p.m. - Afternoon Session 1

  • Room 1: Workshop - "Web Scraping for Better Datasets" - Facilitator: Brent Bailey (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 2: Workshop - "Social Media Mindfulness Working Group" - Facilitator: Charles Huang (Game Design, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 3: Workshop - "Practical Digital Security for the Aspiring Radical: Tech for Social Justice Workshop" - Facilitators: Tushar Goyal + Mark Lam (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 4: Workshop - "Dark / Net/ Art: "An Intro to Self-Publishing through Tor" - Facilitators: Jackie Liu + Cezar Mocan (ITP, NYU Tisch)

3:00 p.m. - Break

3:15 p.m. - Afternoon Session 2

  • Room 1: Workshop - "Creative Activism in the Age of Fake News" - Facilitator: Mary Notari (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 2: Workshop - "The Relevance of Trash" - Facilitators: Luming Hao + Hannah Tardie (ITP, NYU Tisch)
  • Room 3: Workshop - "Solar Powered Servers and Sustainable Web Design" - Facilitators: Benedetta Piantella + Alex Nathanson (IDM, NYU Tandon)
  • Room 4: Workshop - "Making Critical Art with Machine Learning" - Facilitators: Christina Dacanay, Andri Kumar and Peiling Jiang (ITP, NYU Tisch)

5:00 p.m. - Final Lecture/Closing

  • Lyel Resner (ITP Adjunct Professor, NYU Tisch)

About NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program
ITP is a two-year graduate program in the NYU Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people's lives. ITP suggests that the best way to describe the program is as a “Center for the Recently Possible.” To find out more about ITP, go to itp.nyu.edu.


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Sarah Binney
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