AI for Good: Designing an Equitable Future
March 31, 2021
Artificial intelligence (AI) can solve the world’s biggest challenges, but without thoughtful design, automated decision-making systems can pose risks and perpetuate injustices. When organizations adopt new technologies without regard to the wider social, economic, cultural, and political contexts, they can endanger privacy and security and exacerbate existing inequities in ways that are difficult to reverse.
The John Brademas Center and NYU Tandon co-hosted a conversation focused on the broader impact of AI on society. A group of leading experts joined the conversation including Heather Dowdy, Senior Program Manager, AI & Accessibility at Microsoft; Susan Gonzales, CEO at AI and You; Mona Sloane, Fellow at The Institute for Public Knowledge; and Julia Stoyanovich, NYU Center for Data Science and NYU Center for Responsible AI at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Rachel Metz, Senior Writer, CNN Business moderated this discussion on the societal impacts of technology and share the tools needed to pursue responsible AI use.
Heather Dowdy, Senior Program Manager, AI & Accessibility, Microsoft
With fifteen years of experience developing and demonstrating accessible technology in mobile, web and artificial intelligence, Heather Dowdy is passionate about connecting the dots across disability, race, and tech. She currently leads Partner Strategy for the Microsoft AI for Accessibility grant program. Heather is responsible for nurturing the growing number of global partnerships with startups, researchers, and NGOs and providing grantees with resources to scale the impact of technology for people with disabilities. As the oldest daughter of Deaf parents, Heather is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). She loves using the design thinking process to create solutions that empower marginalized communities and improve usability for everyone. A strong believer in empowering communities through education and benevolence, Heather is the co-founder of Microsoft Ninja Camp and a Board member of deaf kids CODE, providing STEM leadership training to high school students with disabilities.
Susan Gonzales, CEO, AI and You
Susan Gonzales, CEO, brings over 20 years of experience in technology, community outreach and policy to AIandYou. Susan spent most of her career in senior roles leading community outreach to diverse populations, creating partnerships and educating influencers about technology. She is a former Facebook executive where she created and led Community Engagement for the company. She also served in leadership roles at Comcast, tech start-ups, and consumer goods companies. Susan launched AIandYou when she realized a chasm existed between the AI ecosystem and communities of color. She is committed to supporting a more inclusive AI ecosystem through offering a global platform of accessible and easy to understand information about AI. Susan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.aiandyou.org
Mona Sloane, Fellow, The Institute for Public Knowledge
Mona Sloane is a sociologist working on inequality in the context of AI design and policy. She frequently publishes and speaks about AI, ethics, equitability and policy in a global context. Mona is a Fellow with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), where she convenes the Co-Opting AI series and co-curates the The Shift series. She also is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, a Senior Research Scientist at the NYU Center for Responsible AI, and is part of the inaugural cohort of the Future Imagination Collaboratory (FIC) Fellows at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mona is also affiliated with The GovLab in New York and works with Public Books as the editor of the Technology section. Her most recent project is Terra Incognita: Mapping NYC’s New Digital Public Spaces in the COVID-19 Outbreak which she leads as principal investigator. Mona currently also serves as principal investigator of the Procurement Roundtables project, a collaboration with Dr. Rumman Chowdhury (Director of Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency & Accountability at Twitter, Founder of Parity), and John C. Havens (IEEE Standards Association) that is focused on innovating AI procurement to center equity and justice. Mona also works with Emmy Award-winning journalist and NYU journalism professor Hilke Schellmann on hiring algorithms, auditing, and new tools for investigative journalism and research on AI. With Dr. Matt Statler (NYU Stern), Mona is also leading the PIT-UN Career Fair project that looks to bring together students and organizations building up the public interest technology space. Mona is also affiliated with the Tübingen AI Center in Germany where she leads a 3-year federally funded research project on the operationalization of ethics in German AI startups. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has completed fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter @mona_sloane.
Julia Stoyanovich, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, NYU Center for Data Science, NYU Center for Responsible AI
Julia Stoyanovich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Tandon School of Engineering, and the Center for Data Science. She is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award and of an NSF/CRA CI Fellowship. Julia's research focuses on responsible data management and analysis practices: on operationalizing fairness, diversity, transparency, and data protection in all stages of the data acquisition and processing lifecycle. She established the Data, Responsibly consortium, and serves on the New York City Automated Decision Systems Task Force (by appointment by Mayor de Blasio). In addition to data ethics, Julia works on management and analysis of preference data, and on querying large evolving graphs. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Columbia University, and a B.S. in Computer Science and in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Rachel Metz, Senior Writer, CNN Business
Rachel Metz is a senior writer for CNN Business based in San Francisco, California, where she covers artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality. She's fascinated by the ways computers are changing how we work and play, and even altering how we experience the world.
Metz previously worked at MIT Technology Review, where she wrote about the ways in which humans and machines are increasingly connected, and at The Associated Press, where she followed the moves of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon, and eBay and wrote gadget reviews. She has also written for publications including The New York Times and Wired.
Metz graduated from UC Berkeley, where she majored in English.
Follow her on Twitter @rachelmetz.