Bias and Power
While algorithms and artificial intelligence are often touted as neutral and unbiased decision-making tools, research such as Dr. Joy Buolamwini and Dr. Timnit Gebru’s Gender Shades project illustrates that these technologies rarely perform equally well across all populations and demographics. The impacts of these performance differences can have far-reaching consequences in the workplace, in court, and even in the online dating pool. Join us as we explore the industrial, legal, cultural, and social implications of this research with Dr. Ifeoma Ajunwa from the University of North Carolina School of Law and Dr. Apryl Williams from the University of Michigan.
Meet the Guest: Apryl A. Williams
Presented by Elizabeth Renieris
Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication & Media and the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan
Faculty Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
Apryl A. Williams is jointly appointed as assistant professor in the Department of Communication & Media and the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. Her research interests converge at the intersection of popular culture, internet culture, race, gender, and technology. Williams uses a Black feminist lens to probe the intersection of body size and race in online identity movements across digital platforms. Her research draws on critical cultural theory, media studies scholarship, and sociological perspectives to explore the growing acceptance of body positivity and concurrent counternarratives.
Williams’ research has been published in leading interdisciplinary journals including Social Media + Society, Information, Communication & Society, the International Journal of Communication, and the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. She also serves as series editor of Emerald Studies in Media and Communications, where she has co-edited five books on aspects of digital culture such as international media flows, digital inequalities, and digital publics. Williams is also serving as guest editor for a special issue on Digital Life and COVID-19 at the American Behavioral Scientist journal. Her research has also been covered in Time Magazine, Slate, NPR’s On the Media, The Guardian, and other notable popular communications outlets.
In addition to her appointment at NDIAS, she was recently co-awarded Mississippi State University’s Research to Advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access grants program to study the impact of privatized surveillance on communities of color in the U.S. Williams is also a faculty associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and an Affiliated Researcher at NYU’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies.
Meet the Guest: Ifeoma Ajunwa
Presented by Kirsten Martin
Law professor, University of North Carolina School of Law; Adjunct Associate Professor, Kenan-Flagler School of Business
Founding Director of the Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research (AI-DR) Program at UNC Law
Dr. Ifeoma Ajunwa is a tenured law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and an adjunct associate professor at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business where she is a Rethinc. Labs Fellow. She is also the founding director of the Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research (AI-DR) Program at UNC Law. Professor Ajunwa is a 2019 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, and a 2018 recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Previously, she was an associate professor in the Labor Relations, Law, and History Department of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School (ILR), where she received the Junior Faculty Champion Award from Cornell University and earned tenure in 2020. She has been a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University since 2017. She is also a certified Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) expert and consultant since 2020.
Dr. Ajunwa’s research interests are at the intersection of law and technology with a particular focus on the ethical governance of workplace technologies. Her research focus is also on diversity and inclusion in the labor market and the workplace. Dr. Ajunwa’s forthcoming book, The Quantified Worker, which examines the role of technology in the workplace and its effects on management practices as moderated by employment law, will be published by Cambridge University Press. Dr. Ajunwa is a founding board member of the Labor Tech Research Network, which is an international group of scholars committed to the research of the ethics of AI used in the workplace and for labor. She has previously served as a board member for the Institute for Africa Development (IAD) and for the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP).
Dr. Ajunwa’s scholarly articles have been published or are forthcoming in both top law review and peer reviewed publications. Dr. Ajunwa has been invited to testify before the U.S. Congress (Committee on Education and Labor), governmental agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC), and has served as a keynote speaker at several national and international conferences. Dr. Ajunwa is currently a contributor for Forbes. Her writing has also been published in other media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Harvard Business Review, and the ACLU Blog. Dr. Ajunwa earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York (emphasis on Organizational Theory and Law and Society), where she was a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow. Prior to graduate school, she also earned a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she received the AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship and the Frank C. Newman Fellowship for International Law. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Davis, where she was a McNair Scholar.
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- Apryl A. Williams, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication & Media and the Digital Studies Institute, University of Michigan; Faculty Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
- Ifeoma Ajunwa, Law Professor, University of North Carolina School of Law; Adjunct Associate Professor, Kenan-Flagler School of Business; Founding Director, Artificial Intelligence Decision-Making Research (AI-DR) Program, University of North Carolina School of Law