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Algorithms, Mobility, and Justice

November 28, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm  |  Engineering 2, Room 599


Are moral algorithms a reasonable solution for taking advantage of life-saving potentials of self-driving cars? In this talk, Neda Atanasoski (UCSC Professor of Feminist Studies) will engage the utilitarian framings that are dominant in the discourses on self-driving cars inclusive of the assumptions that are folded into the question above: that algorithms can be moral and self-driving cars will save lives. Drawing on feminist and care ethics, Atanasoski brings to fore the injustices built into current and future mobility systems such as laws and policies that protect car manufacturers and algorithmic biases that will have disproportionate negative impacts on the most vulnerable. Moreover, it is argued that a constricted moral imagination dominated by the reductive scenarios of the Trolley Problems is impairing design imagination of alternative futures. More specifically, that a genuine caring concern for the many lives lost in car accidents now and in the future—a concern that transcends false binary trade-offs and that recognizes the systemic biases and power structures—could serve as a starting point to rethink mobility, as it connects to the design of cities, the well-being of communities, and the future of the planet.

Neda Atanasoski is Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, Director of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and affiliated with the Film and Digital Media Department. Atanasoski has a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include race and technology; war and nationalism; gender, ethnicity, and religion; cultural studies and critical theory; media studies.

Nassim JafariNaimi is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech and the director of the Design and Social Interaction Studio which she established in 2013. JafariNaimi’s research engages the ethical and political dimensions of design practice and technology especially as related to democracy and social justice. Her research spans both theoretical and design-based inquiries situated at the intersection of Design Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Human Computer Interaction. Her writing on topics such as participatory media, smart cities, social and educational games, and algorithms have appeared in venues such as Science, Technology, and Human Values, Design Issues, Digital Creativity, and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). JafariNaimi received her PhD in Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She also holds an MS in Information Design and Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran.

Abhradeep Guha Thakurta is Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. Thakurta’s research is at the intersection of machine learning and data privacy. Primary research interest include designing privacy-preserving machine learning algorithms with strong analytical guarantees, which are robust to errors in the data. In many instances, Thakurta harnesses the privacy property of the algorithms to obtain robustness and utility guarantees. A combination of academic and industrial experience has allowed Thakurta to draw non-obvious insights at the intersection of theoretical analysis and practical deployment of privacy-preserving machine learning algorithms.

Co-Sponsored by: THI Data and Democracy Initiative, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and the Feminist Studies Department, and the Science & Justice Research Center


November 28, 2018
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Engineering 2, Room 599
Engineering 2 Building @ UCSC
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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