Keynote Lecture, Meredith Whittaker on "AI and Social Control"
Friday, February 12, 2021, 12:00pm
Moderator: David Pennock (Director, DIMACS)
Meredith Whittaker is the co-founder and co-director, AI Now Institute, Minderoo Research Professor at New York University, Founder of Google’s Open Research Group.
This talk examines the limits of AI technologies, and their insistence on enforcing normative categories that necessarily exclude “that which doesn’t fit.” It then goes on to review the political economy driving the AI industry, AI’s recent history and capacity for social control, and how movements for justice must go beyond corporate-sponsored “ethics” and a fascination with technical mechanisms and adopt more militant tactics that contend with concentrated power, and the capacity of AI to exacerbate inequality and facilitate minority rule.
Overview: Critical AI is a new interdisciplinary initiative based at Rutgers which brings together artificial research and humanities thinking. The project is organized and led through a steering committee with support from the Center for Cultural Analysis and the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. For questions about how to register in advance, or to learn more about working group, readings, and other activities, email
Meredith Whittaker's research and advocacy focuses on the social implications of artificial intelligence and the tech industry responsible for it. Prior to NYU, she worked at Google for over a decade, where she led product and engineering teams, and co-founded M-lab, a globally distributed network measurement platform that now provides the world's largest source of open data on internet performance. As a long-time tech worker, she helped lead labor organizing at Google, driven by the belief that worker power and collective action are necessary to endure meaningful tech accountability in the context of concentrated industrial power. She has advised the White House, the FFC, the City of New York, the European Parliament, and many other governments and civil society organizations on artificial intelligence, internet policy, measurement, privacy, and security.
Optional Reading: AI Now Institute's report "Disability, Bias, and AI"