Categories
Alliance Projects

Career Fair PIT-UN Challenge 2021

Career Fair PIT-UN Challenge 2021

A 1.5 day event bringing together undergraduate and graduate students with PIT organizations and PIT faculty

Funder: New Venture Fund

NYU’s commitment to The Alliance and to the PIT-UN extends to this and any project funded by the network. NYU is committed to leveraging the resources in the Office of the Provost through its Center for Faculty Advancement (CFA), to support this project in every way necessary to ensure the PIs successfully achieve our shared goals. For this project, CFA will leverage its resources to provide operations management support for this project, in addition to other resources as necessary to sustain the project.

The PIT-UN career fair aims to bring together undergraduate and graduate students with PIT organizations and PIT faculty to grow their PIT knowledge, make lasting connections, and collaborate in building the PIT-field at large. To meet these objectives, the PIT-UN career fair will be comprised of a 1.5 day event at NYU that will feature: Keynotes by leading experts in PIT (particularly NYU alums working in PIT as well as faculty who are PIT experts from NYU and other PIT-UN universities). Fire presentations by faculty on PIT-relevant topics. Workshops and case study competition for students where organizations bring real-world PIT challenges to the table for students to work on in interdisciplinary teams (computer science, social science, humanities); at the end of the second day, the solutions to the case study challenge will be evaluated by an expert panel comprised of PIT faculty and practitioners and be awarded a prize Roundtables that focus on the most pressing applied PIT-themes and issues (which can be sponsored by tech companies or PIT organizations) and that feature a mix of PIT practitioners, policy makers, faculty, and potentially students.

Panels focused on PIT career related topics with experts from academia, industry, NGOs, potentially be moderated by student moderators Booths where PIT organizations, NGOs, foundations, corporations, and PIT-UN universities can present themselves and showcase their work. A gallery that showcases a selection of PIT-related work of NYU students across all schools (such as end of year projects, or capstones), as well as career profiles of PIT professionals. A bulletin board with PIT job openings (virtual via a subsite of the NYU Alliance website; and analogue as an actual bulletin board in the career fair space). A book fair that sells a curated collection of PIT-relevant books. A reception at the end of day 1 and a party at the end of day 2 to facilitate networking. Videos of the keynotes and fire presentations by faculty, as well as selected interviews with speakers and participants.

Principal Investigators

Dr. Matt Statler is the Richman Family Director of Business Ethics and Social Impact Programming and a Clinical Associate Professor of Business and Society at NYU Stern School of Business. In this role he oversees Stern’s Social Impact Core Curriculum, which includes four courses required of all undergraduates that deal with ethical issues including the development and deployment of technology.

Dr. Mona Sloane is a sociologist based at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering where she teaches social science to engineers. She researches inequality in the context of AI design and policy. She also is affiliated with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, The GovLab, and with Public Books.

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Alliance Projects

Public Interest Technology Institute

Public Interest Technology Institute

A 2-week virtual conference for early and mid-career faculty who seek to accelerate their work in public interest technology

The NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology proposes to create and deliver the Public Interest Technology Institute, a 2-week boot camp for early and mid-career faculty who seek to accelerate their work in public interest technology. Participants will be primarily members of groups historically underrepresented in technology work. The results of the training, including lessons learned, will be compiled into a whitepaper that will be shared in the PIT-UN community and on the NYU Alliance website.

We intend to support 15 scholars through technology training sessions and writing collaboratives to share, support, and help each other plan and execute new work. The Institute will be a 2 week intensive in-person workshop and 1 year of ongoing mentorship. Our primary collaborator will be the Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies, a connecting point for a worldwide community of interdisciplinary researchers concerned with technology and inequality specifically through the lens of race. We will identify and recruit scholars through our CRDS networks, through NYU, and through the PIT-UN network. We will bring participants to NYC (or to a virtual space depending on COVID-19) for networking and training. The first week of the program will focus on technology training that will allow scholars to enhance their digital methods skills and empower them around technology. The second week of the session will be focused on refining the scholars’ own work, creating project plans, forging research collaborations, and meeting with senior scholars for mentorship. Our intention is to give scholars skills and networks to help build and develop new research collaborations in public interest technology.

We are motivated to build bridges between critical scholars and those trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project will have three annual virtual check-ins to maintain and establish connections after the summer intensives. Critical technology scholars and CRDS members have already committed to participate, per the letters of support. A newsletter will support efforts and will amplify the work of the junior and senior scholars involved in the project. Participants will be primarily from the social sciences and humanities. Our partnership with CRDS will ensure that we reach and enroll a diverse group of scholars. As outlined elsewhere in the application, we will use a community-driven approach to devise the curriculum in order to maximize the impact for the scholars’ careers.

Our project is a pilot for a public-interest technology research network training institute that focuses on the professionalization needs of early career scholars publishing interdisciplinary material. The institute will increase the available research at the intersection of race and public interest technology while also supporting a career pipeline. This project will both establish professional networks while also building better research for this cutting edge area. A whitepaper about what we learned will be circulated in the PIT-UN community and on the Alliance website. The training will be a pilot that can be replicated at NYU in future years and across the PIT University Network, constituting a shared resource. We anticipate that as new members of the PIT-UN community, this pilot will allow us to create relationships throughout the network. Digital studies scholars need additional support to navigate traditional academic boundaries while forging this emerging field of study. Scholars whose interests intersect with race and inequality have additional hurdles. This effort will support this uniquely vulnerable group of academics at a time where public interest technology needs to expand access to new voices.

Principal Investigators

Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of the award-winning book Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is an affiliate faculty member at the Moore Sloan Data Science Environment at the NYU Center for Data Science and her work has been supported by the Institute of Museum & Library Services; the Reynolds Journalism Institute; and the Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School.

Dr. Anne L. Washington, Assistant Professor of Data Policy at NYU, is a scholar of public-interest technology with an expertise in government data. Data policy has roots in management information systems, law, and informatics. At the broadest level, her research considers the ethical impact of technology on society through the lens of digital record keeping. As a computer scientist trained in organizational ethnography, she unites inductive qualitative research methods with technology tools. The National Science Foundation has recognized her work on digital government in multiple grants and she is the recipient of the prestigious five-year NSF CAREER award for research on open data. Before completing her doctorate, she worked at Barclays Global Investors, the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress, and Apple Computers. Her academic contributions build on these accomplishments connecting methodology and data management to matters in the public interest.

Categories
Alliance Projects

Divergent Spaces

Divergent Spaces

Digital platforms, Gentrification, and Neighborhood Organizing during COVID-19 in NYC

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jordan Kraemer

Funder: Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response Grant

Urban social and economic disparities have come out in sharp relief in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City, marked by new political organizing and large-scale protests over racial and economic injustice. These mobilizations are taking place across social and mobile technology platforms, such as neighborhood mutual aid and support groups, in ways that are unprecedented. But practices on mobile apps and social media often reproduce existing inequalities. This project examines how emerging technologies contribute to divergent experiences of urban space in gentrifying neighborhoods of Brooklyn, through participatory research with groups in Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, and Crown Heights. Conceptually, it draws on approaches from anthropology, cultural geography, and feminist technology studies to understand how intersections of race, gender, and class take place on and through technology. Historically, both technology and public space have constituted white, masculine, middle-class domains. How are current technology platforms enabling or challenging existing structures of power, such as neighborhood groups on Facebook, Nextdoor, and Whatsapp or community organizing on Slack and Instagram? Methodologically, the project is grounded in digital ethnography, bringing the established tools of anthropological fieldwork to online, digital spaces. The research includes remote participant-observation and open-ended interviewing with organizers and participants in neighborhood and community groups including mutual aid groups, neighborhood associations, business associations, and activist organizations. The findings will offer insight for participants, technology designers, and policymakers into how technology practices produce multiple, divergent experiences of urban space that challenge but also re-create inequality.

Jordan Kraemer’s Biography:

Jordan Kraemer is a media anthropologist and digital ethnographer studying emerging technologies from critical and feminist perspectives. She is currently studying digital technologies and public space during the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City, and recently completed a book on social and mobile media among an emerging middle class in post-unification Berlin, under review at Cornell University Press. She teaches courses on queer and feminist STS at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and was previously a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities. In addition, she consults for nonprofit organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and Civic Signals, and writes and speaks on identity, representation, and precarity in the knowledge economy.

Timeline: December 2020 — May 2021

Contact: Dr. Jordan Kraemer, jk5773@nyu.edu

Terra Incognita Research

The Terra Incognita research project is a study that sets out to learn more about the emergence of NYC’s digital public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will be conducted by Dr. Mona Sloane (Principal Investigator), and Dr. Jordan Kraemer, (Research Lead), and five experienced graduate student researchers. 

Individuals who agree to be in this study are asked to do the following:

  • Take part in an interview with one representative of the research team about their digital engagement in your local community

  • Allow their online interactions and activities to be observed and recorded or saved by one or more members of the research team. Researchers may observe social media posts and comments, personal profiles, follow blogs or other online presence, view online photos or videos, and communicate with participants through instant messaging or other electronic communication systems.

  • Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in recording your own daily activities, either through:

    • A “mobile ethnography,” where participants take photos and videos of their daily life with their own phone or other devices and share them securely with the researchers, or

    • A time diary participants complete over at least one and up to seven days of your online activities (according to your availability and preference).

Participants will be audio recorded. Participants may review these recordings and request that all or any portion of the recordings be destroyed. Participants’ online interactions will be observed and in some cases, researchers will take screenshots or captures.

Interviews will take between 60 minutes and 120 minutes. Participation in participant-observation will take place whenever participants would normally spend time online. Participation in the mobile ethnography or time diary will take approximately 20-30 minutes per day the individual participates, according to availability. 

There are no known risks associated with the participation in this research beyond those of everyday life or potential breach of confidentiality. The research team is taking appropriate measures to prevent a breach of confidentiality. Confidentiality of your research records will be strictly maintained by electronic records (i.e. audio files of the interviews and interview transcripts) being encrypted and stored in a password-protected folder on a password protected computer. Names will be removed from audio files and digital transcripts. Audio files and digital will instead be given codes. The code sheet linking participants’ names with codes will also be an encrypted file stored in a password-protected folder on a password protected computer. Only researchers directly linked to this project will have access to the research data. Your information from this study will not be used for future research.

The purpose of this study is to research the ways in which communities make up for the lack of physical public space during the pandemic. Although participants receive no direct benefits, this research may help the investigators understand how digital spaces are serving — and falling short of — the physical spaces they were meant to replace. 

Participation in this study is voluntary. Individuals may refuse to participate or withdraw at any time without penalty. For interviews, questionnaires, or surveys, participants have the right to skip or not answer any questions you prefer not to answer.

If there is anything about the study or your participation that is unclear or difficult to understand, if you have questions or wish to report a research-related problem, you may contact Dr. Mona Sloane at mona.sloane@nyu.edu, or Dr. Jordan Kraemer at jk5773@nyu.edu.

For questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS), New York University, 665 Broadway, Suite 804, New York, New York, 10012, at ask.humansubjects@nyu.edu or (212) 998-4808. Please reference the study # (IRB-FY2020-4461) when contacting the IRB (UCAIHS).

Categories
Alliance Projects

Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita

MAPPING NYC’S DIGITAL PUBLIC SPACES IN THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

The outbreak of COVID19 is shifting the way in which we live and work as individuals. It also has a profound effect on how we connect as communities. The prescribed isolation has, in an abrupt way, moved most of our social interactions online. While our traditional spaces for gathering and being together, our physical public spaces, are left deserted, a panoply of digital public spaces continue to emerge. Inadvertently, we are becoming witnesses of and participants in a real-life social experiment of unprecedented scale: the all-encompassing move of most of public space and public life into the digital realm. As this shift is happening, we are seeing the escalated impact of well-known issues that exist within digital space – reliance on private infrastructure, the digital divide, harassment, disproportionately impacted communities, political polarization, misinformation, and so on– as well as the emergence of new variations, such as ZoomBombing. At the same, we are seeing radically scaled experiments in virtual community-building, including everything from virtual Kindergarten classes to seminars, yoga classes, and raves. 

There’s a lot to learn from this moment. We need to take this opportunity to develop a systematic understanding of how these experiments are playing out, and where the digital spaces that have suddenly been populated are serving — and falling short of — the physical spaces they were meant to replace. This insight is essential for developing a strong agenda for re/building a better future post-COVID19, especially in places that have been severely affected by the pandemic, such as New York City. This research project sets out to do exactly that. It will focus on mapping out the to date unknown digital public spaces – terra incognita – in our hometown, New York City. It builds on the hypothesis that the lack of physical public space has consequences for how people use digital space and sets out to explore if and how digital technologies or platforms make a difference for how people organize their (public) social lives during the pandemic. This project is a collaboration between Civic Signals and the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology.

Principal Investigator and Project Director: Dr. Mona Sloane, NYU

Research Lead: Dr. Jordan Kraemer, NYU

Terra Incognita Research

The Terra Incognita research project is a study that sets out to learn more about the emergence of NYC’s digital public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will be conducted by Dr. Mona Sloane (Principal Investigator), and Dr. Jordan Kraemer, (Research Lead), and five experienced graduate student researchers. 

Individuals who agree to be in this study are asked to do the following:

  • Take part in an interview with one representative of the research team about their digital engagement in your local community

  • Allow their online interactions and activities to be observed and recorded or saved by one or more members of the research team. Researchers may observe social media posts and comments, personal profiles, follow blogs or other online presence, view online photos or videos, and communicate with participants through instant messaging or other electronic communication systems.

  • Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in recording your own daily activities, either through:

    • A “mobile ethnography,” where participants take photos and videos of their daily life with their own phone or other devices and share them securely with the researchers, or

    • A time diary participants complete over at least one and up to seven days of your online activities (according to your availability and preference).

Participants will be audio recorded. Participants may review these recordings and request that all or any portion of the recordings be destroyed. Participants’ online interactions will be observed and in some cases, researchers will take screenshots or captures.

Interviews will take between 60 minutes and 120 minutes. Participation in participant-observation will take place whenever participants would normally spend time online. Participation in the mobile ethnography or time diary will take approximately 20-30 minutes per day the individual participates, according to availability. 

There are no known risks associated with the participation in this research beyond those of everyday life or potential breach of confidentiality. The research team is taking appropriate measures to prevent a breach of confidentiality. Confidentiality of your research records will be strictly maintained by electronic records (i.e. audio files of the interviews and interview transcripts) being encrypted and stored in a password-protected folder on a password protected computer. Names will be removed from audio files and digital transcripts. Audio files and digital will instead be given codes. The code sheet linking participants’ names with codes will also be an encrypted file stored in a password-protected folder on a password protected computer. Only researchers directly linked to this project will have access to the research data. Your information from this study will not be used for future research.

The purpose of this study is to research the ways in which communities make up for the lack of physical public space during the pandemic. Although participants receive no direct benefits, this research may help the investigators understand how digital spaces are serving — and falling short of — the physical spaces they were meant to replace. 

Participation in this study is voluntary. Individuals may refuse to participate or withdraw at any time without penalty. For interviews, questionnaires, or surveys, participants have the right to skip or not answer any questions you prefer not to answer.

If there is anything about the study or your participation that is unclear or difficult to understand, if you have questions or wish to report a research-related problem, you may contact Dr. Mona Sloane at mona.sloane@nyu.edu, or Dr. Jordan Kraemer at jk5773@nyu.edu.

For questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS), New York University, 665 Broadway, Suite 804, New York, New York, 10012, at ask.humansubjects@nyu.edu or (212) 998-4808. Please reference the study # (IRB-FY2020-4461) when contacting the IRB (UCAIHS).

Categories
Alliance Projects

Procurement Roundtables

Northeast Big Data Hub 2020 Seed Fund

Procurement Roundtables in Partnership with IEEE and Parity

Principal Investigator: Mona Sloane, NYU

Collaborators: John Havens, IEEE; Rumman Chowdhury, Parity 

This project is a collaboration between the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Parity, a collaborative platform that utilizes AI/ML to extract useful information from qualitative methods and combines them with rigorous quantitative assessments. It contributes to the emerging field of Public Interest Technology (PIT) and addresses the fact that there is little research and interdisciplinary exchange on issues pertaining to data science, public procurement, and transparency and justice. This is a glaring gap: 12% of the global GDP is spent following procurement regulation (World Economic Forum, 2020), and procurement is a core mechanism through which algorithmic power is distributed in public institutions.

To fill this gap, this project will consist of three interdisciplinary “Procurement Roundtables” – one focused on data science solutions used by public institutions, one focused on algorithmic justice and responsible AI, and one focused on governance innovation. These roundtables will bring together experts in data science, social science (particularly critical technology studies), and governance.

Timeline: November 2020 — March 2021

Contact: Mona Sloane, mona.sloane@nyu.edu