October 2, 2019
A new research initiative from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) and Mcubed—the IRWG Mcubed Research Incentive—seeks to build upon scholarship and research collaborations that explore topics of gender, race, and sexuality. In September 2019, the first IRWG Mcubed Research Incentive was awarded to “The Future of Ethics, Society, and Computing” (ESC), a collaboration between three investigators: Prof. Irina Aristarkhova (Stamps School of Art & Design), Dr. Stephanie Rosen (Libraries), and Prof. Christian Sandvig (Information).
Aristarkhova, Rosen, and Sandvig describe their project as follows:
Computing has long been framed as a domain that allows humanity to tackle serious societal problems, but public opinion has now come to frame computing itself as a major societal problem. Computers are seen as a key enabler of surveillance capitalism, part of an exclusionary professional practice, a vehicle for deeply biased schemes for the redistribution of resources, and a system that circulates unwanted communication (propaganda, fraud, spam, bullying, hate). How can we fundamentally ground academic research about computing in ethics and justice? This project proposes an innovative collaboration across science and technology studies (STS); human-computer interaction; art & design; cyberfeminism, and disability studies to catalyze new work that will respond to what has been called computing’s “ethics emergency.” It will investigate the potential for a new research center addressing these themes.