Discussion Panel

Panel on Scientific Controversies in Artificial Intelligence

Thursday, April 14, 2022
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm PDT

Jenna Burrell, Angèle Christin, Deirdre Mulligan, Nicole Ozer, and Morgan G. Ames

Co-sponsored by the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society and the School of Information. Part of a Matrix-sponsored project on “Whose Science? The Construction of Scientific ‘Truth.’”

Who has the power to set technoscientific agendas and policy? Why do some reject their results? What common ground is there between practices in science and engineering and practices in the media — and can finding this common ground improve the public’s and policymakers’ understanding of ethical issues in science and technology?

This panel will convene these experts to speak on these questions as they apply to machine learning, or what is often termed “artificial intelligence” (or AI) in the media. AI-supported systems have generated a rich set of controversies in the last decade: discrimination lawsuits, facial-recognition legislation, emotional manipulation, illegal electioneering, vaccine disinformation, environmental degradation, and even genocide have been pinned on the processes and results of AI. These experts will unpack controversies like these and reflect in the role that media coverage plays in public understanding and debate about these systems.

Join the Zoom Meeting


Jenna Burrell is professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley and co-director of the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Working Group. Her 2021 Annual Review of Sociology article The Society of Algorithms, co-written with Marion Fourcade, cautions against the wildest promises of artificial intelligence but acknowledges the increasingly tight coupling between algorithmic processes, social structures, and subjectivities.

Angèle Christin is assistant professor of communication and affiliated faculty in Sociology, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization at Stanford University. She studies how algorithms and analytics transform professional values, expertise, and work practices. Her book, Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms (Princeton University Press, 2020) focuses on the case of web journalism.

Deirdre Mulligan is professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley, a faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, a co-organizer of the Algorithmic Fairness & Opacity Working Group, an affiliated faculty on the Hewlett-funded Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and a faculty advisor to the Center for Technology, Society & Policy. Mulligan’s research explores legal and technical means of protecting values such as privacy, freedom of expression, and fairness in emerging technical systems.

Nicole A. Ozer, Esq. is technology and civil liberties director for the ACLU of California. Nicole has led the organization’s cutting-edge work in California to defend and promote civil liberties in the modern digital world since 2004. Nicole is a nationally recognized expert on issues at the intersection of privacy and government surveillance and free speech and the Internet. She sets the strategic vision for the Technology and Civil Liberties Project.

Last updated:

April 8, 2022