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Reading Group and Graduate Training

Reading Group #1 on 'Introduction to Seminar Theme: Encoded Behaviour'

Wednesday 20 May 2020, 16:00–18:00 BST / 11:00–13:00 EDT

The centrepiece of the Seminar is our monthly Reading Group, which will be open to the scholars on the HoAI mailing list and those who applied to the initial Summer School. We plan to use our first four monthly meetings to touch on each of the project's four core themes one at a time. They are, in the order we'll treat them: Encoded Behaviour, Hidden Labour, Cognitive Injustice, and Disingenuous Rhetoric.

We begin the Seminar with a broad interpretation of Encoded Behaviour, seeking to collaboratively assess the political economies impacting AI systems and their prefigurative infrastructures both in the twentieth century and beforehand. We are thrilled to have three excellent lead contributors with us for this session, listed below. Together we will question the intersection of state and statistics; sensitive to the ways that each has refined the other.

boukCo-Faciltator: Dr Dan Bouk, Associate Professor of History at Colgate University and Faculty Fellow at Data & Society.

Dan Bouk researches the history of bureaucracies, quantification, and other modern things shrouded in cloaks of boringness. He studied computational mathematics as an undergraduate at Michigan State, before earning a PhD in history from Princeton University. His work investigates the ways that corporations, states, and the experts they employ have used, abused, made, and re-made the categories that structure our daily experiences of being human. His first book, How Our Days Became Numbered: Risk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual, explored the spread into ordinary Americans' lives of the U.S. life insurance industry's methods for quantifying people, discriminating by race, justifying inequality, and thinking statistically. His recent writings put today's political and economic values of personal data in a much wider historical context. His current book project, Democracy's Data, aims to convince readers – through an extended investigation of the 1940 U.S. census – that reading data is a liberal art.

Discussants: Stefanie Felsberger (University of Cambridge), Sharad Pandian (Nanyang Technological University).


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Graduate Training #1 – AI and Gender Studies

Wednesday 27 May 2020, 16:00–18:00 BST / 11:00–13:00 EDT

In addition to the Reading Group, we will offer a series of Graduate Training modules on disciplinary theories and methods. These workshops will support graduate development and create a cross-disciplinary toolkit with which to meet Seminar aims. The first, led by Dr Lauren Wilcox, explores AI and Gender Studies.

This training aims to provide an introduction to various forms of gender theory and how this work intervenes in analyses of Artificial Intelligence, including challenging the very concept 'AI' at the heart of this debate. A range of different feminist, queer, and trans perspectives are engaged to open up critical perspectives on debates surrounding questions of power and 'AI', to provide a background to core debates within gender theory, and to provide suggestions for further reading and investigation to those interested. Dr Wilcox will provide a 60 minute talk followed by 60 minutes of questions and discussion.

wilcoxDr Lauren Wilcox is University Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies and Deputy Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. She is also a fellow at Selwyn College.

Dr Wilcox has published widely on feminist/queer theory and International Relations, with a special interest in questions of embodiment and technology. She won a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize for Politics and International Relations in 2018. Her first book, Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations, was published with Oxford University Press in 2015. Dr Wilcox's current research project, 'War Beyond the Human', focuses on the political and technological assemblages of bodies that are both the subjects and objects of political violence to create an account of political violence that builds upon gender and sexuality theory to address the relationship between violence, desire, embodiment, race, sex and gender in late liberal societies.