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The Future is Intersectional: Black Women Interrogating Technology

The Spelman College Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM in collaboration with the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and Mozilla Foundation is proud to present a series of discussions highlighting the unique intersectional lens Black women bring to the development and utilization of technology in our society. Talks will cover both the vast contributions of Black women to this field as well as the challenging and demoralizing experiences Black women have in a field where they are highly underrepresented and often undervalued.

Series Events

Responding to Coded Bias: Black Women Interrogating AI

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

  • MozFest

Coded Bias, an acclaimed documentary exploring the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini's discovery of racial bias in facial recognition algorithms, will be screened during the Mozilla Festival. After the screening, Renée Cummings will moderate a panel of technologists in discussing critical themes highlighted in the documentary, including technology-based discrimination around race and gender, representation, intersectionality and civic engagement.

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This event is part of an ongoing lecture series "The Future is Intersectional: Black Women Interrogating Technology," organized by the Spelman College Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, in collaboration with the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and Mozilla.


Renée CummingsRenée Cummings
Data Activist in Residence, School of Data Science
University of Virginia

Renée Cummings is a criminologist, criminal psychologist, therapeutic jurisprudence specialist, AI ethicist and the historic first Data Activist in Residence at The School of Data Science, University of Virginia. She is also a community scholar at Columbia University. Advocating for AI we can trust - responsible, principled, diverse, equitable and inclusive AI - Cummings is on the frontline of ethical AI. She also specializes in AI risk management, algorithmic justice, AI policy and governance, and using AI to save lives. Cummings is committed to using AI to empower and transform communities by helping governments and organizations navigate the AI landscape and develop future AI leaders.

Cummings works at the intersection of AI, criminal justice, racial justice, social justice, design justice, epidemiological and urban criminology. She has extensive experience in trauma-informed justice interventions, homicide reduction, gun and gang violence prevention, juvenile justice, evidence based policing and law enforcement leadership. Her work extends to rehabilitation, reentry and reducing recidivism. Cummings is committed to ethical AI to improve police accountability and transparency, reduce police violence, enhance public safety, public health and quality of life. A thought-leader, motivational speaker, and mentor, Cummings is a dynamic and passionate speaker who has mastered the art of creative storytelling and deconstructing complex topics into critical everyday conversations that inform and inspire.


Ayanna HowardAyanna Howard, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Engineering
The Ohio State University

Dr. Ayanna Howard is an innovator, entrepreneur, leader and international expert in robotics and AI. She is also the author of the best selling book - Sex, Race, and Robots: How to Be Human in the Age of AI. Currently, Dr. Howard is the dean of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University. Previously, she was professor and chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she held the title of senior robotics researcher and deputy manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist.

To date, Dr. Howard’s unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in Vanity Fair, USA Today, Black Enterprise, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider and one of the Top 50 U.S. Women in Tech by Forbes. She regularly advises on issues concerning robotics, AI and workforce development, and has been featured in various interviews and podcasts hosted by places like PBS, Discovery Channel, BBC, Fox News, Huffington Post and VIBE.

Watch Dr. Howard on "The View"
On March 23, 2021, Dr. Howard shared her view on intersectional oppression in robotics.


Ifeoma OzomaIfeoma Ozoma
Founder and Principal, Earthseed

Ifeoma Ozoma is the founder and principal of Earthseed, a consulting firm advising individuals, organizations and companies on the issues of tech accountability, public policy, health misinformation and related communications. She is a tech policy expert with experience leading global public policy partnerships, public policy-related content safety development, and US Federal, State and International policymaker engagement at Pinterest, Facebook and Google.

Ozoma’s health misinformation initiatives have been lauded by the World Health Organization, the Washington Post’s Editorial Board and the New York Times. She is on the First Draft Inc. Board of Directors.


Deborah RajiDeborah Raji (Moderator)
Mozilla Fellow

Deborah Raji is a Mozilla Fellow focused on addressing challenges in algorithmic auditing practice and policy, thinking more broadly of how we effectively and meaningfully evaluate deployed machine learning systems. She has worked closely with the Algorithmic Justice League initiative, founded by Joy Buolamwini of the MIT Media Lab, on several projects to highlight cases of bias in computer vision. Her first-author work with Joy has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Verge, Venture Beats, National Post, EnGadget, Toronto Star and won the Best Student Paper Award at the ACM/AAAI Conference for AI Ethics & Society. This project led to her being named one of MIT Tech Review's 35 Under 35, as well as an EFF Pioneer.

Raji was formerly a mentee in Google AI’s flagship research mentorship cohort, and a research fellow at the Partnership on AI, as well as the AI Now Institute at New York University, working on formalizing documentation practice in machine learning. She is a graduate of the Engineering Science Program at the University of Toronto, and while there, founded the student initiative, Project Include, which aims to provide summer coding bootcamps for hundreds of middle school students in low-income communities in the Greater Toronto area and Ecuador. When not doing research, she loves to write poetry, sing jazz standards or learn a new instrument.

AUC Data Science Initiative

UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry

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