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Center for Civic Media

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NBC News

NBC News reporters Lindsay Hoffman and Caroline Kim spotlight graduate student Joy Buolamwini’s work uncovering racial and gender bias in AI systems in a piece highlighting women who are “shattering ceilings, making groundbreaking discoveries, and spreading public awareness during the global pandemic.” Hoffman and Kim note that Buolamwini’s research "helped persuade these companies to put a hold on facial recognition technology until federal regulations were passed.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Amy Farley spotlights graduate student Joy Buolamwini and her work battling bias in artificial intelligence systems, noting that “when it comes to AI injustices, her voice resonates.” Buolamwini emphasizes that “we have a voice and a choice in the kind of future we have.”

Vox

Prof. Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, speaks with Vox about the potential cognitive impact of using new digital technologies. “The interesting question is what are the real problems and how do we address them and make them better?” says Zuckerman. “How would you mitigate those harmful effects? What are the positive effects we want out of it?”

Fortune- CNN

Fortune reporters Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky highlight graduate student Joy Buolamwini’s work aimed at eliminating bias in AI and machine learning systems. Pressman and Lashinsky note that Buolamwini believes that “who codes matters,” as more diverse teams of programmers could help prevent algorithmic bias. 

Guardian

Zofia Niemtus writes for The Guardian about tech startups focused on helping breastfeeding mothers. Niemtus notes that MIT’s second “Make The Breast Pump Not Suck!” hackathon, which focused on marginalized groups in society, resulted in projects like “a pop-up shelf for pumping in unsanitary public places; a lactation kit for use in disaster zones; and a virtual reality app.” 

co.design

In a Co.Design article, MIT research fellow Amber Case, explains the problems of the blue light used in a wide array of displays including smart phones. To deal with the interruptions in sleep cycles, Case suggests that displays can stay, “blue during the day–as long as that light switched to an orangish hue as evening comes.”

New York Times

In an article for The New York Times, graduate student Joy Buolamwini writes about how AI systems can often reinforce existing racial biases and exclusions. Buolamwini writes that, “Everyday people should support lawmakers, activists and public-interest technologists in demanding transparency, equity and accountability in the use of artificial intelligence that governs our lives.”

Salon

Salon’s Heather Digby Parton highlights research from Prof. Ethan Zuckerman regarding the effects of online media on the last election. The study found that clickbait news sites “received amplification and legitimation through an attention backbone that tied the most extreme conspiracy sites.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times Magazine, Wil S. Hylton highlights Prof. Ethan Zuckerman’s work examining how information travels around the internet. Zuckerman and his colleagues examined whether the internet, “serves mainly as a distribution network for the articles on major media, or if small blogs and websites can funnel their own stories back into the mainstream press.”

Reuters

The MIT Media Lab has awarded its first Disobedience Award to Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Prof. Marc Edwards, for their work drawing attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, reports Scott Malone for Reuters. "They saw…an actual harm that was occurring and they did what they needed to do to intervene," explains Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab.

New York Times

Avantika Chilkoti of The New York Times assesses news coverage of the health care debate using Media Cloud, a platform that tracks online stories developed in part by researchers from the MIT Center for Civic Media. Since May, news about Russia and former FBI director James Comey “outstripped coverage of the health care bill on 30 of 67 days,” writes Chilkoti.

Wired

Wired reporter Andy Greenberg writes that during an MIT Media Lab symposium Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, and Media Lab affiliate Andrew “bunnie” Huang announced that they are developing a device that could warn journalists about whether they are the target of government surveillance.  

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that Media Lab research affiliate Andrew “bunnie” Huang and NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden are developing a device to protect journalists’ smartphones from government surveillance. Bray explains that the device will “detect whether a phone is sending or receiving unauthorized radio signals.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter John Markoff writes that during a Media Lab symposium, whistleblower Edward Snowden announced that he is working with research affiliate Andrew Huang to develop a smartphone to protect journalists concerned about government surveillance. Markoff notes that in addition to computer hacking, the conference focused on “controversial scientific research in areas such as genetic engineering and geoengineering.”

HuffPost

In an article for The Huffington Post, research scientist Matthew Carroll shares his experience working on the Boston Globe team that uncovered decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, as recounted in the film Spotlight. “Our original stories in 2002 were a catalyst for helping many survivors get the help they needed,” says Carroll.