NYU collaboration focuses on ethical technology
New York University announced the launch of Alliance for Public Interest Technology, a collaborative effort that will promote the creation of responsible and ethical technology, as well as the use and governance of technology in society.
The Alliance for Public Interest Technology is formed through the collaboration of researchers and faculty tasked with advocating the ethical use of technologies affecting public life.
“Technology has had a pretty good decade. The internet went mobile. So did we,” NYU’s Alliance for Public Interest Technology fellow, Mona Sloane, said at a launch event on NYU’s campus.
Sloane added that these developments have coincided with large-scale social, political and ecological developments on a global scale and while technology seems to bring various benefits to society, the negative impacts are also there.
Sloane highlighted the need for the university to get more involved in various technology-related issues, like “responsible robotics” and “tech and policing.
Public Interest Technology is a core focus at NYU and is a part of the university’s overall strategic approach to research, education, and service.
Sloane added that the university already has students and faculty who are working on public interest technology through sharing and collaborating within and outside this institution.
The university’s new alliance is a member of the Public Interest Technology University Network, consisting of 23 colleges and universities. This alliance is organised by the think tank, New America and is supported by the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice and the Hewlett Foundation.
The main area of focus for this collaboration will address the relationship between ethics and society with technology – artificial intelligence, data science and more.
The alliance also aims to support students and graduates from the university working with public-facing technologies. This alliance will evaluate the students’ training and career progress as well as support new research in this area.
This alliance will also form new local and global partnerships with academic and non-academic institutions in its effort to develop pipelines for diverse students doing public interest technology work.
Vice provost for faculty engagement and development and the alliance’s co-chair, Charlton McIlwain said that this alliance will harness and channel the university’s talent and resources to advance public interest technology.
McIlwain added that the alliance will give young scholars and students the foundation to navigate the intersection of technology and policy.
“Its creation will only enhance NYU’s focus on socially conscious research and the application of technology for the greater good, committing our faculty and students to be leaders in the critical, responsible, and ethical creation, use, and governance of technology in society,” added McIlwain.
This alliance creates a structure that allows all those involved in critical public interest work to collaborate and to achieve greater heights.
These efforts will be the substrate on which work with policymakers and advocacy organisations and others outside the higher education environment to shape our technology landscape can be carried out.