“Redefining Power: The Emerging Field That Puts the Public Interest in Front of Technology”


Online March 22, 2022 10:00 am - 10:45 am

Bookmark and Share

Jenny Toomey
Charlton McIlwain
Hana Schank
Divya Siddarth

Public interest technologists recognize that technology is never neutral. It is never enough to say tech is “for good.” We must always ask: “good for who?” But what does it mean to be a “public interest technologist?” What is this emerging field of public interest technology and why is it critical to center values like equity, transparency, and accountability in tech practices?

This session, led by Jenny Toomey, the Ford Foundation’s international program director for technology and society; and featuring Charlton McIlwain, vice provost and professor of media, culture, and communication at NYU; Hana Schank, senior advisor for Public Interest Technology; and Divya Siddarth, associate political economist and social technologist for Microsoft and the RadicalXChange Foundation, will introduce the field of public interest technology and share perspectives from several speakers who represent the sectors that are key to the growth of the field – academia, government, civil society, and business. The session will explore ways in which public interest technology is making critical contributions to designing systems that are more equitable than those commonly used today and help expose the power dynamics at play in the current tech field.