June Business Before Business Breakfast
Speaker: Ruha Benjamin, Ph.D.
Department of African American Studies, Princeton University
Topic: Beyond Buzzwords: Innovation, Inequality, and Imagination in the 21st Century
"Without carefully considering the social dimensions of innovation, we risk reinforcing longstanding forms of inequality and injustice, and even producing new forms of discrimination." - Ruha Benjamin
From precision medicine to financial algorithms, science and technology seek to address a variety of human problems by producing data and tools to help us understand ourselves and our world. "But without careful consideration of the social dimensions of innovation," says Dr. Benjamin, "we risk reinforcing longstanding forms of inequality and injustice, and even producing new forms of discrimination that are hidden behind a veneer of technological neutrality."
She will examine a range of contemporary issues at the nexus of data and democracy, so that, as she says, "we can think together about the social values embedded in these platforms and systems. My aim is to expand our collective imagination around what counts as relevant and meaningful to public debate on Big Data, so that a greater array of citizens can contribute to the design of the world we collectively inhabit."
Professor Ruha Benjamin is a faculty member in the Department of African American studies at Princeton University, author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press), and 2016-17 fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Her work examines the social dimensions of science, technology and medicine with a particular focus on the relationship between innovation and equity. She earned her PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley, completed fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Genetics and Society and Harvard's Science, Technology and Society Program, and has received grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Her work is published in numerous academic journals and she speaks to audiences across the US and globally, including a TEDX talk titled “From Park Bench to Lab Bench: What Kind of Future Are We Designing?” For more info visit: www.ruhabenjamin.com