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PhD Student Jay Cunningham named Just Tech Fellow

July 3, 2023

Jay Cunningham, a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering has received a Just Tech Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to support his work developing a Black community-led research organization that equips communities with the knowledge, tools, and support to challenge racist assumptions in AI systems and the flawed data sets behind them.

Jay Cunningham
Jay Cunningham, PhD candidate in
Human Centered Design & Engineering

Through the Just Tech Fellowship, Cunningham is founding With TrUSt, a nonprofit research organization aiming to collaboratively research, design, and build artifacts that support communities organizing and managing justice-oriented futures of AI. With TrUSt will be a Black community-led research coalition that equips people with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to challenge racist assumptions in AI systems and the flawed data sets behind them. Guided by community-based participatory research methods and principles of algorithmic equity, With TrUSt is built on the idea that the potential harms of novel technology can be mitigated through meaningful involvement with the communities most at risk.

The SSRC’s Just Tech program foregrounds questions of power, equity, and the public impact of new technologies, investigating evidence of bias and harm while centering the perspectives of historically marginalized communities. The Just Tech Fellowship provides unrestricted awards over two years for researchers and practitioners imagining new tech futures that embrace joy, hope, self-determination, and equity.

Learn more about Jay Cunningham and the Just Tech Fellowship here.