September 10, 2020
A third-year Science and Technology Studies (STS) doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been awarded two distinct honors that reflect the growing importance of STS approaches to the field of artificial intelligence.
Jamie Steele received the Nancy Halverson Schless Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society. As one of this year’s Library and Museum Fellows, Steele will receive funding and residential access to the Society’s collections for her dissertation, “Enacting the Fantasy Woman: Gender and the Natural Language Processing AI Artifact,” which she is writing under the supervision of James Malazita, an assistant professor in STS.
The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purposes of “promoting useful knowledge.” In the 21st century, it serves to advance knowledge and promote scholarship in the humanities and social, mathematical, life, and physical sciences. Steele intends to work with several collections at the APS to understand the social and design context of gender in the development of early artificial intelligence technologies.
Additionally, AI Now awarded Steele a research assistantship as part of their Gender, Race, and Power in AI project, led by Joy Lisi Rankin. AI Now is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary research center dedicated to examining the social implications of artificial intelligence. Steele’s collaborative work on this project will be informed by her dissertation research, as well as her commitment to a more just relationship between technology and society.
“Gender and natural language processing are both understudied in critical AI research,” Steele said. “AI is increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, operating more and more to organize our daily lives. STS offers a unique lens to the analysis of artificial intelligence and its social implications and this recognition speaks to the ways in which STS theories and methods allow us to ask different kinds of questions about social power, oppression, and artificial intelligence.”