Mozilla’s first cohort of Senior Fellows in Trustworthy AI, and our newest Senior Fellow in Policy, are a formidable group drawn from various backgrounds and offering a diverse set of knowledge and skills.
Bias, lack of transparency, and poor data governance – these are some of the hurdles that stand in the way of a world where AI is trustworthy and improves lives. To realize this world, we need experts who are excited and already thinking about ways to redistribute power and push for internet health in a manner that is not only socially responsible but also intersectional. These were the sentiments shared by Hanan Elmasu, Director of Fellowships and Awards at Mozilla when she announced the 2022 recruitment of Senior Fellows.
This is the first time Mozilla has established a Senior Fellow cohort in this form and we are hoping that this round of fellowships will not only be highly participatory, but also promote cross learning and collaboration among the fellows.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce the six senior people who have joined us on our mission and who will spend up to two years helping shape and spearhead the pursuit of trustworthy AI. Their focus areas range from algorithmic reparations work to climate justice, providing us with a greater scope for advancing the movement for a healthier internet.
I'm so excited for this journey we're about to embark on together to actualize AI that is trustworthy.
J.Bob Alotta Vice President of Global Programs at Mozilla
Says J. Bob Alotta Vice President of Global Programs at Mozilla: “This is a group of exceptionally talented people who are already working in big and meaningful ways, both within and across movements, to address harms being caused by AI; to rebalance the power of data; to reduce the opacity of where and how AI is making decisions; and to hold platforms to account. I'm so excited for this journey we're about to embark on together to actualize AI that is trustworthy. ”
These six Senior Fellows in trustworthy AI will join Mozilla’s broader roster of senior fellows, which include Deb Raji, who is piloting the Open Source Audit Tooling Project; Anouk Ruhaak, who is embedded in the Data Futures Lab; and Crystal Lee, who is leading the Responsible Computer Science Challenge.
They will also work alongside Brandi Geurkink, a new Senior Fellow in Policy, whose bio is also included below. Mozilla will be recruiting a larger cohort of Senior Fellows in Policy this spring.
Meet the fellows:
Abeba Birhane (she/her) | Ireland (Ethiopia)
Abeba Birhane is a cognitive scientist researching human behavior, social systems, and responsible and ethical artificial intelligence (AI). Her interdisciplinary research explores various broad themes in cognitive science, AI, complexity science, and theories of decoloniality. More specifically, Birhane examines the challenges and pitfalls of computational models (and datasets) from a conceptual, empirical, and critical perspective. Abeba’s fellowship will focus on auditing canonical datasets as well as exploring ways to clean and detoxify large scale datasets, including the governance models needed to maintain and manage those datasets.
Amber Sinha (he/him)| India
Amber Sinha is the Executive Director of the Centre for Internet and Society, India. He has led programmes on civil liberties research, including privacy, identity, AI, cybersecurity and free speech. Amber’s research has been cited with appreciation by the Supreme Court of India and several government committees. Amber is a member of the GPA Reference Panel of Global Privacy Assembly. He serves on the board of CIS, and is an alternative board member at Global Network Initiative. His first book, “The Networked Public,” was released in 2019. Amber studied law and humanities at National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Ambers' fellowship will research post facto adequation as an approach and propose a regulatory framework to support AI transparency and promote greater algorithmic accountability.
Apryl Williams (she/her) | U.S.A.
Apryl Williams is a critical scholar working at the intersection of technology, race, and society. During her fellowship, she will be working to facilitate harm reduction across online dating platforms that use racialized algorithmic systems and explore new paths of data transparency and accountability for negligent treatment of marginalized users. Apryl’s fellowship will leverage her forthcoming book, “Call Me Master: Automating Sexual Racism” to generate public discourse around racialized algorithms in online dating platforms. Before joining Mozilla, Apryl held fellowships at the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Williams is a jointly appointed Assistant Professor in Digital Studies and the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan and an affiliate of NYU’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies.
Bogdana Rakova (she/her)| U.S.A. (Bulgaria)
Bogdana is an engineer, researcher and inventor, who focuses on illuminating the socio-economic, socio-technical, and socio-ecological aspects of AI systems. She previously held roles asa research manager at Accenture’s Responsible AI team and as a mentor at the Assembly Ethics and Governance of AI program led by Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and MIT Media Lab. Bogdana held fellowships with Partnership on AI and the Amplified Partners venture fund. Previously she co-founded a company in the intersection of AI and the manufacturing space and spent more than four years in research and innovation labs in Silicon Valley including Samsung Research America and Singularity University, where she worked on building AI models. Influenced by her early life in post-communist Bulgaria, Bogdana is investigating the role of AI in strengthening civil society and democracy. Bogdana’s fellowship will explore the use of computational contracts to provide transparency building blocks that enable new modes of interactions between people and consumer tech companies.
Lori Regattieri (she/her) | Brazil
Lori Regattieri is a social-environmental-climate justice tech, digital strategist and movement builder. As an activist and communications advisor, she has more than 15 years dedicated to campaigns, mobilization and collective action supporting grassroots movements in Brazil. In 2021, she completed her PhD in Communication and Culture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) with the thesis “Algorithmization of life: the debate about the Amazon forest and the forest fires on Twitter in 2020”. Over the past years, her research has focused on science and technology studies, digital assets and infrastructures, media ecology, propaganda and disinformation, reparation epistemologies and decolonial approaches to increase fairness and reduce bias in AI. She is co-editor of feminist magazine DR, research associate at Netlab (UFRJ) and member of the Latin American Network of Surveillance, Technology and Society Studies (LAVITS). Lori’s fellowship will explore the role of AI in reorganizing relations, discourses, and power in face of the climate crisis and possible reparations for climate-social environmental justice.
Neema Iyer (she/her) | Germany (Uganda)
Neema Iyer is an artist and a technologist. She is the founder of Pollicy, a feminist civic technology collective based in Kampala, Uganda, is the co-host of the Terms and Conditions podcast, a Practitioner Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab and is on Facebook’s Global Women’s Safety Advisory Board. Neema leads several research projects exploring ways through which Africans can take back control of their data and reimagine new ways of technology ownership. Working from an African feminist perspective, Neema’s fellowship will focus on providing practical guidance for organizations interested in setting up data collaboratives, enhancing data stewardship and for strengthening ownership of their data.
And also introducing a new Senior Fellow in Policy:
Brandi Geurkink (she/her) | Germany
Brandi Geurkink is a veteran campaigner who wrestles with some of society's thorniest problems — and then maps a pathway to systemic solutions. Her background is varied, but her approach to social change is singular: interrogating power imbalances in society and shifting power to those who are impacted most.
Most recently, Brandi was Senior Manager of Advocacy at Mozilla, where she devised new ways to hold the internet’s biggest platforms accountable for algorithms, online advertising, privacy, and other issues. Brandi is the creator of YouTubeRegrets, the largest-ever crowdsourced investigation into YouTube’s recommendation engine and its impact on society. As a Senior Fellow in Policy, Brandi will be exploring data donations as a method for AI activism and to inform policy approaches.