The Obert C. Tanner Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and Human Values - Professor Ruha Benjamin

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Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code.

This event will include a short welcome, the lecture, and then an intermission followed by two respondents and a final Q&A discussion with all speakers.

Lecture details:

Monday 18 October 2021, 5-8pm

Black Mirror: Race, AI and Inequity in the 21st Century

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Professor Ruha Benjamin examines biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight. She also considers how race itself is a tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice, and challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

Find a full itinerary for the evening here.

About the speaker:

Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power.

Ruha earned a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Spelman College, MA and PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Society & Genetics and Harvard’s Science, Technology & Society Program. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation 2020 Freedom Scholar Award, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. For more information please visit  

The Obert C. Tanner Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Human Values will launch the Critical Borders: Radical (Re)visions of AI Conference, which runs from 18-21 October 2021. The conference requires separate registration to the Lecture. Learn more at This conference is generously funded by the Obert C. Tanner Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Human Values; Christina Gaw; the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence; and the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies.

Photo: Cyndi Shattuck