Book Launch

Book Launch | Artificial Unintelligence

04/30 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge and the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute invite you to join for a discussion with Meredith Broussard celebrating the release of her new book Artificial Unintelligence.

In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous number of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped asking hard questions about whether our technological choices are moving us toward a better world.

Making a case against technochauvinism—a kind of bias that sees computational solutions as superior to all others—Broussard explores why it’s just not true that social problems would inevitably retreat before a digitally enabled Utopia. To prove her point, she undertakes a series of adventures in computer programming. She goes for an alarming ride in a driverless car, concluding “the cyborg future is not coming any time soon”; uses artificial intelligence to investigate why students can’t pass standardized tests; deploys machine learning to predict which passengers survived the Titanic disaster; and attempts to repair the U.S. campaign finance system by building AI software. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.


Meredith Broussard is an assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, an affiliate faculty member at the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environment at the NYU Center for Data Science, and a 2019 fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Broussard’s academic research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is also interested in reproducible research issues and is developing methods for preserving innovative digital journalism projects in scholarly archives so that we can read today’s news on tomorrow’s computers. A former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, she has also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the MIT Media Lab. She holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via meredithbroussard.com.

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