Co-Opting AI: Games

02/23 Tuesday | 6pm

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NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, the NYU Center for Responsible AI, and the 370 Jay Project invite you to a discussion on games in the series “Co-Opting AI.

This event will explore the deep historical and cultural links between games and technology, and specifically artificial intelligence. Featuring Kishonna L. Gray, Bo Ruberg, Julian Togelius, and Mona Sloane, the discussions will examine how games serve as a frontier of AI research, but also what – and whose – narratives shape “technological innovation” and “progress”, how this is connected to gaming cultures (or not), and how it is linked to wider structures of power and oppression.

Kishonna L. Gray, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois – Chicago. She is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She also previously served as a MLK Scholar and Visiting Professor in Women and Gender Studies and Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Gray is an interdisciplinary, intersectional, digital media scholar and digital herstorian whose areas of research include identity, performance and online environments, embodied deviance, cultural production, video games, and Black Cyberfeminism. Dr. Gray is completing a manuscript, tentatively titled Intersectional Tech: The Transmediated Praxis of Black Users in Digital Gaming (LSU Press, 2020). Intersectional tech can be understood as the visual, textual, and/or oral engagement of the Black body in transmediated spaces, focusing on the critical deconstruction of the exploited, hypervisible, labor of any associated Black performances (online and ‘IRL’). Dr. Gray is also the author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014) which as been described by T.L. Taylor as “an insightful, original, and compelling piece of research.” And also described by Tressie McMillan Cottom as “an important contribution to the sociology of race in the digital era.” Dr. Gray is also the co-editor of two volumes on culture and gaming. Feminism in Play (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018), which focuses on women as they are depicted in video games, as participants in games culture, and as contributors to the games industry, and Woke Gaming (University of Washington Press, 2018) which illustrates the power and potential of video games to foster change and become a catalyst for social justice. Dr. Gray has published in a variety of outlets across disciplines: New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Information, Communication, & Society, Sociology Compass, Bulletin of Science, Technology, & Society, and others. She has also been featured in public outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, The New York Times, Business Insider, CNET, BET, and others. Follow Dr. Gray on Twitter @KishonnaGray or on Snapchat @DrGrayThaPhx

Bo Ruberg, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Their research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures with a focus on queerness and video games. They are the author of The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games (2020, Duke University Press) and Video Games Have Always Been Queer (2019, New York University Press) and the co-editor of Queer Game Studies (2017, University of Minnesota Press). Ruberg is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference. They received their Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with certification in New Media and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and served as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California.

Julian Togelius is an associate professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Previously, he was an associate professor at the Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen. He holds a BA from Lund University, an MSc from the University of Sussex, and a PhD from the University of Essex. Togelius is considered one the world’s most accomplished experts at the intersection of games and AI with core contributions in procedural content generation, player modelling and general video game AI research areas. Togelius is the editor in chief of the IEEE Transactions on Games journal. He is also, with Georgios N. Yannakakis, the co-author of the Artificial Intelligence and Games textbook and the co-organiser of the Artificial Intelligence and Games Summer School series.

Mona Sloane is a sociologist working on inequality in the context of AI design and policy. She frequently publishes and speaks about AI, ethics, equitability and policy in a global context. Mona is a Fellow with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), where she convenes the Co-Opting AI series and co-curates the The Shift series. She also is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, an Affiliate of the Center for Responsible AI, and is part of the inaugural cohort of the Future Imagination Collaboratory (FIC) Fellows at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mona is also affiliated with The GovLab in New York and works with Public Books as the editor of the Technology section. Her most recent project is Terra Incognita: Mapping NYC’s New Digital Public Spaces in the COVID-19 Outbreak which she leads as principal investigator. Mona currently also serves as principal investigator of the Procurement Roundtables project, a collaboration with Dr. Rumman Chowdhury (Founder and CEO of Parity), and John C. Havens (IEEE Standards Association) that is focused on innovating AI procurement to center equity and justice.  With Dr. Matt Statler (NYU Stern), Mona is also leading the PIT-UN Career Fair project that looks to bring together students and organizations building up the public interest technology space. Mona is also affiliated with the Tübingen AI Center in Germany where she leads research on the operationalization of ethics in German AI startups. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has completed fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter @mona_sloane.

The Co-Opting AI event series is convened by Mona Sloane. They are hosted at IPK and co-sponsored by the 370 Jay Project and the NYU Center for Responsible AI.

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