Professor Kate Crawford is a leading scholar of the social and political implications of artificial intelligence (AI). As an award-winning author and academic who has dedicated more than 20 years to researching the impacts of technology on the modern world, Prof Crawford plays a critical role in shaping the global understanding of how machine learning, data and AI have been shaped by political and historical contexts, and are now influencing the foundations of human existence. She is a sought-after expert in the growing field of Ethical AI, advising global policy makers from the United Nations to the White House, as well as the Australia Human Rights Commission, on how to create an ethical framework for the development and use of this far-reaching technology.
Prof Crawford started career as an academic in Australia, completing a PhD in Media Studies at the University of Sydney, where she became a lecturer, before being appointed Associate Professor at UNSW and deputy director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre. Her early research focused primarily on the impacts of the internet, big data, and social media. In 2010 she began researching the ethical, political, environmental and labour contexts of machine learning, and AI. Her interest in this field took her to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was appointed as a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Researcher and a Visiting Professor at the MIT Media Lab in the Centre for Civic Media. In 2016, she hosted one of the White House’s major symposia on the social and economic impacts of artificial intelligence, and the following year she co-founded the AI Now Institute at New York University, In 2021, Kate joined the University of Southern California as a Research Professor where she leads the Knowing Machines Project, an international collaboration studying how data shapes AI systems. Prof Crawford is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, and the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where she co-leads the international working group on the Foundations of Machine Learning.
As a groundbreaking interdisciplinary scholar, Prof Crawford has played a critical role in shaping new fields, in particular critical AI studies and the sociotechnical foundations of machine learning. She has studied complex academic domains and developed essential insights for shaping public policy, public awareness and regulation. She is a respected commentator, published in The New York Times, The Atlantic and Harper’s Magazine. And her latest book, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (Yale University Press, 2021) has received international acclaim as one of the most valuable, timely and profound books on technology in recent years and has received multiple awards. Prof Crawford has also expanded the reach of discussion and debate on AI beyond academic and policy realms, and into the arts. She has worked with international artists such as Trevor Paglen and Vladan Joler, and has produced award-winning creative collaborations and visual investigations that are in the permanent collection of MoMA in New York and the V&A in London.