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Charlton McIlwain Discusses the Consequences of AI Technology, Social Systemic and Structural Change Needed First


Dr. Charlton McIlwain recently joined the Zócalo Public Square and Future Tense for an important panel discussion, “How Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity?” Dr. McIlwain shared the stage with Torie Bosch, editor of the new book “You Are Not Expected to Understand This”: How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World, and moderator of the panel, as well as, tech scholars Nonny de la Peña and Ethan Zuckerman. They discussed the ways computer code has become heavily integrated into our everyday lives from the use of algorithms that track behaviors and patterns that influence the way we navigate the internet to the reprogramming of human value systems that blur the lines between objectivity and subjectivity. A video of the full conversation can be found on Zócalo Public Square’s YouTube page. For a full summary of the discussion, visit the Zócalo Public Square article, “Can Humans Reprogram the Internet’s Original Sin?”

Dr. McIlwain answered a series of questions in the event’s Green Room about Facebook, Y2K, and family. He discussed inspiring online spaces, like the 1619 Project and the way it looks into history using a multimedia platform. Facebook, he said, was the bleakest part of the internet. When asked what his favorite thing about NYU was, he said the students, because they help him to think and give him optimism for the future. For Dr. McIlwain, the most beautiful thing about the world is family, because family ties are the strongest and deepest connections between people. For the full interview with Dr. McIlwain, see his "In the Green Room Interview" article.  

Charlton McIlwain is the Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development; Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication; and research affiliate of the Institute of Human Development and Social Change. His scholarly work focuses on the intersections of race, digital media, and racial justice activism. He is the founder of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies and the author of the new book, Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, From the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, by Oxford University Press.

Charlton McIlwain

Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development; Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

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The Institute of Human Development and Social Change

IHDSC is the largest interdisciplinary institute on New York University's Washington Square campus supporting rigorous research and training across social, behavioral, educational, policy, and health sciences.

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