Lo, Ames named Center for Technology, Society and Policy Fellows

March 8, 2016

The Center for Technology, Society and Policy (CTSP) at UC Berkeley has named informatics Ph.D. student Katherine Lo and former ICS postdoctoral researcher Morgan Ames fellows, resulting in a CTSP collaborative project. Lo and Ames’ project, “Promoting Ethical Technical Cultures and Digital Citizenship for Low-Income and Minority Students in Richmond, California,” centers on creating ethical technical cultures.

As Lo, Ames and their fellow UC Berkeley project collaborators Anne Jonas and Jenna Burrell note, “Much of the world’s population uses information and communication technologies, but this diversity is not reflected in technology creators.” Those at the top of the technology pyramid benefit from a gendered, racial, geographical and socioeconomic imbalance that “has deep ethical implications,” the project authors point out. Their project uses an action research approach—one designed to address a particular problem—to teach critical perspectives on technology use, introduce computational concepts, and promote diversity in computing careers through a one-to-one laptop program in Richmond, Calif. The project is focused in the “Iron Triangle” area of Richmond, where residents are predominantly low-income Latino or black families.

“We use interviews and ethnographic observations in an underserved population and among engineering professionals to design workshops and other outreach that will work to overcome the structural, linguistic, and ideological barriers that marginalize populations like this from technological futures,” the project authors say.

The CTSP is a multidisciplinary research and design/build center focused on emerging social and policy issues of technology. Lo and Ames’ project joins 10 other inaugural projects, all within the center’s four areas of focus: engineering ethics, technology and well-being, infrastructure, standards and governance, and digital citizenship.