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The Good Robot Podcast: Featuring Emily M. Bender and Alex Hanna

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09 February 2024



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Hosted by Eleanor Drage and Kerry Mackereth, The Good Robot is a podcast which explores the many complex intersections between gender, feminism and technology. In this episode, Emily M. Bender and Alex Hanna talk about AI hype.

Emily M. Bender and Alex Hanna on why you shouldn’t believe the AI hype

In this episode, Eleanor and Kerry talk to Emily M. Bender and Alex Hanna, AI ethics legends and co-hosts of the Mystery AI Hype Theatre 3000 podcast, in which they dispel the hype storm around AI. Emily is a professor of linguistics at The University of Washington and the co-author of that stochastic parrots paper. Alex Hanna is the director of research at the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR), which is run by Timnit Gebru. In this episode, they argue that we should stop using the term AI altogether, and that the world might be better without text-to-image systems like DALL·E and Midjourney. They tell us how the AI hype agents are getting high on their own supply, and give some advice for young people going into tech careers.

Listen to the episode here:

Professor Emily M. Bender is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and an Adjunct Professor at the Information School and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Information at the University of Washington. She is the Faculty Director of the Professional Master’s in Computational Linguistics and the Director of the Computational Linguistics Laboratory. Her research interests include technology for endangered language documentation, computational semantics, and methodologies for supporting consideration of impacts language technology in NLP research, development, and education. She is a member of the Value Sensitive Design Lab, the Tech Policy Lab, and RAISE. Her public scholarship is centred around supporting public understanding of language technology.

Dr Alex Hanna is Director of Research at the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR). A sociologist by training, her work centers on the data used in new computational technologies, and the ways in which these data exacerbate racial, gender, and class inequality. She also works in the area of social movements, focusing on the dynamics of anti-racist campus protest in the US and Canada. She holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics and a BA in Sociology from Purdue University, and an MS and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Find the episode reading list here.

About The Good Robot Podcast

Dr Eleanor Drage and Dr Kerry Mackereth are Research Associates at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, where they work on the Mercator-Stiflung funded project on Desirable Digitalisation. Previously, they were Christina Gaw Postdoctoral Researchers in Gender and Technology at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic they decided to co-found The Good Robot Podcast to explore the many complex intersections between gender, feminism and technology.




The Good Robot Podcast




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