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Amy Zhang – Sociotechnical Designs for Democratic and Pluralistic Governance of Social Media and AI

March 5 @ 12:30 pm 1:30 pm

In-person attendance is open to Princeton University faculty, staff, students and alumni. This talk is open to the public via Zoom

Decisions about policies when using widely-deployed technologies, including social media and more recently, generative AI, are often made in a centralized and top-down fashion. Yet these systems are used by millions of people, with a diverse set of preferences and norms. Who gets to decide what are the rules, and what should the procedures be for deciding them—and must we all abide by the same ones? This talk draws on theories and lessons from offline governance to reimagine how sociotechnical systems could be designed to provide greater agency and voice to everyday users and communities. This includes the design and development of: 1) personal moderation and curation controls that are usable and understandable to laypeople, 2) tools for authoring and carrying out governance to suit a community’s needs and values, and 3) decision-making workflows for large-scale democratic alignment that are legitimate and consistent.


Amy X. Zhang is an assistant professor at University of Washington’s Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, where she leads the Social Futures Lab, dedicated to reimagining social and collaborative systems to empower people and improve society. Her work has received awards at ACM CHI and ACM CSCW, and she has been a Google Research Scholar, a Belfer Fellow at the ADL, a Berkman Klein Fellow, a Google PhD Fellow, and an NSF CAREER recipient and Graduate Research Fellow.

Her work has been profiled in BBC’s Click television program, CBC radio, and featured in articles by ABC News, The Verge, New Scientist, and Poynter. Besides her work at UW, she is also a research consultant at AI2 on the Semantic Scholar team, and prior to UW, she was a Stanford postdoctoral researcher after completing a Ph.D. at MIT CSAIL, where she received the George Sprowls Best Thesis Award at MIT in computer science. She received an MPhil in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge on a Gates Fellowship and a BS in Computer Science at Rutgers University, where she was captain of the Division I Women’s tennis team.

This talk will be recorded and posted to the CITP website, YouTube channel and to Media Central.

If you need an accommodation for a disability please contact Jean Butcher at butcher@princeton.edu at least one week before the event.


Princeton University Center for Information Technology and Policy

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