Tracing Artificial Intelligence in Our Everyday Lives

Lecture / Panel
Open to the Public

Speaker Series: AI Here & There  Transatlantic Dialogues on AI, Society and Innovation

AI Here and There: Transatlantic Dialogues on Artificial Intelligence, Society and Innovation

In the past decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has quietly and quickly become prominent in our daily lives, whether we have realized it or not. AI has made itself indispensable: in our private lives, in the workplace, in sports, and even art. However, there are only a select few that know what AI really is about and what this means for us as a society. This four-part event series aims at introducing the subject of AI to a broad audience. Each event will be focused on different subjects. Since this is a global topic, we took this opportunity in stride to invite panelists both locally and internationally from Switzerland and the US.

The series is organized by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and the Center for Responsible AI | NYU Tandon School of Engineering and hosted by Mona Sloane.

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Event 1: Tracing Artificial Intelligence in Our Everyday Lives

Introductory remarks will be given by Ambassador Markus Börlin, Consul General of Switzerland in New York, and Jelena Kovačević, Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

We begin with discussing the impact of AI in our everyday lives and in our society. How aware are we of AI? What does it mean for democracy and society? We will take a look at the ethical considerations related to AI and the regulatory framework to ensure fair and just development.


Speaker List

Abraham Bernstein - is a Full Professor of Informatics at the University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland. His current research focuses on various aspects of the semantic web, recommender systems, data mining/machine learning, crowd computing, and collective intelligence. His work is based on both social science (organizational psychology/sociology/economics) and technical (computer science, artificial intelligence) foundations. Mr. Bernstein is also a founding Director of the University of Zurich’s Digital Society Initiative (DSI) — a university-wide initiative with more than 180 faculty members investigating all aspects of the interplay between society and digitalization. Prior to joining the University of Zurich, Mr. Bernstein was on the faculty at New York University and also worked in industry. Mr. Bernstein is a Ph.D. from MIT and holds a Diploma in Computer Science (comparable to an M.S.) from the Swiss Federal Institute in Zurich (ETH).

Dr. Rumman Chowdhury - Director of Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency & Accountability at Twitter. Dr. Chowdhury’s passion lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence and humanity. She is a pioneer in the field of applied algorithmic ethics, working with C-suite clients to create cutting-edge technical solutions for ethical, explainable and transparent AI since 2017. She is a multiple TedX speaker, a Forbes Tech contributing author and has been named by InformationWeek as one of 10 influential AI and machine learning experts to follow on Twitter. She was also named one of BBC’s 100 Women, recognized as one of the Bay Area’s top 40 under 40, and honored to be inducted to the British Royal Society of the Arts (RSA). She has also been named by Forbes as one of Five Who are Shaping AI. In her work as Accenture’s Responsible AI lead, she led the design of the Fairness Tool, a first-in-industry algorithmic tool to identify and mitigate bias in AI systems. Dr. Chowdhury co-authored a Harvard Business Review piece on its influences and impact. Dr. Chowdhury holds two undergraduate degrees from MIT, a master's degree in Quantitative Methods of the Social Sciences from Columbia University, and a doctorate in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

Niniane Paeffgen - is the Managing Director at the Swiss Digital Initiative (SDI). Launched in September 2019 by digitalswitzerland and under the patronage of Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, the initiative aims to advance practice-oriented ethics in the digital age through specific projects. The initiative’s first flagship project is the development of a Digital Trust Label. Before joining the SDI, Niniane worked for digitalswitzerland, the leading Swiss association on digitalisation, where she was coordinating the Federal Council's Advisory Council on Digital Transformation. Niniane is a member of the WEF Global Shapers Community, the Swiss Think Tank on Foreign Policy (foraus) and the Club Diplomatique de Genève. She holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Governance from the University of St. Gallen.

Oscar Romero - Program Director, NYC Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer. His work focuses on building innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems to address urban inequality across NYC by leveraging civic engagement, emerging technology, and international cooperation. He oversees the design, management, and evaluation of global multi-stakeholder partnerships to address diverse urban development challenges in the US’ largest urban economy. Ranging from issues on displacement, safety, access to social services, workforce development, access to STEAM education, access to representation, housing rights, accessible mental health services, and access to critical infrastructure. Before joining MOCTO, Oscar worked for The New School’s Digital Equity Laboratory where he researched how broadband access and privacy protection policies affect vulnerable populations. Through his research, he analyzed the inequalities created by the architecture of the telecommunications infrastructure networks across the Americas.

Host: Mona Sloane - Senior Research Scientist, NYU Center for Responsible AI. Mona Sloane is a sociologist working on inequality in the context of AI design and policy. She frequently publishes and speaks about AI, ethics, equitability and policy in a global context. Mona is a Fellow with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK), where she convenes the Co-Opting AI series and co-curates The Shift series. She also is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, a Senior Research Scientist at the NYU Center for Responsible AI, and is part of the inaugural cohort of the Future Imagination Collaboratory (FIC) Fellows at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mona is also affiliated with The GovLab in New York and works with Public Books as the editor of the Technology section. Her most recent project is Terra Incognita: Mapping NYC’s New Digital Public Spaces in the COVID-19 Outbreak which she leads as principal investigator. Mona currently also serves as principal investigator of the Procurement Roundtables project, a collaboration with Dr. Rumman Chowdhury (Director of Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency & Accountability at Twitter, Founder of Parity), and John C. Havens (IEEE Standards Association) that is focused on innovating AI procurement to center equity and justice. Mona also works with Emmy Award-winning journalist and NYU journalism professor Hilke Schellmann on hiring algorithms, auditing, and new tools for investigative journalism and research on AI. With Dr. Matt Statler (NYU Stern), Mona is also leading the PIT-UN Career Fair project that looks to bring together students and organizations building up the public interest technology space. Mona is also affiliated with the Tübingen AI Center in Germany where she leads a 3-year federally funded research project on the operationalization of ethics in German AI startups. She holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has completed fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter @mona_sloane.


Digitalisation offers new opportunities for diplomacy, poverty reduction and sustainable development. But there are also risks involved in the processing of vast amounts of data, the spread of fake news and surveillance. By adopting the Digital Foreign Policy Strategy 2021–2024, Switzerland is acknowledging digitalization as a thematic priority of its foreign policy. The world is constantly changing and needs a hub, in other words a space that brings together all states, businesses and citizens – all directly affected by the new challenges of digitalisation. International Geneva is a hub for digital governance. The goal is to promote transparent debate, strengthen international law and encourage international cooperation in dealing with abuses and surveillance, while paying heed to public opinion, and to increase the benefits of new technologies. This virtual Series “AI Here & There” contribute to this inclusive discussion.


Center for Responsible AI (R/AI)

As a research and tool production lab, R/AI is charting a path towards responsible AI. In practice, this means ensuring that technical advances are combined with a shift in business practices and much-needed regulatory mechanisms that are informed by social research and robust public participation. 

Launched in 2020, R/AI has conducted research on automated decision making systems in hiring; hosted thought-provoking events to debate trends and spotlight tensions; developed new interdisciplinary research projects; co-generated novel, open source responsible AI/AI literacies curricula for use with adults in informal learning settings at public libraries; produced a dynamic multi-lingual comic series about responsible data science as well as “nutritional labels” to make AI explainability more transparent; advocated for municipal oversight of automated decision-systems; published papers that move the discourse on responsible AI forward; advised on field-based councils, and supported AI for Good programs such as the Women in AI Accelerator.