2023 Visiting Scholar

The Evolving World of Artificial Intelligence

An Evening with Professor Meredith Broussard with WHYY Host and Creative Director Maiken Scott

On Tuesday, April 25, Agnes Irwin hosted a topical learning opportunity for our parent community. With recent headlines about artificial intelligence (AI) and considering the rapidly-changing landscape of AI and its impact on our daily lives. Agnes Irwin’s visiting scholar Professor Meredith Broussard presented "The Evolving World of Artificial Intelligence.” Moderated by WHYY Host and Creative Director Maiken Scott, Professor Broussard brought a special focus to the AIS community about the problematic biases against girls, women, and people of color that are being built into many of the AI systems.

The Agnes Irwin Community welcomed its first visiting scholar, Meredith Broussard. Professor Broussard is an author whose books center around advancements in technology and artificial intelligence. She is also a data journalism professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Broussard shared: “This work puts The Agnes Irwin School and its community at the forefront of these important academic conversations that truly will impact life as we know it for the span of our lives — and far beyond.”

Over the course of several visits this school year, Prof. Broussard and students from PreK to twelfth grade explored some of the most exciting and cutting edge topics related to artificial intelligence, also called “AI” or machine learning. Topics included: “What is AI?” “What is an algorithm?” “Where do these things show up in our lives?” and “What do they do to advance the world?” They also dove into the topics of Broussard’s research by looking through the lens of limitation – “What parts of AI are imperfect?” “Is AI currently programmed to hinder women, girls, minorities, or other groups of people? And if so, what can be done?” 

Prof. Broussard's appointment and spring events were made possible by the generous support of Goldman Sachs, The Clower Family Speakers Fund, and the AIS Center for the Advancement of Girls.

Broussard reading with Agnes Irwin PreK students, December 2022

Broussard presents her work to students in the Lower School, December 2022

Artificial Unintelligence

How Computers Misunderstand the World

A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right.

In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. 

More than a Glitch

Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech

When technology reinforces inequality, it’s not just a glitch—it’s a signal that we need to redesign our systems to create a more equitable world.

The word “glitch” implies an incidental error, as easy to patch up as it is to identify. But what if racism, sexism, and ableism aren’t just bugs in mostly functional machinery—what if they’re coded into the system itself? In the vein of heavy hitters such as Safiya Umoja Noble, Cathy O’Neil, and Ruha Benjamin, Meredith Broussard demonstrates in More Than a Glitch how neutrality in tech is a myth and why algorithms need to be held accountable.