OpenNorth welcomes Ana Brandusescu as a fellow focused on AI in the city

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Ana Brandusescu will be collaborating with McGill University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (CRIEM) as the resident Professor of Practice for 2019-2020, and will be an OpenNorth Fellow. As a Professor of Practice and OpenNorth Fellow, she will design and implement a research agenda on artificial intelligence (AI), its transformative effects on institutions, and the engagement potentialities afforded, and not afforded, by its implementation. Taking a critical theory approach to technology and its implementation, Ana will examine shifting power dynamics vis-à-vis technology, to ask how people can better participate in digitally-informed decisions that are driven by opaque and potentially unaccountable technologies. Her research will build relationships across sectors amongst implementers of AI and researchers examining its socio-technical implications.

“The dichotomy of open and closed in technology and how it works (or doesn’t) for people remains a key issue,” says Ana Brandusescu. “Open and closed usually refers to proprietary data and software but it also can refer to digital divides in terms of access and education. How can people engage in with emerging technologies that may be opaque to them?”

“We have seen the need to much stronger support and mediation between governments, technology vendors, non-profits, and the general public, through projects and collaborations grounded in practitioner communities and a strong research foundation,” says Jean-Noé Landry, Executive Director of Open North. “We are keen and excited to work with Ana on such important issues of participation and collaboration that we face today,” he said.

Ana’s expertise lies in participation via civic tech, open government data, and digital rights. As an independent researcher, advisor and facilitator, she has worked on open contracting reform, open access for UN agencies, closing the gender gap, and developing courses on AI for OpenNorth’s One-to-One Advisory Service. During her time at the World Wide Web Foundation she led research on the Open Data Barometer, co-chaired the Measurement and Accountability Group of the Open Data Charter, and led gender equality research advocacy with Women’s Rights Online. She is on the advisory board of Learning from Small Cities, and is a member of @OpenHeroines.

Updates on Ana’s research with OpenNorth are forthcoming. In the meantime, please follow Ana on Twitter @anabmap, LinkedIn, and her personal website. Find out more about OpenNorth’s applied research here.

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