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Technology Assessment Project

What’s in the Chatterbox?

May 2021
Johanna Okerlund, Evan Klasky, Aditya Middha, Sujin Kim, Hannah Rosenfeld, Molly Kleinman, Shobita Parthasarathy
Large language models (LLMs)—machine learning algorithms that can recognize, summarize, translate, predict, and generate human languages on the basis of very large text-based datasets—are likely to provide the most convincing computer-generated imitation of human language yet. Because language generated by LLMs will be more sophisticated and human-like than their predecessors, and because they perform better on tasks for which they have not been explicitly trained, we expect that they will be widely used. Policymakers might use them to assess public sentiment about pending legislation,...
Public Interest Technology University Network

Rethinking Computer Science Education: Bringing Public Interest Technology into Undergraduate and Postdoctoral Training

STPP is collaborating with the College of Engineering, Michigan Institute for Data Science, and the Detroit Community Technology Project to reimagine the undergraduate computer science curriculum to include sustained attention to social, moral, equity, and policy dimensions of data and technology. The funded project focuses on both undergraduate and postdoctoral training in public interest technology. The funded project focuses on both undergraduate and postdoctoral training in public interest technology. Postdoctoral fellow Johanna Okerlund received training in the equity, justice, and...
Technology Assessment Project

Vaccine Hesitancy

September 2020 - May 2021
Zixuan Wang, Margarita Maria Rodriguez Morales, Kseniya Husak, Molly Kleinman, Shobita Parthasarathy
In winter 2020, a novel coronavirus (SARSCoV-2) that caused COVID-19 started its spread across the globe, and by July 2020, over 500,000 people worldwide had died of the disease. By March 2021, there were over 120 million cases and over 2.8 million deaths. To combat the pandemic and return to “normalcy”, experts estimate that at least 80% of the world’s population needs to be resistant to the virus, and most of the world’s population will require vaccination. This will be a challenge. In addition to facilitating widespread distribution, governments will need to combat “vaccine hesitancy”: an...
Technology Assessment Project

Facial Recognition in Schools

September 2019 - August 2020
Claire Galligan, Hannah Rosenfeld, Molly Kleinman, Shobita Parthasarathy
Facial recognition (FR) technology was long considered science fiction, but it is now part of everyday life for people all over the world. FR systems identify or verify an individual’s identity based on a digitized image alone, and are commonly used for identity verification, security, and surveillance in a variety of settings including law enforcement, commerce, and transportation. Schools have also begun to use it to track students and visitors for a range of uses, from automating attendance to school security. FR can be used to identify people in photos, videos, and in real time, and is...