How to Unknow the Uncertainties in Data Science featuring Dr. Michael Muller

How to Unknow the Uncertainties in Data Science CARE-AI Seminar Series featuring Dr. Michael Muller IMB Research



Michael Muller works as a Research Scientist at IBM Research, on the traditional, contemporary, and unceded lands of the Wampanoag and Massachusett peoples (known to colonists as Cambridge MA US). He conducts critical studies of human work in data science, and is a co-author of the book Human Centered Data Science, to be published by MIT Press in February 2022. Michael’s earlier research included human collaboration and participatory design practices. Michael pursues social justice work through feminist-informed and Indigeneity-informed analyses, including Michael’s participation in IBM’s public website for Racial Equity in Design. ACM recognized Michael as a Distinguished Scientist, and SIGCHI inducted Michael into the CHI Academy.

Abstract: HCI engages with data science through many topics and themes. Researchers have addressed problems with potentially biased data sampling, arguing that bad data can cause innocent software to produce bad outcomes. But what if our software is not so innocent? What sources of bias do we introduce into our data? Based in feminisms and critical computing, we analyze forgetting practices in data science work practices of planning, finding, cleaning, engineering, curating, and labeling the data of data science. We focus on forms of unknowing, in which a powerful party erases knowledge of past wrongs and harms. Forgetting practices can weaken the integrity of data and outcomes. We contribute: (1) a taxonomy of data silences in data work in HCI and data science, which we use to analyze how data workers forget, erase, and unknow aspects of data; (2) a detailed analysis of forgetting practices in machine learning; and (3) a comparison of these practices with other colonial actions.

Research Presented is co-authored by Dr. Angelika Strohmayer

Angelika Strohmayer works as a Senior Lecturer at the Northumbria School of Design, New Castle, UK. Her interdisciplinary research involves third sector organisations, activists, and other stakeholders to creatively integrate digital technologies in service delivery and advocacy work. Her research is inspired by feminist participatory action research, research through design, and creative practice, and lies at the intersection of practice-led and theoretical research surrounding issues of feminist and social justice-oriented HCI. Angelika serves as co-editor for the ACM SIGCHI Interactions Magazine ‘Meaningful Design Processes’ Forum.

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Nov 19 2021


11:30 am - 1:30 pm

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