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Anne L. Washington, PhD is a computer scientist and scholar of public interest technology. As Assistant Professor of Data Policy at NYU, she investigates the governance of emerging digital technologies. Her writing asks questions about the balance of power between human lives and organizations that control digital record-keeping systems. Through the lens of ethics and institutional legitimacy, she examines digital technology intended to serve the common good such as data science, automated decision systems, and blockchain. She is an expert in open data, transparency, digital government, and tech ethics.

In 2019 she testified before Congress on the ethics of artificial intelligence in financial services. In 2020 she chaired the ACM/AAAI Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society (AIES) Conference. Her research has been generously funded internationally and domestically including fellowships with the Peter Pribilla Foundation of Munich Germany and Data & Society. The National Science Foundation has recognized her work in multiple grants including a five-year NSF CAREER award which funded her Digital Interests Lab.

The Digital Interests Lab is tech policy for the rest of us. The Lab studies technology in the public interest by being centered on human empowerment, informed by history, and guided by theory. She is obsessed with knowledge infrastructures that establish the meaning and management of data. Obsessed. Her research interrogates organizational dynamics that impact the legitimacy, creation, analysis, and public release of digital sources.

Teaching ethics to career-minded students led her to join the Humanities in the Professions faculty group at New York University. She enjoys her primary teaching in the Data Science for Social Impact graduate program in applied statistics. She serves as core faculty in the NYU Innovation and Leadership online graduate program and she developed a new undergraduate experience on the politics of data. In an arts and informatics collaboration, her 2023 undergraduate course will explore the intellectual foundations of blockchain and derivative products like cryptocurrency.

Lurking in libraries after graduating with a CS degree from Brown University eventually led to a position with the Library of Congress. She began her professional career at Apple and spent eight years in the financial technology group within a major international bank. She holds additional degrees in library and information science (MLIS) from Rutgers University and a doctorate from The George Washington University School of Business. Having built legislative information systems in Congress, she has a special interest in the transformation of government documents into government data through parliamentary technology and the digital administrative state.

Her longitudinal ethnography of RegTech, regulatory technology, draws on this experience to understand the digital transformation of compliance in financial services. Her book expected early 2024 is "Ethical Data Science: Prediction in the Public Interest" ISBN 9780197693025.


Data & Society

Keywords of the Datafied State: Public Interest

Anne Washington and Joanne Cheung tackle the concept of "public interest" and highlight the power imbalances and embedded social hierarchies that exist within it in a keyword…

Apr 24, 2024
Oxford University Press

Ethical Data Science

Prediction in the Public Interest

A new book from Anne L. Washington showcases how to produce better predictive algorithms for the public interest, and "draws on other disciplines, previous research practices, and…

Nov 16, 2023