Award-winning author Virginia Eubanks to deliver 2020 Lippin Lecture in Ethics
Oct. 1 lecture to examine the disparate impact of technological tools on poor, working-class individuals
The Rock Ethics Institute (REI), established in 2001, seeks to promote engaged ethics research and ethical leadership. The annual Lippin Lecture, created by Richard B. Lippin, 1968 psychology, and his wife, the late Ronnie Lippin, addresses questions of justice with particular emphasis on ethical issues facing the fields of business, medicine, science, and technology.
Eubanks is an associate professor of political science at the University at Albany, SUNY, whose work on social justice and technology has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR, BBC, and elsewhere. Her lecture will explore themes from “Automatic Inequality” -- specifically, the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America and how they relate to the current pandemic. “Automatic Inequality” received the 2018 McGannon Center Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.
“New data technologies hold incredible potential, but they also can become tools that inflict further harm on the most vulnerable in society,” notes REI Assistant Director Ben Jones, “Professor Eubanks is one of the foremost experts on these dangers, and our institute is honored to work with a number of campus partners to host this opportunity for her to speak to Penn State and the broader community.”
The virtual lecture is free and open to the public; those interested in attending can register in advance at https://psu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nczAkLLaRZiIgu7zbsNwjA. A discussion with Eubanks led by Sarah Rajtmajer, REI research associate and assistant professor of information sciences and technology, and Pamela VanHaitsma, interim director of the Center for Humanities and Information; Sherwin Early Career Professor of communication arts and sciences and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; will immediately follow the lecture. Attendees can submit questions for Eubanks in advance by emailing them to Betsy VanNoy at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, Sept. 28.
Co-sponsors for this year’s Lippin Lecture include the Center for Humanities and Information; the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications; the McCourtney Institute for Democracy; and University Libraries. The McCourtney Institute interviewed Eubanks during a recent episode of its Democracy Works podcast.