- Royce Fellowship
Noah Jones '21.5 is a senior undergraduate studying Behavioral Decision Sciences and Computer Science. Interested in the effects of algorithms and technology more generally in society, Noah's time at Brown has been inspired by the work of Shoshana Zuboff, Tristian Harris, Daniel Solove, Alessandro Aquisti, among many others. This Spring, he created and helped teach a GISP called "Persuasive Big Tech", which explored the influence of big technology companies' decision-making processes on individual and group psychology and behavior. This summer he is working on an algorithmic auditing non-profit start-up idea with the Providence-based Social Enterprise Greenhouse, and he hopes this research fellowship directly informs the business plan he writes this summer.
Automated software-based systems (computer algorithms) have the potential to create outcomes that are unforeseeable by their designers, leading to unintended consequences from these programmed decision-makers. Despite this understanding amongst computer scientists, laypeople often see algorithms as neutral, super-intelligent “black boxes”, thereby limiting the meaningful conversations on these increasingly influential systems. Algorithmic auditing is an extremely new research field that aims to guarantee the social impact quality of algorithms, in order to ensure transparency and accountability to impacted communities. Through interviews with tech workers, activist groups, and non-technical laypeople, Noah's research will raise awareness of algorithmic bias, summarize responses given from individuals on a spectrum of technical understandings, and gauge public opinion towards potential algorithmic auditing proposals.
Advisor: Malik Boykin