Associate Professor Mar Hicks Named One of ‘100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics’

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By Linsey Maughan

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Associate Professor of History Mar Hicks has recently been named one of “100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics” and has also just published their second book.

The “brilliant women” recognition came from Women in AI Ethics, “a global initiative with a mission to increase recognition, representation, and empowerment of women in [Artificial Intelligence] Ethics,” according to its website. The initiative is sponsored by the Social Good Fund, a California-based nonprofit.

“It’s a great honor to be named to this list, which includes both women and nonbinary people this year,” Hicks says. “The people on this list are luminaries in STEM and humanities fields whose research focuses on questions of socially responsible AI and ethical technology.”

Hicks collaborated with three other scholars of information studies and the history of technology to co-edit Your Computer Is on Fire (MIT Press, March 2021), a collection of essays.

“[The book] trains a spotlight on the inequities and marginalization that our technological infrastructures have taken for granted—and intensified—as they’ve scaled,” Hicks says. “The essays in it help us understand how we can learn from this history to avoid replicating destructive patterns over and over again.”

Hicks’s first book, Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press, 2018), received several awards including the prestigious Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association.

Hicks is now at work on a book about the “hidden histories” of electronic computing.

“It teaches us new historical lessons by illuminating histories that have not yet been told,” Hicks says. “These examples give us new conceptual tools for understanding how we got into some of the technological messes we’re currently dealing with, as well as how we can get out.”

Photo: Associate Professor of History Mar Hicks (provided)