With a Side of Knowledge podcast talks AI, bias with race and technology expert Mutale Nkonde

Author: Ted Fox

cover art for With a Side of Knowledge podcast, featuring a plated Notre Dame waffle in the background behind the show's name and two dialogue bubbles in the foreground

With a Side of Knowledge is a podcast produced by the Office of the Provost at the University of Notre Dame. It brings listeners informal interviews with fascinating scholars and professionals from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that typically take place over brunch.

The 20th episode of the show’s third season, “On AI and Why We Need Humans (and Tiger King),” was released Thursday, May 28, and features Mutale Nkonde, the founding CEO of AI for the People, a nonprofit creative agency.

An expert on race and technology, Nkonde is currently a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab. She has also been a fellow at the research institute Data & Society, and her work has been covered by MIT Technology Review, WIRED, and PBS NewsHour, among others.

Nkonde and host Ted Fox were supposed to get brunch back in mid-March, when she was scheduled to be a panelist at a conference hosted by the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center, a new center at the University that supports multi- and interdisciplinary research on questions related to the impact of technology on humanity.

However, after that event had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus, Nkonde and Fox traded waffles for Zoom and had a conversation about artificial intelligence that started out by digging into what the terms AI, machine learning, and deep learning mean. They then talked about the ways this seemingly dispassionate tech can exhibit very real bias—not to mention its implications for privacy and the future of work in the age of COVID-19—as well as her work on Capitol Hill and at Harvard. Algorithms even figured into their tangent about the Netflix series Tiger King.

You can visit provost.nd.edu/podcast to learn more about With a Side of Knowledge, which is available through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, LyceumSpotify, Stitcher, or by searching “With a Side of Knowledge” in your favorite podcast app.

You can also listen to the episode with Nkonde using the player below.