CWU News

CWU To Host Presentation on Artificial Intelligence in Everyday Life

Software Developer and Data Journalist Meredith Broussard will be presenting the keynote address during a lecture series titled “Artificial Intelligence: The Future is Now” on October 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The talk will focus on the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) has had on our current social and political climate, and the ways in which we can work toward a better understanding and implementation of these powerful tools in the future.

Broussard will draw from her most recent publication, the award-winning book Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, which explores the seemingly magical properties of AI through a research-based, critical lens. Tamara Caulkins, CWU Douglas Honors College faculty member, says Broussard urges people to distinguish between AI as seen in movies and science fiction and AI that is used in the real world.

“Artificial Intelligence doesn’t exist without the people who design it, and so it will always have an element of those people’s intentions and biases,” Caulkins said. “It is used to shape the world, so we need to be conscious of what kind of world we want.”

As AI becomes a bigger part of daily life across the planet, the ways in which the algorithms used might fail to account for critical human factors multiply accordingly. Broussard celebrates these technological feats in her lectures and written work, but also emphasizes the need for caution around a set of tools most people haven’t yet fully come to understand.

As Dr. Broussard states in Artificial Unintelligence, "there's no consciousness inside a computer; there's only a collection of functions running silently, simultaneously, and beautifully."

Broussard has a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is a proponent of ethical AI and appears in the documentary “Coded Bias,” now streaming on Netflix. She has worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Her features and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Vox, and other outlets.

Dr. Broussard will be presenting over Zoom but audience members can attend in person at the Samuelson Auditorium or online. The event is free to the public. Pre-registration is required via the event's website. Those interested are encouraged to attend, as the lecture will not be recorded. The lecture will be followed by a discussion, and questions will be taken from both online and in-person attendees.

This lecture is presented under the auspices of the William O. Douglas Honors College (DHC) and sponsored by the CWU Foundation and the Len Thayer grants program. Co-sponsors are the CWU Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Museum of Culture & Environment.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,