Mona Sloane, Ph.D. is a sociologist working on design and inequality, specifically in the context of AI design and policy. As our digital fellow from October through December 2021, Mona Sloane will be researching inequality and start-ups in Germany, engaging in conversations about environmental justice and digital sovereignty, and working on new approaches to public scholarship on technology, equity, and innovation.
Mona will be collaborating with the Digital Sovereignty team to advance a new research agenda on equity, technology and entrepreneurship. European governments often portray the gateway to prosperity to be grounded in Silicon Valley-like environments that foster a particular kind of “entrepreneurial culture” focused on digitization and tech innovation. But we know that many tech products, especially when equipped with AI, can cause harm and exacerbate inequality. We also know that the space of tech entrepreneurship is very homogenous and that, therefore, attempts to reshape socio-economic environments by way of centering tech entrepreneurship may further cement existing power imbalances, particularly along the fault lines of gender, race, and class.
Mona is currently the founding director of the *This Is Not A Drill* program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and will also be working on environmental justice and digital sovereignty as part of her fellowship. At the dawn of the new 20s, we are seeing a major shift in public perception around issues of equity and the climate emergency, paired with the reckoning that traditional ways of approaching these kinds of issues have led to failure. There is vast potential to shape not just policy interventions, but to help birth new and more equitable ways of knowing what the issues are, where they come from, and how they can be addressed. We need a new public pedagogy to combine technology, the arts, critical thinking and activism to address the intractable social problems that are entangled with both the rise of technology and the climate emergency.