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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

Illustration of course co-lead for MSt in AI Ethics and Society

Maya Indira-Ganesh

Field: Digital Media and Cultural Studies of Technology

Course taught at ICE: MSt in AI, Ethics and Society

Subject specialism: AI, technology, ethics, and society

What is your academic or professional background?

My professional life has been a forking, hybrid path of research both in-and outside the academy. I have worked as a researcher and activist on the social, cultural and political dimensions of digital media and technology, with a specialisation in gender and feminism in technology. I have two Master's degrees, one in Psychology and one in Media and Cultural Studies. I submitted my Drphil in Cultural Sciences in June 2021 and hope to defend it soon. My doctoral research is about the social and cultural aspects of autonomous vehicles and ethics.

Why should people consider studying this subject?  How is it relevant to our current world?

‘AI’ comes wrapped up in a combination of Science Fiction fantasies, marketing hype and technical jargon, to the extent that it becomes hard to examine its social, cultural, and political implications. And not just the implications of its harms and limits, but also its opportunities. There is a fascinating set of research domains historically associated with this applied field, and many new kinds social and cultural challenges facing existing institutions and the law. I believe we need technologists who bring a deep understanding of their own fields so that they can critically assess what the applications of  AI will mean for social, cultural, and public life. It is not just all about the technicalities of data science.

What do you love about your subject?

AI is intriguing because, despite all the hype, it is also about already-existing socio-technical infrastructures and institutions, literary and imaginative futures, and work, society and culture. So, it is fertile for study from many different angles, and presents many new challenges for us to think about. I love that there are many under-researched areas and under-applied technologies that we don’t know the answers to yet, but can work out with future students. 

What research projects are you currently working on?

Aside from teaching on the MSt, I have plans for a book, and am involved with arts and culture organisations in Germany that invite artists to create work about AI, culture, and society. I will also most likely start some new work soon that is reflexive and evaluative-it will involve studying practices of how we learn about and teach AI.

What’s the most rewarding part of teaching?

I am quite new to teaching in a university context. But I have already had very rewarding experiences of finding that, quite often, teaching is a beautiful process of actually working things out, clarifying, and learning things yourself. It is really interesting to reconsider teaching as an opportunity for your own transformation. 

What’s the best study advice you’ve ever been given?

Write down what you think you understand about a topic. Writing is key. 

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Learn more about our MSt in AI Ethics and Society.

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