Design unit people header


Choosing To Be Smart: algorithms, AI, and avoiding the inevitability of unequal futures

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute and the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


Seeta Peña Gangadharan

Seeta Peña Gangadharan

Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communications, LSE

Seda Gürses

Seda Gürses

FWO Post-Doctoral Fellow, Computer Security & Industrial Cryptography/Technology Group, KU Leuven

Barry Lynn

Barry Lynn

Director, Open Markets Institute, Washington, DC


Bev Skeggs

Bev Skeggs

Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, III, LSE

Barry Lynn, Seda Gürses, and Seeta Peña Gangadharan debate what choices people and institutions have—and should have to make—in the design, diffusion, and disruption of automated technologies.

Since the early 2000s, acquisitions by Microsoft, Google, Intel, and other big tech companies in AI and machine learning have been rapidly growing. As investments continue apace, and algorithms and artificial intelligence become integrated into our daily lives, public debate regularly fixates upon whether new, automated technologies can be used for good or bad. But as anxieties grow, what choices can we effectively make about our so-called intelligent futures? How do we make these choices? Who gets to choose, and at what point in the diffusion of automated technologies? This panel unpacks asymmetries in data-driven markets, the engineering of consent in optimization models used in data-driven technologies, and the politics of refusal in the context of automated systems.

Seeta Peña Gangadharan studies privacy, surveillance, data profiling, and historically marginalised communities. She currently co-leads the Our Data Bodies project, which focuses on the impact of data collection and data-driven systems on the lives of residents of vulnerable neighborhoods of Charlotte, North Carolina, Detroit, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California.

Seda Gürses studies conceptions of privacy and surveillance in online social networks, requirements engineering, privacy enhancing technologies and optimization systems. Her recent research focuses on paradigmatic changes in software engineering practices with the shift from shrink-wrap software to services and agile programming.

Barry Lynn is author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction (Wiley 2010) and End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation (Doubleday 2005). He writes on the political and economic effects of the extreme consolidation of power in the United States have influenced the thinking of policymakers and antitrust professionals on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bev Skeggs is one of the foremost feminist sociologists in the world. Her book Formations of Class and Gender (1997) has been profoundly significant in drawing attention to the intersections between class and gender inequality, as experienced by working class young women dealing with the vulnerabilities of daily life in harsh conditions. @bevskeggs

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #SmartchoicesAI


Event Podcast 


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ. LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the event's organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements, so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. If the event is ticketed, please ensure you get in touch in advance of the ticket release date. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.

Twitter and Facebook

You can get immediate notification on the availability of an event podcast by following LSE public lectures and events on Twitter, which will also inform you about the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what's happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page.

WIFI Access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud. Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance. The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend checking back on this listing on the day of the event if you plan to attend.

Whilst we are hosting this listing, LSE Events does not take responsibility for the running and administration of this event. While we take responsible measures to ensure that accurate information is given here (for instance by checking the room has been booked) this event is ultimately the responsibility of the organisation presenting the event.