Disrupting Big Tech: Independent, Community-Rooted AI Research focused on Africa & the African diaspora

Timnit Gebru
Wed May 4th 2022, 4:00 - 6:00pm
Event Sponsor
The Stanford Humanities Center, The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, The Stanford Institute for Human Artificial Intelligence, Stanford Seed, H&S Dean's Office, Management Science & Engineering, Digital Civil Society Lab, Department of Computer Science, Science Technology and Society, the Producing Knowledge in and of Africa Workshop
Physical location and webinar link will be made available upon registration.
This event is open to Stanford affiliates in-person or virtually.

(Photo of Timnit Gebru by Cody O'Loughlin)


The Center for African Studies is excited to host Timnit Gebru for this year's annual lecture. In this talk, Gebru will discuss why she founded The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR) and what she hopes this interdisciplinary, community-based, global network of AI researchers can accomplish. DAIR was launched in December 2021 by Timnit Gebru as a space for independent, community-rooted AI research, free from Big Tech’s pervasive influence. Gebru believes that the harms embedded in AI technology are preventable and that when its production and deployment include diverse perspectives and deliberate processes, it can be put to work for people, rather than against them. With DAIR, Gebru aims to create an environment that is independent from the structures and systems that incentivize profit over ethics and individual well-being.


This event will offer limited-capacity in-person attendance for Stanford faculty, staff, fellows, visiting scholars, and students in accordance with Stanford’s health and safety guidelines, and be open to Stanford Affiliates via Zoom. If you are a Stanford affiliate looking to attend virtually or in-person*, please select one of the following options below:



*In the instance this event reaches capacity, in-person registrants will be moved to a waitlist and invited to the webinar. Those waitlisted will have access to seats for registrants who do not show up within 15 minutes of the event. 



(Photos by Cody O'Loughlin)

Timnit Gebru is the founder and executive director of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR). Prior to that she was fired by Google in December 2020 for raising issues of discrimination in the workplace, where she was serving as co-lead of the Ethical AI research team. She received her PhD from Stanford University, and did a postdoc at Microsoft Research, New York City in the FATE (Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in AI) group, where she studied algorithmic bias and the ethical implications underlying projects aiming to gain insights from data. Timnit also co-founded Black in AI, a nonprofit that works to increase the presence, inclusion, visibility and health of Black people in the field of AI, and is on the board of AddisCoder, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching algorithms and computer programming to Ethiopian high school students, free of charge.


In-Person Information

For everyone's health and safety,  register in advance for this event and follow the health protocols below.

We ask that you not attend this event if you are experiencing symptoms of upper respiratory illness. If you test positive for COVID-19 within ten days of being on campus, please complete Stanford's General COVID-19 Case Reporting Form. For more information, please see the Health Alerts Visitors page. If you have any further questions about this policy, please contact us at africanstudies [at] stanford.edu (africanstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).

Parking: Visit the Stanford Transportation website for information about parking at Stanford.