Jonathan Stray

I’m a Senior Scientist at the Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI), working the question of how AI systems select information to show us, and what effects that has on individuals and society. These systems include search engines, chat bots, and recommender systems — the algorithms that select and rank content across social media, news apps, streaming music and video, and online shopping.

I study how the information that machines show affects well-being, polarization, what citizens know, and other things. I do theory and experiments and talk to people in industry and try to design systems that are better for people. I’m especially interested in the effects of AI on conflict. If the machines encourage our worst impulses, we will end up destroying each other.

For a decade I taught the double masters in computer science and journalism at Columbia Journalism School (lectures online). I have been active in the international peacebuilding community for some time and write a newsletter on better approaches to the culture war. I led the development of Workbench, a visual programming system for data journalism, and builtĀ Overview, an open-source document set analysis system for investigative journalists. For a while I was an editor at the Associated Press, and a data journalist at ProPublica, and I’ve written for all sorts of places. Before that, I did computer graphics R&D at Adobe Systems. I like to build big weird art with my friends.

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