Student Affiliate

Rachel is a writer, researcher, and MA student in Communication Studies at McGill University. Advised by Jonathan Sterne, her research explores the intersections of digital technology, history of computing, science and technology studies, and social justice. Her background is in cognitive science (B.A.&Sc., Honours, McGill), where she specialized in human-computer interaction and philosophy of technology. She has organized several initiatives within McGill and across Montreal to critically consider the cultural histories and social impacts of technologies like AI and machine learning systems.

Collectivity, Care, and Collaboration in the History of Multi-Agent Intelligent Systems

This project examines the cultural history of collectivity and collaboration in multiagent systems  artificial intelligence research. Using theories and methods from feminist science and technology studies, I consider how the complex systems of power, gender, and race influence ideas of objectivity and human-machine relations in AI research. Based on interviews with computer scientsists and critical analyses of computer science research papers, conference proceedings, technical reports, journalism, advertisements, and primary archival research, this project considers notions of collectivity and collaboration in multiagent systems as this sub-field was emerging in the 1960s to 1980s. My interviews with computer scientists who helped establish the field of multiagent systems will connect stories in the history of computing with current issues about gender, race, labour, the Silicon Valley tech industry, and AI ethics.