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CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Arvind Narayanan – Algorithmic society: How did we get here? How should we react?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Streaming Live:

Food and discussion begin at 12:30 pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Laura Cummings-Abdo at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

Joint work with Solon Barocas

The cloud knows the intimate details of our lives and algorithms mine this data to shape our online and even offline experiences. In this talk, I’ll start by tracing the historical developments — and historical accidents — in computer science that made this world possible.

Adjusting to algorithmic society motivates a number of lines of empirical research: algorithmic accountability, reverse engineering “algorithmic black boxes” to improve transparency, building “interpretable” machine learning algorithms and systems, and fairness in data mining. I’ll describe burgeoning research in each of these topics and argue the need for a new subfield of computer science.


Arvind Narayanan (Ph.D. 2009) is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton. He studies information privacy and security and has a side-interest in technology policy. His research has shown that data anonymization is broken in fundamental ways, for which he jointly received the 2008 Privacy Enhancing Technologies Award. Narayanan leads the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability project that aims to uncover how companies are collecting and using our personal information. He also studies the security and stability of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Narayanan is an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton and an affiliate scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. You can follow him on Twitter at @random_walker.