A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

Sarah Myers West is a postdoctoral researcher at the AI Now Institute at New York University and an affiliate researcher at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her research examines the culture, politics, and practices of technology makers. Her current work addresses the intersections of gender, race and power in the field of artificial intelligence.

Sarah received her doctorate from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where she wrote a feminist history of encryption technologies. Her work is published in journals such as New Media & Society, the International Journal of Communication, Policy & Internet and Business and Society.


What inspires you to do the work you do?

Making sense of the social impact of technology can seem an insurmountable challenge these days. But I’m inspired by Walter Benjamin’s call to ‘brush history against the grain’: by understanding the past, we can open up a path toward a better and more just present and future.

What books are on your nightstand?

Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks and Electric Arches by Eve Ewing

Please share a favorite quote.

“Those things are real which are real in their consequences” - W.I. and D.S. Thomas