Madeleine Clare Elish is the program director of the AI on the Ground Initiative at Data & Society, where she and her team investigate the promises and risks of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into society. Through human-centred and ethnographic research, AI on the Ground sheds light on the consequences of deploying AI systems beyond the research lab, examining who benefits, who is harmed and who is accountable. The initiative’s work has focused on how organizations grapple with the challenges and opportunities of AI, from changing work practices and responsibilities, to new ethics practices and forms of AI governance.
As a researcher and anthropologist, Madeleine has worked to reframe debates about the ethical design, use and governance of AI systems. She has conducted field work across varied industries and communities, ranging from the Air Force, the driverless car industry and commercial aviation, to precision agriculture and emergency health care. Her research has been published and cited in scholarly journals and publications, including The New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, Vice and USA Today. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University and an S.M. in comparative media studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.