Press Releases

Faculty of Information Announcements to Media

Jackman lecture focuses on military use of facial recognition technology in the era of Artificial Intelligence 

Lucy Suchman, a globally renowned expert in human computer interaction whose recent work explores the issues raised by the growing use of facial recognition technologies, will deliver this year’s Jackman Humanities Institute marquee lecture entitled Apparatuses of Recognition 

Suchmanwho is professor of the Anthropology of Science and Technology at Lancaster University and previously worked as the Principal Scientist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, will delve into the story of how a group of activist employees at Google successfully persuaded their employer not to renew a U.S. Defense Department contract for a drone program known as Project Maven. Defenders of the program, an initiative to automate the analysis of drone video surveillance footage, claimed it would enable more accurate recognition of legitimate targets and, as a result, spare the lives of noncombatants.  

Project Maven opponents, including Professor Suchman, argue that the demonstrated imprecision of the processes in question is more than sufficient to condemn the goal of rendering targeted killing more efficient. 

In keeping with the Jackman Humanities Institute’s 2018/19 annual theme of Reading Faces – Reading Minds, Professor Suchman will trace the connecting threads of what she calls apparatuses of recognition and offer her thoughts on how their work can be interrupted as was done, at least partly, in the case of Project Maven.  

“There couldn’t be a batter person to deliver this lecture than Lucy Suchman,” says Wendy Duff, Dean of the Faculty of Information, which is hosting this year’s lecture. “With her background in AI, I am sure she will have many insights into Jackman’s very topical theme.” 

Suchman’s lecture, which will take place on April 22, will be followed by a reception at the Faculty of Information. In addition, Professor Suchman will participate in separate talks with Master’s and PhD students. This year’s Art x Bissell exhibition — by Museum Studies students and entitled Reading Faces – Reading Minds: Intersections between Art and Artificial Intelligence — will also  launch at the reception. Details and registration here 

Table Ronde: Pour une Communauté Francophone Vibrante et Innovante 

Spurred in part by the Ontario government’s decision not to fund a new French-language university, as well as changes to the role of the Office of French Language Services Commissioner, students at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information have organized a round table to discuss how to best tap into francophone talents to produce and promote original content, innovative programming and services for the francophone community in Ontario and beyond. It will take place Friday, March 29, 2019. 

Incités par la décision du gouvernement de l’Ontario de ne pas financer une nouvelle université francophone et par les changements au rôle du Commissariat aux services en français, des étudiants de la Faculty of Information de l’Université de Toronto ont organisé une table ronde pour discuter de la meilleure façon de tirer parti des ressources francophones pour produire et promouvoir un contenu original, des programmes innovateurs, et des services pour la communauté francophone en Ontario et ailleurs. 

More information: English, francais

Silicon Valley philanthropist makes record-breaking gift to Faculty of Information to fund AI Chair

(September 19, 2018) Reid Hoffman has made a gift of C$2.45 million to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information to establish a chair to study how the new era of artificial intelligence (AI) will affect our lives.

As co-founder of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock—an influential venture capital firm—Hoffman is widely respected as one of Silicon Valley’s most visionary and innovative leaders.

With its focus on AI, the Chair reflects Hoffman’s longstanding interest in cognitive science and philosophy, and his abiding fascination with questions about what artificial intelligence will mean for humanity. (Read more)

Associate Professor Sara Grimes named KMDI Director

(June 14, 2018) Dean Wendy Duff is pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Grimes as Director of
the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI), an interdisciplinary unit of
the Faculty of Information. The appointment is effective July 1, 2018.

In addition to this Directorship, Sara is Associate Professor in the Faculty of
Information and Fellow in Book and Media Studies at the University of St.
Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. (Read more)