MD4SG '20

4th Workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good

Keynote Speakers & Panelists


Keynote Speaker Bios

Natalia Ariza-Ramírez

Natalia Ariza-Ramírez, Former Vice Minister of Education in Colombia

Bio: Natalia Ariza Ramírez is an economist at the National University of Colombia (NUC). She holds a master's degree in Economics Science from NUC with an emphasis on theory and economic policy. Ms. Ariza Ramírez is an expert in the design, execution, monitoring and evaluation of public policies, especially in the education sector, training for work, and employment. She has led the construction of the regulatory and public policy framework of the sectors of work and education over the past 12 years. Ms. Ariza Ramírez served as an independent consultant and Deputy Minister of Higher Education from 2014 to 2016. She has also held management positions in public institutions in Colombia, including the National Apprenticeship Service, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Social Protection and the National Planning Department. Ms. Ariza Ramírez believes that access to quality education for children and young people is the only way to achieve social cohesion.

Research and Policy challenges in implementing Colombia's "Ser Pilo Paga" Program

Stephanie Dinkins

Stephanie Dinkins, Artist Fellow at the Berggruen Institute

Bio: Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialog about artificial intelligence (AI) as it intersects race, gender, aging, and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more inclusive, fair and ethical artificial intelligent ecosystems. Dinkins’ art practice employs lens-based practices, emerging technologies and community engagement to confront questions of bias in AI, consciousness, data sovereignty and social equity. Investigations into the contradictory histories, traditions, knowledge bases and philosophies that form/in-form society at large underpin her thought and art production. Dinkins earned an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1997 and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Studies Program. She exhibits and publicly advocates for inclusive AI internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private and institutional venues – by design. Dinkins is a 2019 Creative Capital Grantee as well as a 2018/19 Soros Equality Fellow, Data and Society Research Institute Fellow and 2018 Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab Fellow.

Community, Craft, and the Vernacular in Artificial Intelligence

Community, Craft, and the Vernacular in Artificial Intelligence takes the position that everyone participating in society is an expert in our experiences within the community infrastructures which inform the makeup of artificially intelligent systems. Although we may not be intellectually aware of jargon used in exclusionary contexts, we share the vernacular of who we are as people and a community and the intimate sense that our data is being used by big entities. Afro-now-ism asks us to ground our understanding by taking the imaginary leap of defining ourselves and our communities outside of systemic oppression in order to craft the systems we'd like to see. Stephanie Dinkins uses her practice as an artist. Stephanie Dinkins will use her practice as an artist working with AI to illustrate these ideas.

Deborah Estrin

Deborah Estrin, Associate Dean for Impact at Cornell Tech

Bio: Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City where she holds The Robert V. Tishman Founder's Chair, serves as the Associate Dean for Impact, and founded the Jacobs Institute's Health Tech Hub. Estrin's research interests include digital health, ubiquitous computing, personalization, and privacy (TEDMED). Most recently, she has joined the growing community of scholars and practitioners engaged in Public Interest Technology. Before joining Cornell University Estrin was the Founding Director of the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA; pioneering the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world. Estrin co-founded the non-profit startup, Open mHealth and has served on several scientific advisory boards for early stage mobile health startups.

Tech in support of caregiving: innovation opportunities and ecosystem challenges

Caregiving in the home, outside of traditional clinical settings, is a societally-important, yet under-addressed, application domain that is ripe for digital innovation. I will introduce the context of caregiving, example technical opportunities (e.g., precision sensing, mixed reality, conversational agents), and ecosystem challenges (e.g., misaligned incentives in healthcare, commercialization, and research). I will emphasize the centrality of values in design to the framing of technical problems and solutions (e.g., equity, quality of life and work, dignity, privacy) and the need to intentionally make room for innovation framed in terms of Public Interest needs.

Nicole Immorlica

Nicole Immorlica, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research

Bio: Nicole Immorlica's research lies broadly within the field of economics and computation. Using tools and modeling concepts from both theoretical computer science and economics, Nicole hopes to explain, predict, and shape behavioral patterns in various online and offline systems, markets, and games. Her areas of specialty include social networks and mechanism design. She currently serves as chair of ACM SIGecom, the professional organization for researchers in her field. Nicole received her Ph.D. from MIT in Cambridge, MA in 2005 and then completed three years of postdocs at both Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA and CWI in Amsterdam, Netherlands before accepting a job as an assistant professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL in 2008. She joined the Microsoft Research Northeast Labs in 2012.

Maximizing the Social Good: Markets without Money

To create a truly sustainable world, we need to generate ample resources and allocate them appropriately. In traditional economics, these goals are achieved using money. However, in many settings of particular social significance, monetary transactions are infeasible, be it due to ethical considerations or technological constraints. In this talk, we will discuss alternatives to money and show how to use them to achieve socially-optimal outcomes. In this talk, we will discuss alternatives to money, including information asymmetry and risk, and show how to use them to achieve socially-optimal outcomes. Information asymmetry enables an informed group to influence a decision maker. This can benefit groups with the power to leverage influence. Using this insight, we study the disparate impact of unequal access to influence. Risk helps determine a person's value for a resource: the more someone is willing to risk for something, the more they value it. Using this insight, we propose an algorithm to find a good assignment of students in school choice programs

Anjana Rajan

Anjana Rajan, Chief Technology Officer of Polaris

Bio: Anjana Rajan is the Chief Technology Officer of Polaris, an NGO that uses data-driven strategies to disrupt and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery. She is a seasoned executive and entrepreneur whose expertise is applying technology to human rights and national security issues. Anjana is the former CTO of Callisto, a nonprofit that builds cryptographically-advanced technology to combat sexual assault. Recently, Anjana was a Tech Policy Fellow at the Aspen Institute, where she created privacy-preserving methods to eradicate mass gun violence caused by white supremacist terrorists. Previously, she spent several years in London working at Palantir Technologies building big data platforms for international clients. Anjana was a Knight Scholar at Cornell University and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Operations Research and Information Engineering. Anjana is also a former elite triathlete who raced for Team USA.


How to fight white supremacist extremism while protecting civil liberties: a multidisciplinary approach using technology, research, and policy

Anjana Rajan is the chief technology officer of Polaris, an NGO based in Washington DC that fights human trafficking and modern slavery. Her expertise is applying cryptography to national security and human rights issues. Earlier this year, Anjana was a tech policy fellow at the Aspen Institute, where she focused on answering a central question: how can we create privacy-preserving ways to prevent mass gun violence caused by white supremacist extremists? This problem is challenging because it touches upon many different complex issues: counterterrorism, gun control policy, domestic violence, privacy & civil liberties, and cryptography. In this talk, Anjana will discuss her solution of confidential digital reporting escrows for witnesses to safely report while ensuring the civil liberties of both the witness and suspect are protected. Her talk will elaborate on the cryptographic design of this solution and will underscore the important intersection of technical expertise, research expertise, and policy expertise.

Panelist Bios

José R. Correa

José R. Correa, Professor at Universidad de Chile

José R. Correa graduated as a Mathematical Engineer from Universidad de Chile in 1999 and obtained a PhD in Operations Research from MIT in 2004. After graduation, he was a postdoctoral associate at the Computer Science Department at Universidad de Chile, and later an assistant professor at the School of Business at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Since 2008, he is faculty at Universidad de Chile where he teaches and conducts research in operations research. His research, focusing in combinatorial optimization and network economics, has been rewarded with the TSL best paper award in 2002 and Tucker prize finalist in 2006. He has given invited talks at several institutions, and has been in the program committee of international computer science conferences, including the Latin American Theoretical Informatics conference (LATIN), the workshop on Approximation and Online Algorithms (WAOA), and the workshop on Internet and Networks Economics (WINE). He also serves as associate editor of one of the leading journals of the field: Operations Research.

Rafael Obregón

Rafael Obregón, UNICEF Paraguay

Dr. Rafael Obregón provides technical leadership and guidance on the development of standards, guidelines, and quality assurance for the application of communication for development principles and strategies across programmatic areas of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), including emergency response and humanitarian action. He has served as Regional Advisor for Health Communication within the Area of Family and Community Health and Child and Adolescent Health Unit at the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). Dr Obregón has also been a technical advisor, researcher and resource/focal person for international/national cooperation agencies and government and non-governmental organizations. His duties have focused on formative research, project design and evaluation, and capacity strengthening. Dr Obregón has also been associate professor and guest faculty member at a number of universities, including Ohio University, United States of America, the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, and the Universidad Autónoma in Barcelona, Spain.

Discussants Bios

Jon Kleinberg

Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University

Jon Kleinberg is the Tisch University Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Information Science at Cornell University. His research focuses on the interaction of algorithms and networks, the roles they play in large-scale social and information systems, and their broader societal implications. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and the recipient of MacArthur, Packard, Simons, Sloan, and Vannevar Bush research fellowships, as well awards including the Harvey Prize, the Nevanlinna Prize, and the ACM Prize in Computing.

Illenin Kondo

Illenin Kondo, University of Notre Dame

Illenin Kondo is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. His research explores both the macroeconomic and the distributional impacts of economic integration. His recent works focus on infrastructure network misallocation, trade-induced job reallocations, and sovereign debt crises. He received his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Minnesota and holds electrical and computer engineering degrees from Georgia Tech and Supélec. Before joining Notre Dame, he worked at the Federal Reserve Board and taught at Johns Hopkins University. He hails from Togo, with roots in Ghana on his mother's side.

Sera Linardi

Sera Linardi, University of Pittsburgh

Sera Linardi Sera Linardi is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and at the Intelligent Systems Program at the School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh. She founded and direct the Center for Analytical Approaches to Social Innovation (CAASI), which seeks to connect quantitative social science with practical social innovation. She received her PhD from California Institute of Technology and was a computer scientist at Adobe Systems before graduate school.

Roya Pakzad

Roya Pakzad, Taraaz

Roya Pakzad is founder and director of Taraaz, a research and advocacy organization working at the intersection of technology and human rights. She is also an affiliated scholar at UC Berkeley's CITRIS Policy Lab. Previously, she served as a Research Associate and Project Leader in Technology and Human Rights at Stanford University's Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi). She also worked with Stanford's program in Iranian Studies on the role of information and communication technologies and human rights in Iran. Prior to entering the human rights field, she was an electrical engineer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Roya holds degrees from Shahid Beheshti University in Iran (B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering), the University of Southern California (M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering) and Columbia University (M.A. in Human Rights Studies). She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and currently lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Juan Felipe Penagos

Juan Felipe Penagos, Universidad de los Andes

Juan Felipe Penagos is a an Industrial Engineer, MsC in Industrial Engineering, and a soon to be PhD in Industrial Engineering. His resesrch is focused on understanding Complex Social Systems through mathematical modelling and simulation. He has applied these approaches to the Colombian higher education system, leading to the creation of the largest undergraduate scholarship fund (1.2 USD bn) of the Colombian Ministry of Education: the "Ser Pilo Paga" program. Also, these models have been used to pass several pieces of legislation through the Congress of Colombia, to allow the education system and the student loan system become more sustainable and equitable through an Income Contingent Loans Mechanism for Higher Education.

Manuel Sabin

Manuel Sabin, Radboud University

Manuel Sabin, Postdoctoral Researcher at Radboud University working with lawyers/legal philosophers on the COHUBICOL project. Their work there aims to understand and give language to how new technologies - e.g. Machine Learning-based recidivism prediction, smart contracts, jurimetrics, etc. - affects and, often, undermines the institution of Law. Before this, Manuel received their PhD at UC Berkeley as a Theoretical Computer Scientist advised by Shafi Goldwasser and Christos Papadimitriou. Their work continues to vary from foundational Complexity Theory and Cryptography to analyzing the implicit politics encoded into technology and its socio-technical effects in redistributing power in the world. Manuel is an organizer of the Radical AI network and founded and organized the QTPOC Reclaiming Education and STEM (QTPRES) Conference (Postponed for COVID-19).