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INTERFACE

We meet weekly during the semester on Mondays at 5pm ET to discuss the impacts and ethics of computing. Topics range from privacy and surveillance issues to education, security to labor policies.

Membership ranges from undergrad and grad students to faculty and alumni. Come if you believe these conversations are important to have.



Interested in participating?
Interested in Presenting?

Coming Up


Past Topics

Wednesday 5/4: What Tech Calls Thinking

Disruption and dropping out are typical key words associated with Silicon Valley's quest to change the world. But where does Silicon Valley philosophy and ethos come from? Drawing from Adrian Daub's book What Tech Calls Thinking, we'll trace the genealogy of some of these core ideas and reflect on what impact this has on tech today.

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 4/25: Understanding the Elizabeth Holmes & Theranos Story

The meteoric rise and subsequent fall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos (her failed blood-testing start-up) have captured the public imagination. In particular, Holmes's recent trial has sparked conversations about gender, power structures, and how we regulate emerging health technologies. In this meeting, we will discuss what Theranos set out to do, why it didn't succeed, and what its trajectory tells us about our current regulatory approaches. We'll also look at why the Holmes story has so thoroughly captivated audiences both within and beyond the biotechnology space, as well as at the broader issues that the Theranos scandal has come to represent.

Natalia Orlovsky '22

Monday 4/18: Student Thesis Discussion

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 4/11: Free Speech in the Digital Age

Social media platforms have become increasingly important parts of our social, professional, and civic lives — as a result a small handful of corporations have not only profited immensely but gained immense control over and perhaps responsibility for what happens in these pseudo-public spaces. In the process they have come under heavy criticism ranging from accusations of partisan bias to insufficient moderation of hate speech or disinformation. Come join Darius Janauskas '24 to discuss who ought to control speech on these platforms and what economic, legal, and technological methods might be employed to exercise that control.

Darius Jankauskas '24

Monday 4/4: Semiconductors, Supply Chains, and Taiwan, Oh My

This club frequently talks about the social impacts of computing applications, but how about the physical chips that they're made out of? Let's take some time to chat about the craziness of the semiconductors industry and supply chain, as well as its connections to tensions in the Taiwan Strait. There will be a short presentation followed by ample time for everyone to discuss as a group!

Julia Zhou '24, Betsy Pu '22

Monday 3/28: Right to Repair

"Right to Repair" is the idea that if you own something you should be able to repair it yourself. Over the past several years, however, many companies have made this far harder. While they often claim that this is necessary - some argue that these restrictions are to force consumers to either simply replace broken devices or buy repair services directly from the manufacturer. Come discuss why we should all be mindful of this issue, and how people are fighting to ensure the continued "Right to Repair"

Jason Oh '24

Monday 3/21: So what is this "privacy" thing anyways?

In tech policy discussions we often assume that privacy is something to be protected, but what is privacy? Is it a right like liberty? A privilege? What does it mean to violate privacy? Can we define it at all? Come and discuss some of the ways philosophers have tried to answer these questions in the past and how we might answer them now.

Aditya Gollapudi '23

Tuesday 2/22: So Uh What Is This "Hacking" Thing Really

Let's walk through compromising a (relatively simple) machine to understand what vulnerabilities and attacks look like in real* world settings. This will be a technical demo, but you're welcome to join even if you have no idea what a hack would look like. Time permitting, we'll discuss how institutions can be designed to help minimize vulnerabilities.

Monday 2/14/22: Parasocial Relationships & Remote Intimacy - A Valentine's Special

On this day of commercialized love, let's talk about how intimacy works in the digital era! Parasocial relationships powers the influencer & creator economy - how does it differ from a normal relationship, and what mechanics of technology enables this? Long-distance intimacy is becoming the norm - what sort of things can you do with tech beyond video calls & text messages? When two worlds collide, what do you get? What does all of this mean for contemporary sex work? Join us as we glimpse into the future of intimacy x technology!

Hien Pham '23, Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 2/7/22: Federated Learning : Can We Learn Without Sharing Our Data?

Over the last several years concerns have grown over the vast amount of data harvested from our devices by corporations. At the same time regulations around special types of data such as patient records, as well as geographic regulation like GDPR make it hard to build centralized datasets for many problems. Come hear Michael Tang '24 talk about Federated Learning - a potential solution to both of these problems which might allow for the benefits of machine learning models without data ever leaving it's source.

Michael Tang '24

Monday 11/29/21: Radio Broadcasting and Regulation

Radio is one of the most powerful mediums in the U.S., with a weekly reach of about 82.5% of adults. Furthermore, radio broadcasts have the ability to cross borders and deliver information, even when phone lines are cut, when the Internet is blocked, when access to technology is prohibitively expensive, and when illiteracy rates are high. As such, it has a significant power in shaping political and cultural outlooks among the public. Join us for a rousing history of the radio industry and a broader discussion of modern-day public discourse!

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 11/22/21: Cyber Warfare Pt. 2: International Legal Implications

An invisible war is raging all around us, all the time-- ongoing military and intelligence cyber operations occur perpetually on the networks we use to work, play, and connect. So much so that Microsoft President Brad Smith has called for a “Digital Geneva Convention” to clarify international laws concerning the nebulous world of electronic warfare and related attacks. But would such a document be tenable? What does this mean for the future of warfare, the role of military actors, and the state of international relations?

Christopher Lidard '25

Monday 11/15/21: Surveillance, Data, and Privacy in Cellular Networks

Our phones are the endpoints of the global telecommunications network, linking us to the Internet. At any time they can become surveillance devices, giving that network's operators a direct view of your life. Identity, location, and relationships can all be linked. How does this system work, what led us here, and can we build an alternative?

Robert Liu '20

Monday 11/8/21: Design Justice for Informing Tech Policy

Though "design" is often associated with tech companies, Sasha Constanza-Chock reminds us in Design Justice that it is an expansive term: "design means to make a mark, make a plan, or problem-solve." In a post-techlash world where many former employees of tech companies are moving into the policy realm, I argue that we must be wary of technocratic solutionism in Washington just as much as we are beginning to decry its flaws in Silicon Valley. What can policymakers learn from the demands being made of technologists to embrace comprehensive programs of social, political, and technical change, like those found in Design Justice?

Matthew Sun 'GS

Monday 11/1/21: AI Crash Course for Community Leaders & Policy Makers

Have no idea how any of this Artificial Intelligence stuff works but keep hearing about it in the news? Come through for an informal crash course on AI concepts that most commonly affect our society & policies, from fellow ethically-minded undergrads. Send in your questions through the RSVP form!

Aditya Gollapudi '23, Hien Pham '23

Monday 10/25/21: Cyber Warfare

As digital and computing technologies infiltrated society, they have evolved from niche devices to critical infrastructures. What happens when a nation-state tries to undermine a rival nation-state through a cyber attack? At the intersection of computing, hacking, spycraft, and social manipulation, “cyber warfare” is an emerging form of warfare that might pose a grave threat to modern life. Join us to learn more about cyber warfare: what it is, how it’s done, and where it will take humanity.

Miguel Opena '22

Monday 10/4/21: The Metaverse: The Next Evolution of the Internet?

Tech giants from Facebook to Epic Games have all recently been funneling millions towards something called "the Metaverse." But what exactly is it? Can "Web 3.0" truly be a successor to our current idea of the internet, or is this just another dystopian nightmare? Join us this week to talk about the Metaverse - a cyberpunk hyperreality ripped straight out of 90s Sci-Fi novels

Carl Zielinski '24

Monday 9/27/21: Mini-Presentations:

Demystifying Market-Making:

INTERFACE has previously discussed questions around graduating and using our skills in ~Big Tech~, but have you heard the term high-frequency trading or seen Jane Street t-shirts around campus and want to know more? Have you ever wondered how big financial companies leverage technology to affect the economy, and even retail investors on an individual level? In this talk, we will explore how the stock market works, specifically the concept of market making, and the effect it has on the overall economy and retail investors. No prior knowledge about stonks or finance is necessary!

Alan Chung '22


Comically Dark Patterns:

Websites and apps frequently use tricks to make users do things that they didn't intend to. These tricks, dubbed dark patterns, range from relatively innocent schemes that involving getting more clicks to multimillion dollar industries that rely solely on sneaky web and app design. Join us in this talk to see some funny examples of intentionally bad web and app design.

Rahul Saha '22

Monday 9/20/21: Apple's Child-safety Photo-Scanning Plans

What's going on with Apple's system to detect CSAM (Child Sexual Assault Material)? Why are people concerned about it? How does Apple's system fit into the existing legal and technical framework around CSAM? Recent events have raised many difficult questions, come discuss them with us!

Aditya Gollapudi '23, Betsy Pu '22

Monday 9/13/21: The Philosophy of Surveillance: Foucault's Panopticon

Join us to talk about ways to understand the modern surveillance state using the ideas of Foucault and his philosophy of "disciplinary society". We'll start with a simple introduction to his theory, and then talk about how it might apply to our modern conditions.

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Saturday 9/11/21: INTERFACE KICKOFF #2

Welcome back! We'll kickoff the year with a primer of some frequently discussed topics in tech x society studies, such as core biases in ML, community tech, surveillance, and more. The kickoff meetings are identical, so come to ONE of them.

- Your Humble Organizers

Monday 9/6/21: INTERFACE KICKOFF #1

Welcome back! We'll kickoff the year with a primer of some frequently discussed topics in tech x society studies, such as core biases in ML, community tech, surveillance, and more. The kickoff meetings are identical, so come to ONE of them.

- Your Humble Organizers

Sunday 7/25/21: Where should I work after graduation? - A social psychology perspective

Building off of Hien and Daniel's presentation near the end of the school year, Matthew will investigate the age-old question of "Where should I work after graduation?", not by examining different ethical frameworks, but rather from an (armchair) social psychology perspective. The aim is that looking inward and interrogating our own positionality will allow us to move forward beyond overly reductive narratives of good and bad (companies/people) and toward a more realist attitude of collective change.

Matthew Sun 'GS

Sunday 5/2/21: Do you sell out to Big Tech or do you not?

At INTERFACE, we’ve probably all asked ourselves this at least once before. But it’s definitely not that simple, right? RIGHT? Join us as we attempt a normative zoom out on dissecting these questions.

Daniel Wey '22, Hien Pham '23

Sunday 4/25/21: Cyborgs and Cognitive Enhancements

Cognitive enhancements can take many diverse forms, from conventional means such as education and training to more unconventional ones such as neural implants, gene therapy, and nootropic drugs. But what happens when such enhancements becomes a commodity? Who regulates neural enhancers, and what are the implications on society at large?

Rahul Saha & Sabrina Reguyal '22

Sunday 4/11/21: Lil Nas X & IP Bull

Chill hang + chat about IP law

Sunday 4/4/21: The System of Crowdsourcing Wisdom

Wikipedia - high school teachers hate it, but we all use it. In recent years, Wikipedia content has become the de facto first impression for anyone looking up anything with an article, providing 3 seconds of explanations or sources for a whole paper. But how trustworthy is Wikipedia, how does it even work and what are its pitfalls? Join us in exploring the behind-the-scenes of the world's largest encyclopedia, with all its rules, dramas, and alphabet soup.

Wendy Ho '21, Hien Pham '23

Sunday 3/28/21: Pixel Affection: Tech-Mediated Touch, Conversation, and Companionship

From cuddle-able Japanese robot seals designed for elderly care homes, to a proliferation of YouTube video genres such as mukbang for simulating company, to a Microsoft-developed AI chatbot girlfriend, tech-mediated companionship has slowly expanded its reach over the past twenty years. Furthermore, a year of quarantine in which friends and family are only reachable through video chat has both led to an explosion of virtual personal interactions and a widespread deliberation of where the boundaries for such incorporeal life lies. Swing by and let's try to beat back loneliness by discussing loneliness together!

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Sunday 3/21/21: Faceblock: Unfriending Australia

The recently passed Australian News Media Bargaining Code will significantly change the media economy in not only Australia but will likely have ripple effects around the globe. Will its end result be the saving of print media or perhaps the further forced consolidation of media companies? Does it violate fundamental norms of the web - is that a bad thing? Who won this negotiation, Google/Facebook or the Morrison Administration and what does that suggest about the power balance between tech giants and small-medium sized countries? Come discuss these things with me and hopefully we can be less confused together.

Aditya Gollapudi '23

Sunday 2/28/21: Defense Against the Dark Ads

Facebook knows what you did last night. Google follows you everywhere on the Internet. In the shadows, unscrupulous data brokers aggregate and sell your data for pennies to the highest bidder. Is privacy dead? Not. Yet. Come learn about behind-the-scenes mechanisms that collect your data, and how to limit what Big Tech knows about you.

Sandun Bambarandage '20

Sunday 2/21/21: Revisiting Digital Contact Tracing

So … what happened with all of that buzz about digital contact tracing apps? What is the role of privacy and (mis)trust of government in their adoption (or lack thereof)?
Will my citizens get mad if I promise only to use their tracing data for pandemic-related purposes and then give it to the police?

Hien & Betsy will lead a short presentation on the current state of digital contact tracing, but we’d also love to hear all of your thoughts on pandemic-technology strats & privacy tradeoffs during our round-table discussion afterwards.

Sunday 2/14/21: Open-Source Intelligence in Journalism

Can you solve mysteries of the world by just looking at social media or Google Maps? This meeting, we have the pleasure of being joined by a guest who will speak about the use of open-source intelligence techniques within investigative journalism. Bellingcat journalists have applied these techniques in high-profile cases such as identifying the poisoners of Alexei Navalny.

Giancarlo Fiorella is an investigator and trainer for Latin America at Bellingcat. He is also a PhD candidate at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, where his research focuses on protest policing and civil conflict.

Sunday 2/7/21: Encrypted Messaging and Society - A Critical Look at the Rise of Telegram and Signal

Both Telegram and Signal have become prominent in organizing social movements, such as the 2020 BLM and Belarus protests. At the same time, they have offered a platform for jihadists, far-right extremists, and other violent, hate-based groups. We will discuss the background of these apps and the intriguing questions they raise about the future of social movements, censorship, and countermeasures against violent extremism.

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Sunday 11/22: Deus Vult! How the Alt-Right Co-Opted the Crusades

To history buffs, Crusader memes are harmless fun. On more insidious corners of the Internet, they inspire acts of violence. Come find out how a 1000-year-old ideology became a potent radicalization tool for white supremacists and far-right extremists.

Sandun Bambarandage '20

Sunday 11/15/20: AI-Generated Art

Is AI-generated art "real" art? What do technologies like deepfakes and NLP-generated text, images, and music spell for the future of art and entertainment?

Betsy Pu '22

Sunday 11/08/20: INTERFACE scribble

Unwind from a stressful elections week with some technology-and-society themed pictionary.

Sunday 11/01/20: Russian Digital Disinformation

Twitter bots emphatically denying they are bots. Troll factories that advertise open positions on Facebook. Election-related allegations against Hunter Biden.
Recently, Russian digital disinformation is in the news again. Russia is not exactly the tech capital of the world, so why is it so good at online propaganda? Can this propaganda be effective? If so, when? I will address these questions with some Russian history, results of my own research, and the collective wisdom of political science.

Sergey Sanovich (CITP)

Sunday 10/18/20: Movie Hang

Come watch the spicy new documentary The Social Dilemma with us for a post-midterms break!

Sunday 10/04/20: The TikTok - WeChat Ban and National Security

The Trump administration tried to ban TikTok and WeChat. Judges blocked it, but there's more to the headlines. Is the Chinese government seriously threatening US national security through these apps? Does selling TikTok to a US company actually make a difference? What does this mean for global technology platforms? Join us for a rundown of everything that happened in this story and a discussion of what's to come.

Hien Pham '23

Sunday 9/27/20: Googling: A Historian's Approach

Googling. That convenient thing we do when we want to know something, quick. But this tool that we use with ease has changed human thought and behavior. A historian-by-training, I present to you not only what has happened but try to answer how and why. We explore theories and philosophies of the machine and of the human.

Allison Huang '21

Tuesday 9/15/20, 8:30pm ET: Social uwu

Play games and get to know us!

Sunday 9/13/20: Kickoff / Open House :3

A warm welcome to INTERFACE, accompanied by a mini-presentation on surveillance tools by Sabrina Reguyal '22

Tuesday 8/25/20: Health data sharing in the US: what we know (or, what the government doesn't) ಠ_ಠ

Health data has long been recognized as one of the most sensitive -- and thus best-protected -- categories of personal data. Recently, it's also become clear that the health industry is a lucrative new arena for technology companies, all of whom stand to benefit from access to protected health data in order to improve their processing or to train their models. You might hope that federal and state governments have oversight mechanisms in place to understand how and how frequently health data is shared with private companies. Boy do I have a (research-project-based, FOIA-enabled) story for you!

Maia Hamin '20

Tuesday 8/11/20: The Digital Divide

What factors lead to the divide in broadband access in the US? What are the issues in measuring this divide and creating policies to correct it? Join our discussion with Oliver Hsu '20 and David Major '20 whose theses studied the rural/urban broadband divide and ISP misreporting of coverage.

A Conversation w/ David Major '20, Oliver Hsu '19

Tuesday 7/28/20: Regulation vs Electronification in Finance

Over the past few decades, financial markets have transitioned from being a bunch of humans shouting at each other in exciting places like Manhattan to being a bunch of computers quietly calculating trades in unexciting places like New Jersey. But, like so many laws, the laws which govern financial markets are rarely updated, and lag behind the technology used. I'll explore the challenges faced by engineers in finance as innovation comes up against laws which were not written with modern technology in mind.

Andrew Wonnacott '19, Old Mission Capital

Tuesday 7/14/20: A Quick Visit to the Wireless World with Software Defined Radio

From satellites and commercial airplanes to restaurant pagers and proxes- they all rely on the same means of communication: radio frequencies. We will use Software Defined Radios to decipher these signals and investigate how private and secure they can be. What can we say about the integrity of our own data permeating through wireless space and is it possible to thwart eavesdropping?

Vinicius Wagner '21

Tuesday 6/30/20: Drugs & the Internet: From Counterculture to Modern Computing

What did "turn on, tune in, drop out", the Grateful Dead, and hippie communes have to do with the digital revolution? How was the development of modern computing shaped by the counterculture of the "psychedelic 60s"? How do other manifestations of counterculture continue to shape the internet?

Ahmed Farah '22, Betsy Pu '22

Tuesday 6/16/20: When Weapons are Speech

What is the state of the art of 3D printed firearms, and what is at stake Constitutionally? How will printed arms change the balance of power between centralization and decentralization?

Robert Liu '20

Tuesday 6/2/20: The Internet, Intelligence Agencies, and Neo-Fascism

Join us for a discussion on the new faces of fascism, what American and German intelligence agencies are not doing about them, and the related issues of racism in police forces and the justification for mass surveillance.

Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 5/18/20: End-of-Year Celebration

Reflections on how much we've grown! Summer planning! Special graduation ceremony for the seniors <3

Your loving non-seniors

Monday 5/11/20: Dean's Date Eve

Chill hang & Gear design

Monday 5/4/20: A Deep Dive Into the Deep Web

The "Deep Web" is the mysterious underbelly of the Internet - but how true are all the stories?

Sandun Bambarandage '20, Maia Hamin '20

Monday 4/27/20: Data Collection & Processing in Consumer IoT Devices

What sort of data does your wearables and smart home devices gather? What can observers infer from this data, and what happens after it leaves your device?

Hien Pham '23

Monday 4/20/20: Digital Rights in the Pandemic Age

What technologies are countries using to confront the coronavirus crisis? How should governments and citizens navigate the tradeoffs between public health and individual privacy?

Maia Hamin '20 & Betsy Pu '22

Monday 4/13/20: AR, VR, & Brain-Machine Interfaces

What are brain-machine interfaces? How are they related to AR/VR? Why should we connect ourselves to computers and what are the ethical implications of doing so?

Theodor Marcu '20

Monday 4/6/20: Cyber War

Individual cyber criminals steal credit card information. State-sponsored hackers destroy nuclear plants. Join us as we discuss the known cyber capabilities of nations, and what a full-scale cyber war between governments would look like.

Sandun Bambarandage '20

Monday 3/30/20: Industry's Influence on Academia

How do tech companies influence academic research, education, and student culture? How does this manifest at Princeton?

Prof. Jennifer Rexford

Monday 3/23/20: Software Ownership & Control

Should companies own fan-made modifications of their software? Should Google allow adblockers in Chrome? Should we all just go open source?

Alec Leng '21

Monday 3/9/20: Education and Technology

As technology infiltrates classrooms, who’s really benefiting? Do kindergartners learn better on iPads? Is social media presence a useful metric for school admissions? What student data is being collected and sold under our noses?

Ross Teixeira, CITP Doctoral Student

Monday 3/2/20: Visions of the Future

Will facial recognition create a surveillance dystopia? How soon will we have to bow to our new AI overlords? Is it even possible to answer these questions? Come join us for a conversation on how today's emerging technologies could affect our lives in the years to come (with a little help from science fiction!).

Sandun Bambarandage '20

Monday 2/24/20: The Ethics of Countering Disinformation

Warning messages can help counter disinformation online, but should we use them? How should we weigh the risks of censorship, false positives, and backfire effects? Facing these risks, what is the right approach for policymaking?

Ben Kaiser, CITP Doctoral Student

Monday 2/17/20: Issues in Facial Recognition & Surveillance

What are the moral, ethical, and legal implications of applying facial recognition to body cameras and surveillance cameras? (How) should we regulate facial recognition technology in the public and private sphere? How does facial recognition change the nature of protest?

Ayushi Sinha '20

Monday 2/10/20: Amazon & Anti-Competitive Practice

Is Amazon engaging in anti-competitive behavior? How can/should regulators respond?

Maia Hamin '20, Sabrina Reguyal '22

Monday 2/3/20: Labor Battles in Big Tech

What are tech workers organizing for? How are companies striking back?

Robert Liu '20