We meet weekly during the semester 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?
During the summer, we meet biweekly at 8:30pm ET on Sundays. Fill out the interest form to receive topics and links!
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.
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 Warfare
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