Professor Renée Cummings is an artificial intelligence (AI), data and tech ethicist, and the first data activist-in-residence at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) School of Data Science where she was named professor of Practice in Data Science. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and a distinguished member of the World Economic Forum’s Data Equity Council. She is also a criminologist, criminal psychologist, therapeutic jurisprudence specialist, and a community scholar at Columbia University. She also serves as co-director of the Public Interest Technology (PIT) University Network, at UVA, and is on the board of advisors of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
Committed to stretching the imagination of data science, reimagining the relationship between data and society, and redefining the data power structure, Renée works at the intersection of technology, power, and society. She examines the ethical implications of data on society, exploring the impact of AI on duty of care and due process, expanding our understanding of the ethical risks of AI and how to build ethically resilient, rewarding, responsible, sustainable, justice-oriented, and trauma-informed AI for the benefit of all.
At the School of Data Science, her research focuses on data justice, data trauma, algorithmic policing, surveillance technology, and AI for criminal justice reform; using data to enhance police accountability and transparency and improve police practices, fairness, and decision-making accuracy through community engagement and public interest technology. Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are critical aspects of her work as she promotes inclusive innovation and ethical AI.
Her work extends to include data, democracy, representation, identity, and governance, critically examining data rights, algorithmic justice, social justice, and design justice through a criminal justice lens. Renée also specializes in AI leadership, AI policy development, AI governance, public sector AI, AI risk management, AI crisis communication, building ethical AI and using AI to save lives. Renée is committed to using AI to empower and transform, helping governments and organizations navigate the AI landscape and develop future AI leaders.
Committed to justice, equality, empowerment, and democracy, Renée is a champion for the voices of the historically underrepresented in STEM and technological advancement and increases the visibility and amplifies the voices of vulnerable communities in AI and new and emerging technologies, forcing us to stretch the ethical imagination of AI. Through her activism and research, Renée is creating space for people without power to participate meaningfully in the process of designing, developing, deploying, and adopting AI.
Through rigorous thinking, meaningful participation, and scholarship, Renée advocates for AI we can trust. Renée is on the frontline of ethical AI, generating real time justice-oriented solutions to the consequences of AI and the impacts of data and technology on society. A thought-leader, motivational speaker, and mentor, Renée has given a multitude of talks to conferences, groups, and policymakers, and is a recognized expert who lectures, nationally and internationally on ethical data science and ethical AI. Renée has mastered the art of creative storytelling, science communication and deconstructing complex topics into critical everyday conversations that inform and inspire.