Disrupting Big Tech: Independent, Community-Rooted AI Research focused on Africa & the African diaspora

May 4th, 2022 - 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT

Online event

The Center for African Studies (CAS) is excited to host Timnit Gebru for this year’s annual lecture. In this talk, Gebru will discuss why she founded The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR) and what she hopes this interdisciplinary, community-based, global network of AI researchers can accomplish. DAIR was launched in December 2021 by Timnit Gebru as a space for independent, community-rooted AI research, free from Big Tech’s pervasive influence. Gebru believes that the harms embedded in AI technology are preventable and that when its production and deployment include diverse perspectives and deliberate processes, it can be put to work for people, rather than against them. With DAIR, Gebru aims to create an environment that is independent from the structures and systems that incentivize profit over ethics and individual well-being.

This event is open to Stanford affiliates. Registration is required.

The CAS Annual Lecture is co-sponsored by The Stanford Humanities Center, The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, The Stanford Institute for Human Artificial Intelligence, Stanford Seed, H&S Dean’s Office, Management Science & Engineering, Digital Civil Society Lab, Department of Computer Science, Science Technology and Society, the Producing Knowledge in and of Africa Workshop.


  • Timnit Gebru - Timnit Gebru is the founder and executive director of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR). Prior to that she was fired by Google in December 2020 for raising issues of discrimination in the workplace, where she was serving as co-lead of the Ethical AI research team. She received her PhD from Stanford University, and did a postdoc at Microsoft Research, New York City in the FATE (Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in AI) group, where she studied algorithmic bias and the ethical implications underlying projects aiming to gain insights from data. Timnit also co-founded Black in AI, a nonprofit that works to increase the presence, inclusion, visibility and health of Black people in the field of AI, and is on the board of AddisCoder, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching algorithms and computer programming to Ethiopian high school students, free of charge.