The Promise and Ethical Challenges of Using AI for Gun Violence Prevention


Gun violence continues to be a serious public health problem in the United States. Recent research indicates that firearm violence is exacerbated by social media usage and the formation of the “digital street.” Violence prevention and intervention strategies, however, typically exclude social media as a risk factor, and there are few tools available to violence prevention organizations to help them prevent violence based on social media content and engagement. Professor Desmond Upton Patton will address this critical gap, present findings from his research on this subject, and discuss the promise and challenges of using AI in the process.

Dr. Patton is the Senior Associate Dean for Innovation and Academic Affairs, founding director of the SAFE Lab, and co-director of the Justice, Equity and Technology lab at Columbia School of Social Work. He helps organizations develop a better approach to diversity and inclusion through keynote presentations and interactive workshops. Dr. Patton's research on the relationship between social media and gang violence has led to his becoming the most cited and recognized scholar in this increasingly important area of social science. He is also a member of Twitter's Academic Research advisory board and has recently published research at SAFE Lab, MIT Press, the AIES '20 proceedings, and Nature.

Dr. Patton will be joined by Dr. Sherica Jones-lewis, Director of Community Research at The Equity Center at UVA. Dr. Jones-lewis previously worked in Albemarle County's public schools in Virginia, later obtaining her Ph.D. in Education from Liberty University. Her research interests include mathematics education, culturally responsive teaching and learning the impact of arts education, and the sharing of institutional power. The webinar will be hosted by Dr. Caitlin Wylie, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Registration is required. 

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This webinar is brought to you in partnership with UVA's School of Data Science.

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