What We're Talking About When We Talk About Rural AI

Justin Hendrix / May 12, 2024

Audio of this conversation is available via your favorite podcast service.

Last October, Dr. Jasmine McNealy, as an associate professor at the University of Florida, a Senior Fellow in Tech Policy with the Mozilla Foundation, and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, wrote in Tech Policy Press about the need for a policy agenda for "Rural AI." “Rural communities matter,” she wrote. “And that means they should matter when it comes to the development of policies on artificial intelligence.”

The piece was a preview of sorts to a two-day workshop Dr. McNealy organized at the University of Florida in Gainesville that touched on topics ranging from connectivity to bias and discrimination in algorithmic systems to the connection between AI and natural resources. I was lucky to get to attend, and last week, I checked in with Dr. McNealy and three of the other participants I met there:

  • Michaela Henley, program director and curriculum writer at Black Tech Futures and a senior research fellow representing Black Tech Futures at the Siegel Family Endowment;
  • Dr. Dominique Harrison, founding principal of Equity Innovation Ventures; and
  • Dr. Theodora Dryer, who is director of the Water Justice and Technology Studio, founder of the Critical Carbon Computing Collective, and teaches on technology and environmental justice at New York University.

A transcript of the discussion is forthcoming.


Justin Hendrix
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & ...