Wendy Chun

Nobel Conference 57

Wendy Chun

How do we reduce the spread of misinformation and disinformation? What makes any piece of info true? Fact checking alone is inadequate to such a task. Wendy Chun is working with a deeply multidisciplinary team of researchers that includes everyone from data analysts to dramaturgs, to develop a model that can answer that question, developing new ways to displace fake news. The project, called “Beyond Verification,” is part of the Digital Democracies Institute.

The Institute integrates research in the humanities and data sciences to address questions of equality and social justice. It seeks to combat the current proliferation of online “echo chambers” and discriminatory algorithms by creating alternative data literacies and paradigms for connection. 

Chun is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Discriminating Data: Correlation, Neighborhoods and the New Politics of Recognition, which investigates the centrality of race, gender, class and sexuality to machine learning and network analytics. To desegregate networks, open the “echo chambers” and buttress social justice, Chun argues, we must develop alternative algorithms and interdisciplinary coalitions.

Wendy Chun is the Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, where she leads the Digital Democracies Institute. The recipient of Guggenheim, ACLS and American Academy of Berlin fellowships, she is a multidisciplinary researcher, with an undergraduate degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD in English literature from Princeton.