Damien Patrick Williams
EMAIL: Damien [Dot] Williams7 [AT] gmail.com
I have extensive experience in the fields of philosophy, technology, religious studies, journalism, and I am skilled in the use of a variety of pedagogical techniques in the service of public relations, education, and event planning. My first round of graduate training specialized in the intersection of philosophy and the comparative study of religion, with a focus on occult theory and method. My second graduate career has focuses on how technologies such as algorithms, machine intelligence, and biotechnological interventions are impacted by the values, knowledge systems, philosophical explorations, social structures, and even religious beliefs of human beings. My expertise in considering how all of these fields intersect has led to my serving on the boards of non-profit organizations, consulting for think tanks, being interviewed for multiple podcasts and popular publications, and being invited to speak at several international conferences. I am always seeking challenging environments where I will best be able to utilize and expand upon the many skills I have gained my academic and alt-ac careers.
—PhD in Science, Technology, and Society; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 2022.
—MSc in Science, Technology, and Society; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 2018.
—MA in Philosophy and Religious Studies; Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008.
—BA in Philosophy; Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. 2005.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA CHARLOTTE, DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY, SCHOOL OF DATA SCIENCE; ASSISTANT PROFESSOR; AUGUST 2022—PRESENT
PHIL 5050 (Cross-listed as PHIL 4990; DSBA 6010; ITCS 4010; ITCS 5010; ITIS 4010; ITIS 6010) Disability, Technology, & Artificial Intelligence: An interdisciplinary course crafted to be interesting and accessible to any student— whether in computer science, engineering, or liberal arts and human sciences, and regardless of their graduate career stage— who seeks to learn more about algorithms, “AI,” and other technologies, and their implications for society. Students were primarily assessed on class participation and leading at least one reading discussion, in person or online, allowing students who do not want to speak in front of others, for whatever reason, to nevertheless have opportunities to refine their understanding of the material by preparing to teach it to others. Each student also created at least one major project, to the parameters of their choice, as approved by me.
PHIL 3920 (Crosslisted as HHUM 3020 & DTSC 3000) Philosophy of Technology and Disability: Helped students to understand the many varied ways we construct, define, and understand technology, as individuals, as cultures, and in relation to and enmeshed with nature. Provided students with a thorough overview of many of the themes and concepts from philosophy of technology, disability studies, and disability justice, and science and technology studies. Investigated themes such as hybridity, cyborgs, nature, bodies, and the relationship between sciences and technologies, particularly in assessing contemporary technologies such as AI and algorthmic systems and examples within philosophical frameworks. Students were assessed on class participation, either in person or online, and a Choose Your Own Adventure assignment model consisting of multiple options which can be tailored to the students’ interests and needs.
LBST 2213: Science, Technology, and Society: Provided students with the tools to explore and understand the developments of computing technology across many different cultures, while also working through their own perspectives on the topic as students of various disciplines, all structured around a series of readings, lectures, online and in-person discussions fueled by question-and-answer assignments, and various other innovative assignments to help students engage with the material.
VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY; DOCTORAL STUDENT; AUGUST 2017—2022
STS 3284: TECHNOLOGY AND DISABILITY: Introduced students to the material cultures surrounding disability, the social meaning of “health” technologies, and the lived experiences of those who deploy, resist, and wrestle with technologies aimed at their bodies and minds. Helping undergraduate students identify landmarks in the history of technologies for disabilities; understand the social and medical models of disability and how those play into technological design; recognize and critique common narratives and assumptions about technology and disability; discuss contemporary issues and controversies about technologies for disability communities; identifying, lifting up, and defending the voices of disabled people in the context of policy and engineering; recognizing ableism in social narratives about technology and disability.
TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF DATA IN SOCIAL CONTEXT: HISTORY OF COMPUTING (ONLINE): Provided students with the tools to explore and understand the developments of computing technology while also working through their own perspectives on the topic as students of various disciplines, all structured around a series of readings, online lectures, online discussions fueled by question-and-answer assignments, and various other assignments to help students engage with the material.
ENGINEERING CULTURES (ONLINE): Provided instruction and evaluation to students in an online and distance learning environment, in order to help students explore questions about the ways in which the conceptual notions of a engineering are constructed in different societies and time periods, around the world. Using thinkers and writers in the disciplines of STS and Engineering Education, we explored what it means to be an engineer in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Koreas, and the United States, highlighting key differences and thematic resonances throughout.
INTRO TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES (SUPPLEMENTAL TA RECITATIONS): Provided once-weekly instruction to two sections of a six-section course via lecture, supplementing the larger group discussions, guiding question-formation exercises, and evaluation of homework and exams. Engaging the leaders in the field of STS over the past century, we explored contemporary issues and literature to gain a greater understanding of the ways in which science, technology, and society intertwine.
SRI INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND CONSCIOUSNESS WORKSHOP SERIES SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE ASSOCIATE, SUMMER 2017
DUTIES: Took 405 pages/160,656 words worth of notes and co-moderated eight weeks of panel discussions between attendees on topics of philosophy, technology, science, engineering, religious studies, and more. Compiled notes into appendices and summaries for interim reports and weekly introductions. Presented three high-level talks on the intersections of philosophy, technology, artificial intelligence, Daoism, sociology, religious studies, and public policy.
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR, JANUARY 2012-2017; FULL-TIME INSTRUCTOR AUGUST 2015—MAY 2016
VALUES AND SOCIETY: Provided instruction and evaluation to help students come to explore and question the idea of justice as a foundational social value. Engaged discussions of John Rawls’ theory of justice as fairness; the ancient Greeks roots the concept of Justice; the libertarian positions of Robert Nozick; the feminist response of Susan Moller Okin; the intricacies of Confucian Ethics; and many others. Considered other fundamental social values such as equality, liberty, charity, community, harmony, and compassion, as well as engaging the questions of rights in the context of human augmentation, artificial intelligence, workplace automation, and robotics.
WAYS OF KNOWING: Provided instruction designed to bring students to a place where they could demonstrate a basic understanding of the major figures, themes, and movements from the history of philosophy; compare and contrast different examples both Western and non-Western philosophical schools and their cultural and historical contexts; identify and employ philosophical language, analysis, and argumentation via dialogue and expository compositions; critically examine their own social, cultural, and historical situations and their global cultural effects; research, critically formulate, and present evaluative appraisals of contemporary social and ethical issues; and be ethically sensitive to the role of cultural, social, and political diversity in human thought and action by exploring with and responding to others in open dialogue about human diversity.
WORLD RELIGIONS: Introduced students to the world’s major religions traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Examined each tradition’s historical origins, sacred texts, and cultural expressions. Considered such topics as cosmology, gods and goddess, myth and ritual, human nature, ethics, mysticism, death and the afterlife, and salvation. Considered the rise of “new religious movements” and the methodological problems involved in the study of “other” or “exotic” religions.
OGLETHORPE UNIVERSITY, ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR, JUNE 2012-DECEMBER 2013
INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: Introduced students to a conceptual and historical overview of Western Philosophical traditions, from the ancient Greeks to the Contemporary. Evening degree, summer session format.
PHILOSOPHY 101- WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY: Introduced students to the practices and general themes of philosophical argumentation and an overview of the discipline, as a whole. Evening Degree Program Spring Semester Format.
GEORGIA PERIMETER COLLEGE FEBRUARY 2012- JUNE 2012
CRITICAL THINKING: Taught introductory philosophy to undergraduates, covering basic logic, logical fallacies, and scientific causation. Developed test materials, study guides, and held regular office hours in the service of supplemental instruction. One Semester, One Class (Spring 2012, Georgia Perimeter College)
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, GRADUATE TEACHER AND RESEARCH ASSISTANT, 2005-2008
CRITICAL THINKING: Taught introductory philosophy to undergraduates, covering basic logic, logical fallacies, and moral reasoning. Provided test materials, study guides, and held regular office hours in the service of supplemental instruction. Three Semesters, Five Classes (Summer 2006-Spring 2007, Georgia State University)
HORIZONS SCHOOL ATLANTA, STUDENT TEACHER, 1999-2000
CURRENT EVENTS/ENGLISH TUTORING/CRITICAL THINKING: As a senior in high school, provided assistance to classes of 5th,6th,and 7th grade students in reading and writing—both creative and non-fiction—as well as introducing them to the principles of critical thinking and philosophy.
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Science and Technology Studies; Philosophy of Technology; AI Ethics and Epistemology; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy of Mind; Machine Ethics; Theory and Method in the Academic Study of Religion; Disability Studies
AREAS OF COMPETENCY
Race and Gender Studies; History of Technology; Philosophy of Science; Meta-ethics; Metaphysics
ABSTRACT: Contemporary research into the values, bias, and prejudices within “Artificial Intelligence” tends to operate in a crux of scholarship in computer science and engineering, sociology, philosophy, and science and technology studies (STS). Even so, getting the STEM fields to recognize and accept the importance of certain kinds of knowledge— the social, experiential kinds of knowledge— remains an ongoing struggle. Similarly, religious scholarship is still very often missing from these conversations because many in the STEM fields and the general public feel that religion and technoscientific investigations are and should be separate fields of inquiry. Here I demonstrate that experiential knowledge and religious, even occult beliefs are always already embedded within and crucial to understanding the sociotechnical imaginaries animating many technologies, particularly in the areas of “AI.” In fact, it is precisely the unwillingness of many to confront these facts which allow for both the problems of prejudice embedded in algorithmic systems, and for the hype-laden marketing of the corporations and agencies developing them. This same hype then intentionally obfuscates the actions of both the systems and the people who create them, while confounding and oppressing those most often made subject to them. Further, I highlight a crucial continuity between bigotry and systemic social projects (eugenics, transhumanism, and “supercrip” narratives), revealing their foundation in white supremacist colonialist myths of whose and which kinds of lives count as “truly human.” We will examine how these myths become embedded into the religious practices, technologies, and social frameworks in and out of which “AI” and algorithms are developed, employing a composite theoretical lens made from tools such as intersectionality, ritual theory, intersubjectivity, daemonology, postphenomenology, standpoint epistemology, and more. This theoretical apparatus recontextualizes our understanding of how mythologies and rituals of professionalization, disciplinarity, and dominant epistemological hierarchies animate concepts such as knowledge formation, expertise, and even what counts as knowledge. This recontextualization is then deployed to suggest remedies for research, public policy, and general paths forward in “AI.” By engaging in both the magico-religious valences and the lived experiential expertise of marginalized people, these systems can be better understood, and their harms anticipated and curtailed.
MASTER OF ARTS THESIS
ABSTRACT: The concept of magic is most often considered as a foil by scholars in the fields of philosophy and religious studies, or it is discussed as part of the investigation of “primitive” systems of belief and ritual. In this essay, magic is investigated as a system of inquiry and explanation unto itself, connected to but distinct from both philosophy and religious studies, and an argument is presented for understanding systems of magic as both natural and rational outgrowths of a particular perspective on reality.
— “Disabling ‘AI’: Biases and Values Embedded in ‘Artificial Intelligence,’” appearing in Handbook on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, David J. Gunkel, ed. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. (Forthcoming 2024)
— “Any Sufficiently Transparent Magic…” appearing in the journal American Religion, special issue on Religion and Algorithms, Jacob A. Boss, et al., eds. (Forthcoming 2023)
— “Zoom Became a Part of Daily Life. It Needs to Tell Users Exactly How It’s Using Their Data.” WIRED. August 10, 2023.
— “Bias Optimizers.” American Scientist. July—August, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1511/2023.111.4.204.
— Belief, Values, Bias, and Agency: Development of and Entanglement with “Artificial Intelligence.” PhD Dissertation, Virginia Tech, 2022. https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/111528.
— “Foreword,” appearing in Digital Futures in Mind: Reflecting on Technological Experiments in Mental Health & Crisis Support, by Jonah Bossewitch, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Piers Gooding, Leah Harris, James Horton, Simon Katterl, Keris Myrick, Kelechi Ubozoh and Alberto Vasquez. August 2022. https://automatingmentalhealth.cc/digital-futures-in-mind-report.
— “How Heeding Disabled People Can Help Everyone Survive Crises.” Slate: Future Tense. Jan 29, 2022.
— “McIlwain, Charlton. (2019) Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter. New York: Oxford University Press. Hardcover: $24.95.” SPECTRA 8, no. 2 (2021): pp. 45–49. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21061/
— “Science Fiction Frames: The Expanse (2015—).” Imaginary Papers, Issue 7. Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. https://mailchi.mp/asu.edu/imaginary-papers-issue-7-july-2021.
— “Constructing Situated and Social Knowledge: Ethical, Sociological, and Phenomenological Factors in Technological Design,” appearing in Engineering and Philosophy: Reimagining Technology and Social Progress, edited by Guru Madhavan, Zachary Pirtle, and David Tomblin; published by Springer. May,17, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-70099-7_7.
— “Fitting the Description: Historical and Sociotechnical Elements of Facial Recognition and Anti-Black Surveillance,” appearing in The Journal of Responsible Innovation, edited by Shannon N. Conley, Erik Fisher, and Emily York; published by Taylor and Francis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2020.1831365.
— “Daoism, Buddhism, and Machine Consciousness,” appearing in The Fenris Wolf, volume 10, published by Trapart.
— “Technology and Consciousness Workshops (2017): An Introductory Overview.” Williams, Damien Patrick and Murray, John; Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness Vol. 07, No. 01, pp. 133-140 (2020) [preprint]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1142/S2705078520710010.
— “How I Found Myself at Three A.M.,” appearing in Better Than IRL, edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliott, published by Fiction & Feeling, UK
— “Better Than This,” appearing in Rendering Unconscious, published by Trapart
— “Heavenly Bodies: Why It Matters That Cyborgs Have Always Been About Disability, Mental Health, and Marginalization” (June 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3401342. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3401342
— “Consciousness and Conscious Machines: What’s At Stake?” appearing in Papers of the 2019 Towards Conscious AI Systems Symposium, co-located with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 2019 Spring Symposium Series (AAAI SSS-19), Stanford, CA, March 25-27, 2019. Edited by Antonio Chella, David Gamez, Patrick Lincoln, Riccardo Manzotti, Jonathan Pfautz.
— “Cultivating Technomoral Interrelations: A Review of Shannon Vallor’s Technology and the Virtues,” appearing in the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7, no. 2 (2018): 64-69.
— “Deleting the Human Clause: A Review of Ashley Shew’s Animal Constructions and Technological Knowledge,” appearing in the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7, no. 2 (2018): 42-44.
— “Is the Technofix in? Research on the Ecological Impact of Solar Power.” Research on the Ecological Impact of Solar Power (December 12, 2017) (2017). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3267597.
— “Stealing The Light to Write By,” appearing in Spirits of Place; John Reppion, editor; Daily Grail Publishing, Brisbane, Australia; 2016
— “Go Upgrade Yourself,” appearing in Futurama And Philosophy; Courtland D. Lewis and Shaun P. Young, editors; Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, IL, USA; 2013
— “The Metaphysical Cyborg” appearing in the proceedings of VRIC ’13, the Virtual Reality International Conference: Laval Virtual; Article No. 29; ACM New York, NY, USA ©2013. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2466816.2466847.
— “Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point: The Implications of Autonomous Created Intelligence in Speculative Fiction Media“ appearing in Proceedings of THE MACHINE QUESTION: AI, ETHICS AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, edited by David J. Gunkel, Joanna J. Bryson, and Steve Torrance, 97—104. Published by The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour, 2012
— “Breathing” appearing in The Immanence of Myth, James Curcio editor; Weaponized Publishers, UK; 2011
PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS
— Invited Presenter on the panel “Time to Dis-Orient.” Co-Presented with Ashley Shew, Elizabeth McLain, and Keresh Afsari. Presentation to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). August 15, 2023.
— Invited Presenter on the panel “Is It Safe to Wear Our Intersectionality on Our Sleeves?” with Dr. Erin Basinger, Dr. Sonyia Richardson, and Dr. Deb Thomas; Moderator: Dr. Brandon Wolfe; presented to the UNCC Division of Research; hosted by the UNCC Division of Research Diversity Committee. March 23, 2023.
— Invited Panelist on the panel discussion “The Many Faces of Bias – Ensuring Fair and Equitable AI;“ with Rumman Chowdhury and Kate Darling; Moderator: Tracy Daniels; at the 2023 Analytics Frontiers Conference at the Univesity of North Carolina at Charlotte. March 9, 2023.
— Invited Lighting Talk Participant on behalf of the Department of Philosophy and the School of Data Science, for the “Introducing the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to Provost Bertone” event; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; February 10, 2023.
— Contributor to the project “STS Tarot Decks: A Hands-On Approach To Critically Imagining The Future;” in the session “Making & Doing Central Exhibition I;” with Shannon N. Conley, Elizabeth A. Reddy, Brad Tabas, Brenda Trinidad, and Toluwalogo Odumosu; at the 2022 joint conference of the Society for the Social Studies of Science/Asociación Latinoamericanos de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología in Cholula, Mexico. December 7, 2022.
— “Mechanisms of Becoming: A Discussion of the Magico-Religious Valences of Machine Intelligence and Technology;” on the panel “AI, Cyborgs, Robots and Religion II;” at the 2022 joint conference of the Society for the Social Studies of Science/Asociación Latinoamericanos de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología in Cholula, Mexico. December 7, 2022.
— Discussant on the panel “AI, Cyborgs, Robots and Religion I;” at the 2022 joint conference of the Society for the Social Studies of Science/Asociación Latinoamericanos de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología in Cholula, Mexico. December 7, 2022.
— “Using Artificial Intelligence in Hiring and Recruiting: The Future is Here;” at the American Bar Association’s 16th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference; with Toni Michelle Jackson, Sania W. Khan, George L. Washington, and Christine Webber. November 11, 2022.
— “Disability in Space;” at The Space Education & Strategic Applications 2022 Conference — 50 Years from the Moon: The Future of Commercial, Government, and Military Space Exploration; with Jarah Moesch, AJ Link, and Lauryn Lee Hallet; Panel Chair: Erika Nesvold. September 23, 2022.
— “Systems For, Systems Against: How Data-driven Decisions Go Wrong for Disabled People,” with Tina Smith Nelson (Legal Counsel for the Elderly), Emily Paul (Upturn), Lydia X. Z. Brown (Center for Democracy & Technology), & moderated by Nasser Eledroos (Northeastern University School of Law); co-hosted by the Center for Democracy & Technology, and the Northeastern University School of Law’s Center for Health Policy and Law and Center for Law, Information, and Creativity. January 28, 2022.
— Guest Lecture on “Disabling AI: Why Tech Research Needs Marginalized Perspectives,” for Savannah Mandel, STS/HIST/SOC 2604: Intro to Data in a Social Context, at Virginia Tech. November 11, 2021
— “I’m Not Afraid of Robot Overlords— I’m Afraid of Whoever’s Training Them To Behave That Way,” at Queer In AI‘s Evening Social Fireside Chat, at the 2021 Conference on Robotic Learning. November 9, 2021.
— “Cooking with STS: Lived Experience as Ingredients“ with Matthew Harsh, Nicole Mogul, David Tomblin, Andrew Webb, and Hong-An Wu, July 14, 2021, as part of the “STS Critical Pedagogies Workshop,” organized by Shannon N. Conley and Emily York, held June 16 to July 14, 2021.
— “Disability Justice & Crip Technoscience: AI & The Future of Technology,” with Crystal Lee; moderated by Lydia X. Z. Brown; hosted by the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. April 23, 2021
— “Privilege Bias in Algorithms” hosted by the St. Andrews Social Anthropology Society. April 16 2021
— “History of Science: Looking Back at the Voices Missing,” at STGlobal 2021; with Dr. Audra Wolfe; moderated by Dr. David Zierler. April 16, 2021
— “Cognitive Science and The Good Place” CogFest 2021 Film & Television Event, with Dr. Pamela Hieronymi, Dr. Richard Samuels, and Dr. Robin Zebrowski; moderated by Dr Andrew Leber; hosted by the Center for Cognitive & Brain Sciences at Ohio State. April 8 2021
— Guest Lecture on “Data Feminism and Constructing Situated Knowledges,” for Dr. Christine Labuski, STS 4704: Gender and Science, at Virginia Tech. March 15, 2021.
— Guest Lecture on “The Philosophy and Religion of The Expanse,” for Dr. Nicholas Evans, PHIL 2010: Introduction to Philosophy, at UMass Lowell. March 11, 2021.
— Guest Lecture on “Cyborgs, Marginalization, and Space,” for Alice Fox, STS 2054: Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society, at Virginia Tech. March 10, 2021.
— “Why AI Research Needs Disabled and Marginalized Perspectives.” R. L. Rabb Science and Society Symposium on Embedding AI in Society, hosted by NC State. February, 2021.
— “Do Black Lives Matter To Technology? On the Medicalization, Datafication, and Surveillant Subjectification of Blackness.“ Hosted by Sonoma State University’s Center for Ethics, Law, & Society; October 19, 2020
— The O’Neill Institute Colloquium on National and Global Health Law, session on Trust and Privacy: Technology and Tracing Contacts; with Glenn Cohen and Paul Ohm, moderated by Sean Bland; organized by Jeffrey S. Crowley, Larry Gostin, and Sarah Wetter; hosted by Georgetown University Law School; September 30, 2020
— “Screening Social Justice Roundtable,” with Aceland Kent, Buffy Ruffin, Kyshawn Smith, and Justine Jackson Stone; moderated by Michael J. Meindl; hosted by the Radford University School of Communication Screen Studies Roundtable Series; September 22, 2020
— “Disabling AI: Examining Algorithms and Machine Consciousness From Marginalized and Abolitionist Perspectives (2);” in the “Creative Explorations in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems” session, at the 2020 European Science Open Forum; with Antonio Chella and Arianna Pipitone, Robin Zebrowski, Eric Gressier Soudan and Micheline Lelievre, and John Sullins III; organized by Antonio Chella and John Murray; September 5, 2020
— “Disabling AI: Examining Algorithms and Machine Consciousness From Marginalized and Abolitionist Perspectives;” at the Technology & Consciousness Special Virtual Meeting: “Creative Explorations in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems;” with Antonio Chella and Arianna Pipitone, Robin Zebrowski, and Eric Gressier Soudan and Micheline Lelievre; organized by Antonio Chella and John Murray; August 4, 2020
— “Fitting the Description: Sociotechnical Elements of Identification and Surveillance in Anti-Black Policing;” at the Technology and Anti-Black Surveillance: A rapid-response teach-in Webinar hosted by The Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech; with Jack Leff, Ariel Ludwig, and Fabian Prieto-Nañez; organized by Daniel Breslau, Saul Halfon, Kian Lua, and Damien Patrick Williams; June 17, 2020
— Training and Development Workshop on The History of Computing; at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; organized by Tom Ewing; June 2020
— Workshop on Strategic Advocacy on Disability Rights and AI in Benefits Determinations at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law and Policy; organized by Lydia X.Z. Brown and Alexandra Reeve Givens; January 2020
— “SFF and STS: Teaching Science, Technology, and Society via Pop Culture,” at the Society for the Social Studies of Science 2019 Conference in New Orleans; Session: STS as Critical Pedagogy: Experiments in Undergraduate Teaching and Learning – Part I, with Marissa R. Brandt and Shelby Dietz; organized by Marissa R. Brandt, Shannon Conley, and Emily York; September 2019
— “The Comics Form;” with Matthew J. Brown; 2019 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2019
— “Critical Studies of Diversity & Representation in SF;” with Jillian Marie Browning, Johnathan Flowers, and Vickie Willis Navarra; 2019 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2019
— “Alien Religions in Military Sci-Fi;” Dragon Con 2019, Military SciFi Track; August 2019
— “Challenging Gender & Disability Representation in Star Trek;” with Johnathan Flowers, Lia Lilley, and Amy Manlapas; 2019 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; August 2019
— 2019 Automated Vehicles Symposium, organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Transportation Research Board; Breakout Session 04— Ethical Algorithms for Autonomous Vehicles, Part 1, organized by Nicholas G. Evans (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Pamela Robinson (University of Massachusetts Lowell/Australian National University); Panel: Ethical Algorithms for Autonomous Vehicles; Panelists: Sarah Thornton (Built Robotics), Damien Williams (Virginia Tech), and Duncan Purves (University of Florida), July 2019
— ‘“Any Sufficiently Advanced Neglect is Indistinguishable from Malice”: Assumptions and Bias in Algorithmic Systems;’ at the 21st Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology; with Clinton Castro and Gordon Hull; May 2019
— “AI in Scif-Fi;” with Kanta Dihal, Andrew Hudson, Lee Konstantinou, and Chris Noessel; at “What Sci-Fi Futures Can (and Can’t) Teach Us About AI Policy;” hosted by New America’s Open Tech Institute in conjunction with Future Tense; May 2019
— “Extended Selves: Implications of VR and AR on how We Understand Ourselves and Each Other” at the 2019 Gender, Bodies, and Technology Conference; April 2019
— “Heavenly Bodies: Why Cyborgs Were Always About Disability and Mental Health;” at the 2019 Gender, Bodies, and Technology Conference; April 2019
— Lunchtime Talk on “The Social Construction of Knowledge, Technology, and Engineering;” at Olin College of Engineering; Invited by Dr. Deb Chachra; April 2, 2019
— “Design Bias in AI & Algorithms;” at The Movement Lab ATL’s Spring 2019 Tech Talks Series; March 2019
— “Consciousness and Conscious Machines: What’s At Stake?;” at the 2019 AAAI Spring Symposium on Towards Conscious AI Systems; March 2019
— “SFF and Philosophy of Mind: Teaching Mind and Mindedness via Fictional Nonhuman Intelligences;” at the Northeast Modern Language Association 50th Anniversary Convention in 2019; Topic Session: Speculative Fiction, Pedagogy, and Social Change; March 2019
— “Constructing Situated and Social Knowledges; Ethical, Sociological, and Phenomenological Factors in Technological Design (Expanded);” at the 2018 Southeastern Ethics and Philosophy of Technology workshop; September 2018
— “Supernatural & Religious Elements in Military Sci-Fi;” Dragon Con 2018, Military SciFi Track; September 2018
— “Do Mecha Dream of Electric Sheep?” with Johnathan Flowers; 2018 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2018
— “The Struggle Over Mars: Speculating on the Colonial Future of the Milky Way in Syfy’s The Expanse” with Johnathan Flowers and Daniel Amrhein; 2018 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2018
— “Faith in Science Fiction;” Dragon Con 2018, SciFiLit Track; September 2018
— Invited Participant at the Decolonizing Mars Unconference; organized by Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair of Astrobiology at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress; June 2018
— “Values and Interdisciplinarity in Technological Design;” Invited presentation and discussion at the Human Futures and Intelligent Machines Summit, hosted by Dr. Sylvester Johnson at Virginia Tech’s Center for Humanities; June 2018
— “Constructing Situated and Social Knowledge: Ethical, Sociological, and Phenomenological Factors in Technological Design;” at the 2018 Forum on Philosophy, Engineering and Technology; June 2018
— Training and Development Workshop on Data in Social Contexts; at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; organized by Tom Ewing and Dale Winling; May—June 2018
— Invited Panel | “Bot Phenomenology: What it means to exist with technology, and what it means to exist as technology;” with Johnathan Flowers, Emma Stamm, and Robin Zebrowski; Theorizing the Web 2018; nathan jurgenson, Conference Chair; April 2018
— “Is the Technofix in? Research on the Ecological Impact of Solar Power in the Anthropocene;” Topic Session: Climate Change and Governance: Risk, Expertise and Embedded Values; at STGlobal 2018; March 2018
— “Daoism, Buddhism, and Machine Consciousness;” Topic Session: Digital Subjectivities; with Allie Briggs, Galen Olmstead, and Emma Stamm; at the2018 ASPECT Graduate Conference at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; March 2018
— “Values, Experts, Algorithms, and Bias;” Guest Lecture at the 2018 Tufts University Science, Technology, and Society Lunch Seminar Series; March 2018
— Tufts University Science, Technology, and Society Lunch Workshop on Algorithms and Automation; organized by Anna Jobin and Nick Seaver; March 2018
— “The Minds of Others: Implications for Human and Nonhuman Persons;” Topic Session: Philosophy of Technology; with Andrew Wells Garnar, Mary Catherine McDonald, Robert Rosenberger, Ashley Shew, and D.E. Wittkower; at the 2018 American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Conference; Session Chair: Ashley Shew; January 2018
— “Comics Studies Roundtable: The Interplay of Creation, Criticism, and Scholarship;” with Daniel Amrhein, Matt Brown, Kelly Sue DeConnick, John Flowers, Matt Fraction, and Kari Neely; 2017 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2017
— “Translating Ghost in the Shell: Roundtable on the American Adaptation;” with John Flowers and Amy-Elizabeth Manlapas; 2017 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2017
— “Roundatble on Diversity & Representation Star Trek;” with John Flowers and Matt Brown; 2017 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2017
— “Science, Ethics, Epistemology, and Society: Gains for All via New Kinds of Minds;” SRI Technology and Consciousness Workshop Series 2017; August 2017
— “A Discussion on Taoism and Machine Consciousness,” SRI Technology and Consciousness Workshop Series 2017; June 2017
— “The Minds of Others: What Will Be Known by and Owed To Nonhuman Persons?;” SRI Technology and Consciousness Workshop Series 2017; May 2017
— “How We Survive After The Events;” Invited Panel | “Apocalypse Buffering;” with Ingrid Burrington, Jade Davis, and Tim Maughn; Theorizing the Web 2017; nathan jurgenson, Conference Chair; April 2017
— “Technology, Disability, And Human Augmentation;” Guest Lecture for Dr. Ariel Eisenberg’s Graduate Seminar, “American Identities: Disability,” in partnership with the Kennesaw State University Interdisciplinary Studies Department; March 13, 2017
— “Are You Being Watched? Simulated Universe Theory in ‘Person of Interest;’” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference 2017; Burcu Gurkan, Panel Chair; February 2017
— Reaction Panel, with Sue Lederer and Mahvesh Murad; Frankenstein’s Shadow Symposium 2016; Hosted by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination; June 2016
— “On the Moral, Legal, and Social Implications of the Rearing and Development of Nascent Machine Intelligences;” IEEE Ethics 2016; Philip Chmielewski, Session Chair; May 2016
— “Presentations of Non-Human Consciousness in Speculative Fiction Media;” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference 2016; Burcu Gurkan, Panel Chair; February 2016
— Invited Panel | “Under Its Spell: Magic, Machines, and Metaphors;” with Melissa Gira Grant, Karen Gregory, Debbie Chachra, and Ingrid Burrington; Anna Jobin, hashtag moderator; Theorizing the Web 2015; nathan jurgenson, Conference Chair; March 2015
— “The Quality of Life: The Implications of Augmented Personhood and Machine Intelligence in Science Fiction;” The Work of Cognition and Neuroethics in Science Fiction 2015; Zea Miller, Conference Organizer; March 2015
— “Plug and Pray: Conceptualizing Digital Demigods and Electronic Angels;” Magick Codes 2014; Ingrid Burrington, Conference Organizer; December 2014
— “Dream Logic And Murder Wizardry;” with Cleolinda Jones; 2014 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2014
— “Stargate as Stories, Myths, and Personal Identity;” with Richard Scott Nokes; 2014 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2014
— “How to Become a Comics Scholar;” with Matthew J. Brown and Cary Gillenwater; 2013 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2013
— “How to Become a Science Fiction Scholar;” with Vickie Willis; 2013 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2013
— “In the In-Between: An Examination of Magic, Perception, and Interstitiality in the Works of China Miéville;” 2012 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2012
— “Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point: The Implications of Autonomous Created Intelligence in Speculative Fiction Media;” The Machine Question Symposium: AI, Ethics, and Moral Responsibility; David Gunkel and Joanna Bryson, symposium coordinators; July 2012
— “Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point: The Implications of Cybernetics & Human Enhancement in SF Media;” 2011 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2011
— “Becoming Our Selves: Jungian Self-Actualisation in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse;” 2010 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2010
— “Western Esotericism in the Modern Popular Mind;” 2009 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2009
— “Seeing the Light: Ethical Egoism in Mike Carey’s Lucifer;“ 2008 Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conference; Matt Brown, Conference Co-Ordinator; September 2008
— The Scholars’ Circle:
“Lula’s election win in Brazil ; Abelism invoked upon Pennsylvania Senate candidate” (November 5, 2022)
“Algorithms, how do they make biased decisions?,” with Prof. Tina Eliassi-Rad and Prof. Henning Schulzrinne (November 14, 2021)
— Flash Forward with Rose Eveleth:
Episode 133: What is the Future of Flash Forward? (June 8, 2021)
Episode 120: Double Trouble (Oct. 6, 2020)
Episode 108: FIVE YEARS OF FLASH FORWARD! (May 12, 2020)
Episode 20: The Witch Who Came From Mars (Sept. 5, 2016)
Episode 10: Rude Bot Rises (Apr. 5, 2016)
— Rendering Unconscious Podcast with Vanessa Sinclair:
Episode 88: Damien Patrick Williams on Technology & Anti-Black Surveillance (June 29, 2020)
Episode 13: Damien Patrick Williams, Philosopher (Jan. 4, 2019)
— Mindful Cyborgs:
Episode 55 – Magick & the Occult within the Internet and Corporations with Damien Williams (2015)
Episode 54 – A Positive Vision of Transhumanism and AI with Damien Williams (2015)
ACADEMIC SERVICE AND PUBLIC OUTREACH POSITIONS
— Grant Proposal Reviewer for National Science Foundation; 2023
— Manuscript Reviewer for Journal of American Academy of Religion; 2023
— Disability & Accessibility Advisory Committee Member, 2023, philoSOPHIA Conference
— Advisory Committee Member, 2022—Present, on the Disability x Tech Fund hosted by Borealis Philanthropy’s Disability Inclusion Fund and the Ford Foundation
— Advisory Committee Member, 2021—Present, on the Center for Democracy & Technology Project on Disability Rights & Algorithmic Fairness
—Chair 2021—2022, 2023, Board Member 2020—Present, Vice Chair 2020—2021, of the JustSpace Alliance
— Graduate Student Senator representing the Virginia Tech Department of Science, Technology, and Society to the Graduate and Professional Student Senate; Virginia Tech; 2021—Present
— Manuscript Reviewer for Engaging Science, Technology, and Society Journal; 2021
— Manuscript Reviewer for Frontiers in Robotics and AI; 2021
— Programming Committee 2020; ACM FAccT 2021; Abstract and Manuscript Reviewer
— Treasurer, Virginia Tech STS Graduate Student Organization; 2020—2021
— Manuscript Reviewer for Robophilosophy 2020
— Manuscript Reviewer for Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
— Graduate Student Organization Representative to the Department of Science, Technology, and Society Policy Committee; Virginia Tech; 2017—2019
— Manuscript Reviewer for Philosophy and Technology; 2016, 2018, 2019
— Manuscript Reviewer for Cognitive Systems Research; 2019
— Manuscript Reviewer for Science, Technology, & Human Values; 2018
— Manuscript Reviewer for SPECTRA: the Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Theory Archives; 2018
— Programming Committee (Various Positions) 2010—2020; Comics and Popular Arts Academic Conferences in Atlanta, Ga. Coordinated programs, reviewed submissions, organized guest dinner meetings, coordinated and networked with faculty at Atlanta Universities, distributed Calls For Papers, and advertised the final draft of the conference program.
FELLOWSHIPS, GRANTS, AND SPONSORED RESEARCH
— Lead PI for University of North Carolina at Charlotte on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Higher Learning Program Grant, “Just Disability Tech Futures.” $502,000. January 1, 2023-December 31, 2025. Submitted August 26, 2022. Approved December 8, 2022.
HONOURS AND AWARDS
— 2020-2021 Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
— Nelson, B. and Faquin, W., (2023). “Artificial intelligence and medicine: Mounting risks amid the promise.” Cancer Cytopathol, 131: 408-409. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncy.22739
— Pappas, Stephanie. “AI’s ‘unsettling’ rollout is exposing its flaws. How concerned should we be?” Live Science, April 21, 2023. https://www.livescience.com/technology/artificial-intelligence/ais-unsettling-rollout-is-exposing-its-flaws-how-concerned-should-we-be.
— Folz, Christina. “How to Manage Generative AI and ChatGPT in the Workplace.” Society for Human Resource Management, April 10, 2023. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/generative-ai-chatgpt-workplace.aspx.
— Netburn, Deborah. “Can religion save us from Artificial Intelligence?” The LA Times, March 03, 2023. https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2023-03-03/can-religion-save-us-from-artificial-inte.
— Francis, Matthew R. “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence-Generated Art.” SIAM News, November 01, 2022. https://sinews.siam.org/Details-Page/the-ethics-of-artificial-intelligence-generated-art.
— Ashby, Madeline. “It’s Time to Reimagine the Future of Cyberpunk.” WIRED, December 1, 2021. https://www.wired.com/story/reimagine-future-cyberpunk/.
— Wattles, Jackie. “Colonizing Mars could be dangerous and ridiculously expensive. Elon Musk wants to do it anyway.” CNN, September 8, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/08/tech/spacex-mars-profit-scn/index.html.
— Perry, David. “Disabled Do-It-Yourselfers Lead Way to Technology Gains.” The New York Times, July 14, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/style/assistive-technology.html
— Popescu, Saskia. “Pandora Report: 4.10.2020.” The Pandora Report, April 10, 2020. https://pandorareport.org/2020/04/10/pandora-report-4-10-2020/
— Byron, Paula. “The Shape of Things To Come.” illumiNation, Volume Three// 2019-2020. https://liberalarts.vt.edu/magazine/2020/the-shape-of-things-to-come.html
— Pointer, Eric. “VT assistant professor works to include disabled people in products meant for them.” WFXR Fox Roanoke, October 25, 2019. https://www.wfxrtv.com/news/vt-assistant-professor-works-to-include-disabled-people-in-products-meant-for-them/
— Eveleth, Rose. “Can Sci-fi Writers Prepare US For An Uncertain Future?” Wired, July 12, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/
— Eveleth, Rose. “In the Face of Danger, We’re Turning to Surveillance,” Wired, March 21, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/surveillance-safety/.
— “Businesses need to understand AI before putting it to work,” Wired UK, November 30, 2018. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/ai-and-the-future-of-business-decision-making.
— Yong, Ed. “The Tipping Point When Minority Views Take Over.” The Atlantic, June 7, 2018 https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/06/the-tipping-point-when-minority-views-take-over/562307/.
— Hopkins, Curt. “4 obstacles to ethical AI (and how to address them)” https://www.hpe.com/us/en/insights/articles/4-obstacles-to-ethical-ai-and-how-to-address-them-1807.html.
— Orphanides, K.G. “What should you do when Google gets into bed with the US military?” Wired UK, May 4, 2018. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-microsoft-amazon-us-military-ai-conflict.
— Newitz, Annalee. “Robots need civil rights, too,” The Boston Globe, September 08, 2017. https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/09/08/robots-need-civil-rights-too/igtQCcXhB96009et5C6tXP/story.html.
— Yong, Ed. “Why Online Allies Matter in Fighting Harassment.” The Atlantic, November 15, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/11/why-online-allies-matter-in-fighting-harassment/507722/.
— Finley, Klint. “Tech Giants Team Up to Keep AI From Getting Out of Hand.” Wired, September 28, 2016. https://www.wired.com/2016/09/google-facebook-microsoft-tackle-ethics-ai/.
— “Peek Into the Weird and Wonderful Age of AI (Yes, There’s a Chatbot).” Wired Staff, interviewed by Klint Finley. Wired, May 17, 2016. https://www.wired.com/2016/05/what-is-ai-artificial-intelligence/.
— Cowart, Leigh. “Ichiro’s Paradox.” The Classical, February 3, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20180707135117/theclassical.org/articles/ichiros-paradox.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIPS
PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS HELD
— Periodical Writer for The Breaking Time, focusing on peri-apocalyptic socio-political happenings, often engaged through the lens of popular culture.
— Staff Writer for NeedCoffee.com, focusing on the theory and philosophy behind pop-culture.
— Dr. Ashley Shew (Virginia Tech), Graduate Research Assistant on NSF CAREER Award on “Disability, Experience, and Technological Imagination” (#1750260).
— Dr. Rebecca Hester (Virginia Tech), General Research and TA Duties: Helped with the creation of a professional web presence; proctored classes.
— Angela Correa (Virginia Tech), Director of Communications, Virginia Tech Division of IT: Provided assistance with a variety of writing and communications activities within the Division of Information Technology, including devising strategy and developing content for news items, assisting with concept development and creation of news stories and IT spotlight pieces, devising a strategy to help implement better outreach and communications to students about IT services/projects/activities, and maintaining the monthly Division of IT newsletter. (Summer and Fall 2018)
— Dr. Philip Olson (Virginia Tech), Intro to Science and Technology Studies: Graded papers, homework, and in-class assignments, took attendance, proctored tests, processed tests, provided supplemental instruction and study assistance to students in the form of Friday Recitations (see above), lead class discussion, and provided perspective on the progress and development of students. (Fall 2017)
— Dr. Jonathan Herman (Georgia State University), Zen and Shinto, World Religions;
Treasury Duties for the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions: Graded papers, homework, and in-class assignments, took attendance, proctored tests, processed tests, provided supplemental instruction and study assistance to students, lead class discussion, and provided perspective on the progress and development of students. Balanced the dues and fees books of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religion by marking and processing checks, keeping track of returning members, entering in new members, and making sure that the ledger was up to date. (Spring 2008)
— Dr. Timothy Renick (Georgia State University), General Research Duties: Used the GSU library database (GIL), EBSCOhost, and other databases to assist Dr Renick in the course of his research by obtaining articles, devising and utilizing search strings, and compiling results into relevant categories. (Fall 2007)
— Dr. Matthew Condon (Georgia State University), Perspectives: Religion and Politics of the Contemporary Middle East: Graded papers, homework, and in-class assignments, took attendance, proctored tests, processed tests, provided supplemental instruction and study assistance to students, and provided perspective on the progress and development of students. (Summer 2007)
— Dr. Andrea Scarantino (Georgia State University): Co-organized the Spring 2006 Conference for the International Society for Research on Emotions. Contacted and secured vendors, publishers, guests, hotels, and distributors for the purpose of developing the conference. (Spring 2006)
— Dr. Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State University), Philosophical Thinking: Graded papers and homework, proctored tests, provided supplemental instruction and study assistance to students. (Fall 2005)
— Proficient in all components of the Microsoft Office Suite; Open Office Variants. Experienced with Ubuntu Linux, as well as Windows XP through 11.
Last Updated August 14, 2023.