UCLA Associate Professor Safiya Noble, co-director of the Minderoo Initiative for Technology and Power, has been announced as a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.
Noble, who also leads UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, is a leading scholar on digital media and its impact on society, as well as how digital technology and artificial intelligence converge with questions of race, gender, culture and power. She is the author of the bestselling book “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism,” which examines racist and sexist bias in the algorithms used by commercial search engines.
The MacArthur Fellowship is a US$625,000, no-strings-attached grant to people the foundation deems “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals”. The fellowship is also intended to inspire recipients to pursue their own creative interests.
For Noble, that means launching her non-profit EquityEngine.org, a leadership and empowerment initiative for women of colour.
“The MacArthur Fellowship will have a transformative impact on the work I do to abolish the harmful and discriminatory effects of digital technologies,” Noble said. “It’s a great and unexpected honour, and I’m grateful to the selection committee and all my colleagues who made this possible. I plan to use this award to accelerate and amplify the work of other Black women and women of colour.”
Associate Professor Sarah T. Roberts, co-director of the Minderoo Initiative, said: “This recognition of Dr Noble by MacArthur Foundation is so timely, and rightly recognises her indefatigable efforts, her incredible scope of vision, and her ability to hold fast to her convictions in the name of justice and equity, often years before the rest of the world catches up.”
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.