2022 Symposium on Information for Social Good

Friday April 22, 2022
Carolina Union, Chapel Hill, NC 

The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is sponsoring the 2022 Symposium on Information for Social Good. 

The symposium is open to the public and will include a keynote address, panel discussions and a poster session (see below for the full schedule and event details). SILS graduate and undergraduate students will address advanced questions and problems related to current ethical and social justice issues that impact information science.

About the Symposium

The SILS Symposium on Information and Social Good is an annual mini-conference hosted at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina. Each year, SILS undergraduate and masters students present work related to information, data, knowledge, or technology AND ethics, justice, equity, or society. This mini-conference offers an opportunity for SILS students to come together to present work that exemplifies our values as a community, and to engage the wider fields of information, data, and library science through in-person and online discussion.


Registration for the event is closed, but attendance is open to the public. Boxed lunches are unavailable to those who did not register beforehand

Keynote Address & Speaker Info

Keynote Speaker: Anna Lauren Hoffmann

Keynote Title: "Ethical Tech" and the Politics of Potential, or: Algorithms Are Kid Stuff

Abstract: Technological discourses—formations of symbols, statements, and other semiotic elements for representing and knowing “technology”—make technology possible in part by imbuing it with social and political meaning. Today, these possibilities are evident in debates over the fraught potentials and ethics of AI, machine learning, and other data technologies and the kinds of worlds created in their wake. For some, this potential is interpreted as progressive and world-transformative, advancing scientific research and underwriting new social identifications and economic opportunities. For others, this potential is more ominous, perpetuating discriminatory or even eugenic ideals that inflict racialized, gendered, and other forms of violence. Ethically navigating this tension, we are told, requires the cultivation of frameworks and practice that allow us to maximize data technologies’ potential benefits while minimizing or eliminating its most harmful tendencies.

In this talk, Anna Lauren Hoffmann seeks to critically undermine this tension by turning to the pervasive but underexamined idea of potential itself within discourses on data technologies and their ethics. Though often presented as an innocuous marker of data technologies’ generic capacities prior to their enrollment in any system of moral or political value, she shows how appeals to potential do political work, staking out a moralized space within discourses of technoscientific progress and human development that have long underwritten various manifestations of eugenic and populationist thought More provocatively, she argues that this political work has imbued popular projects of “ethical tech” with a kind of sentimental moral rationality that figures data technologies in the same register as the white child—that is, as the futural and perpetually redeemable center of social, political, and economic investment.

Bio: Anna Lauren Hoffmann is an assistant professor with The Information School at the University of Washington. She is a senior fellow with the Center for Applied Transgender Studies and a founding member of the UW iSchool's AfterLab, a research center dedicated to critical information, data, and archival studies. Her work has appeared in New Media & Society, Review of Communication, and Information, Communication, & Society.

Zoom Access for Virtual Panels

Please see the downloadable program for the full schedule of virtual panels. Each virtual panel is assigned to one of the below Zoom meeting rooms:

Zoom A: https://unc.zoom.us/j/95229233420?pwd=ZGo4L2xzLzlMdmc0eEpmdyt1UGVmQT09

Zoom B: https://unc.zoom.us/j/97338608674?pwd=ZWNDcmZ3azFOMEZVMktqbzgxOHlBdz09

Zoom C: https://unc.zoom.us/j/97848306225?pwd=Nktnby9CQmVPeHV4SVVqWUxxQ09adz09

Program of Events & Virtual Panel Links

View the complete schedule of events for the 2022 Symposium on Information for Social Good. Access to Zoom webinar sessions for all remote panels can be found within the program.