Mike Ananny plans to spend the year developing a new book project on the role probability plays in digital communication platforms, tentatively titled Probably Public. In everything from the machine learning algorithms and content moderation policies that drive the regulation of speech on platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, much of online communication seems to involve logics of probability: the likelihood of speech surfacing, the chance of filtering misinformation or abusive content, tolerances for false positives and false negatives in recommendation algorithms, and even the prospect of platforms stably existing from one moment to the next. Though baked into the engineering and policy cultures driving our experiences with technology platforms and their public power, these thresholds, likelihoods, and statistical assumptions are largely hidden from view and accountability.
Ananny studies the intersection of journalism practice and technology design, the public significance of networked news infrastructures, and the ethics of algorithmic systems. He has held fellowships and scholarships with Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center on Internet and Society, Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, LEGO, and Interval Research. He was a founding member of Media Lab Europe, a postdoc with Microsoft Research’s Social Media Collective, and has consulted for LEGO, Mattel, and Nortel Networks. His PhD is from Stanford University (communication), SM from the MIT Media Lab (media arts & sciences), and BSc from the University of Toronto (human biology & computer science). He has published in various academic and popular venues, is the author of Networked Press Freedom (MIT Press, 2018), is writing a book on absence and silence in online journalism (Yale University Press), and is also co-editor (with Laura Forlano and Molly Wright Steenson) of Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press, 2019).
Ananny is an associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, an affiliated faculty with USC’s Science, Technology and Society research cluster, and a 2018-19 Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
More on his work can be found at: http://mike.ananny.org