How college campuses are using AI to monitor student protests
How do campuses protect and save the lives of students who are at risk of harming themselves or others? Software that uses artificial intelligence to analyze students’ social media activities has been touted as the best way.
Pulitzer Center AI Accountability Fellow Ari Sen revealed a lesser-known use of an AI tool known as the Social Sentinel: monitoring campus protests.
In a groundbreaking investigation for The Dallas Morning NewsSen found campus police were using Social Sentinel to track protests against a Confederate statue, student criticism of school officials over alleged mishandling of a rape complaint, and even protests against a senator. American visiting a town hall.
The report found that the company actively marketed the tool to university officials as a low-cost solution to “mitigate” and “prevent” student protests while publicly asserting that the service was not a surveillance tool.
On Wednesday, October 5 at 2:00 p.m. EDTjoin the Pulitzer Center (@pulitzercenter) and The Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) for a Twitter Spaces conversation with Sen and Pulitzer Center editor Boyoung Lim as they discuss the implications of this report, the reaction from colleges and students across the country, and the way forward. Visit this link to set a reminder to join on Twitter.
Arijit (Ari) D.Sen is a computer journalist in the investigative team of The Dallas Morning News. He recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a master’s degree in journalism and a graduate certificate in applied data science. Sen also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Hussman School of Journalism and Media in Chapel Hill.
Before coming to The Dallas Morning News, he worked as an intern and freelance contributor for NBC News. His reporting has focused on the intersection of politics and technology. Sen will use the AI Accountability Fellowship to develop his reporting on a social media monitoring company used on college campuses across the United States.
Boyoung Lim is an editor at the Pulitzer Center. She previously worked as a reporter at the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ)—Newstapa. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Before becoming a journalist, she worked as a police officer, specializing in cybercrime. She graduated from the Korean National Police University, majoring in criminal investigation. She holds a master’s degree in international studies from Seoul National University.
Since beginning her journalism career in her native South Korea, she has covered human rights abuses, illicit financial flows, tax injustice, the medical device industry, and more. An international survey of pseudo-scientific publications by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), in which she participated, won several national journalism awards.