Dr. Lai-Tze Fan Appointment to Research Chair

Monday, October 2, 2023

Congratulations to GI member Dr. Lai-Tze Fan (Sociology and Legal Studies) who was recently announced as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Technology and Social Change for her work with inclusive artificial intelligence (AI). 

We tend to want AI to do more and more tasks for us and not be involved ourselves. But if that tendency continues, critical thinking in the process of generation is going to collapse in on itself and we won't have a responsible role in the technology anymore. And that could make AI a dehumanizing tool.

Dr. lai-tze fan, Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo

Fan’s research revolves around biased data sets and the risks of how rapidly AI technologies are developing as they are mostly influenced by human experiences and emotions—often leading to stereotypes. These learned stereotypes reinforce social inequalities ranging from sexism, racism, to classism. From there, Fan aims to find ways to intercept biases and social inequalities inhabited by AI and reroute artificially intelligent answers to be more sensitive to issues involving equity, diversity and representation. Her innovative and deeply interdisciplinary work in social change has created a new intersection between disciplines, making way for strides in research for social change and evolving AI to coexist in the same field. With a focus on EDI-enhanced change, Fan is moving to alter and enhance AI design in order to stop the perpetuation of inequitable data and representation. 

Along with the CRC, Fan has also been awarded CFI funding that she hopes to put towards what she has dubbed the  Unseen-AI (U&AI) Lab, which will focus on correcting and acknowledging social, hierarchical and racial biases in AI data.  

Fan’s research has only just begun and her recent appointment to Canada Research Chair in Technology and Social Change is not only well-deserved, but also instrumental for the future of equitable AI development.