The Faculty of Arts acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our actions toward reconciliation take place through our research, teaching, learning, and community events, with guidance from the University’s Indigenous Initiatives Office.
Claire Quong - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
I am a 4th year Knowledge Integration student, minoring in Visual Culture in a Global Context with a specialization in Science, Technology and Society. As a Knowledge Integration student, I have fundamental appreciation and curiosity for the way we form and share knowledge. Artificial intelligence is often referred to as "the last invention we will ever make" and stands to drastically change the way we create knowledge as a society.
Dina Amer- 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
Hello, I am a 4B Geomatics student. For those not familiar with the program, in the simplest terms I am a Data Analyst. In most of my co-ops, I am either given access to a database or given a log and been told to make sense of it and draw connections that can either help with decision-making or might lead to predicting trends. I receive most of my cautionary tales through social media, ironically, with stories like the Facebook-Cambridge scandal or Facebook’s role in Myanmar. I am excited to take part in this seminar as a way to highlight ethics within the AI world and the data world and how a person can affect a culture or a society.
Kelly Zheng - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello! I am a graduating Engineering student with experience in engineering consulting, entrepreneurship, and research. I have led and exited two ventures, published various papers, and learned from amazing people along the way. In my free time, I am a devoted mindfulness curator, budding soup kitchen chef and literature aficionado. Going forward, I am hoping to learn broadly and help create a bit of positive impact.
Kristoff Malejczuk - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello! My name is Kristoff and I am in my final year of Nanotechnology Engineering. I have recently completed an internship in the Camera Team at Apple, where I was exposed to brilliant minds and intriguing ideas for the application of AI. My interests outside of engineering include psychology and philosophy, both of which provide alternate viewpoints for the contemplation of the current and future impact of intelligent machines. I look forward to exploring the benefits and consequences of the ever-increasing presence of AI in society.
Zameer Bharwani - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Zameer is a former TD National Scholar and one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20. He is currently majoring in Nanotechnology Engineering and pursuing a minor in Computer Science. He spent his most recent co-op at Harvard SEAS using machine learning as a means to approximate solutions to Maxwell's equations for the design of ultra thin optical devices. Zameer intends to pursue graduate school in computer science and AI.
Ekaterina Durmanova - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
My name is Ekaterina Durmanova and I will be going into my 3B term of Global Business and Digital Arts. I have long since been fascinated with Artificial Intelligence as well as the ethics that come along with it. I am interested in exploring how design decisions are made in order to create the most beneficial technology for people and the effects it has on society. I am looking forward to adding to my current knowledge and applying what I gain from this experience to future opportunities.
Pat Duong - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, world! My name is Pat Duong, and I am a fourth-year Chemical Engineering student. After hearing great things about the first iteration of the Global Engagement Seminar program, I was intrigued by the atypical course structure and topic. I have done 3 out of 6 of my co-operative education experiences in manufacturing. There, I have seen the gradual adoption of new technologies, some of which are verging on and beginning to include elements of artificial intelligence (AI). I am personally interested in the intersections between food, sustainability, and education, and how AI ties into to those fields. In particular, I am inspired by a camera system that I have seen which applied machine learning to predict, identify, and divert peaches that would bruise in the future. I am also excited to have a learning environment that fosters interdisciplinarity and encourages students to focus on experiential and exploratory learning over acquiring marks.
Sydney Workman - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Mathematics Student
Hello, my name is Sydney and I am going into my 4A term in Winter 2019. I am a Math/Financial Analysis & Risk Management co-op student and am also working towards a minor in Statistics. I just finished my fourth co-op term where I worked in Scotiabank’s Global Risk Management department. I am interested in market risk management and corporate strategy and hope to pursue that upon graduation next year. Through my work experiences, I have seen how AI is becoming a bigger topic of discussion. My team at Scotiabank has even started debating implementing it to help build sound credit risk models that learn the relationships between default rates and macroeconomic indicators. I am excited to be a part of ARTS 490 this term to further dive into this topic and explore the many other implications AI may have moving forward. I am also excited to have a more hands-on learning experience and work with students from across all six faculties.
Nicholas Johnston - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello, my name is Nick. I am currently in my very final stretch of my Undergrad pursuing a major in Political Science with a minor in Economics and a Politics and Business specialization. I have also had the great pleasure of being a member of the co-op program during my tenure at Waterloo, which has allowed me to experience life on the outside as it were. I was lucky enough to secure placements with the federal government working with the Department of National Defense in Ottawa, as well as two terms with Ontario’s provincial government working out of Toronto. It is with this experience in mind that I am eager to be a member of this particular semester’s ARTS490 cohort as we study Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the nation as I am sure I will be able to put this knowledge to good use as a public servant in the years to come.
Grace Wright - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello, I am Grace and I am a third-year Arts and Business co-op student, majoring in Political Science, with minors in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Trade. During my past two co-op terms, I have had the opportunity to work at the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) at the University of Waterloo. In the CPA, I was exposed to a diverse network of peacebuilding practitioners, including organizations that do advocacy work surrounding AI, and more specifically, lethal autonomous weapon systems.
With greater exposure to the ethical and social implications of this technology, I developed a strong interest in the impact of AI in society and have since spent a lot of time listening, watching, and reading about its influence in different contexts, from mental health support to military applications. I am really looking forward to this year’s seminar for the opportunity to learn from an interdisciplinary group of individuals as we grapple with the effects of AI in the world and how it may shape our future.
Joshua Kwok - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello! My name is Joshua, and I am in my 3B term, studying Systems Design Engineering. I have had several management consulting co-op experiences helping companies adopt innovative technology solutions and improve efficiencies. I am interested in studying the impact of artificial intelligence in the workplace, across industries, and from an economic perspective.
Kuil Schoneveld - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
Hello there, I am Kuil. As I complete my third year of Knowledge Integration, my academic interests in the human mind have solidified. I have focused upon this line of study by pursuing a Joint Honours in Philosophy and a minor in Cognitive Science. The future of artificial intelligence fascinates me due to its nature as either an existential threat or monumentally helpful creation.
Thanks to the hard work of my parents, I am privileged enough to have traveled internationally multiple times. Whether competing in sports, for educational purposes, or pure leisure, my travels allowed me to experience a glimpse of cultures that differed from my own. Thus, I hope I would be able to add meaningfully to the Global Engagement Program. I am excited to have the chance to better understand artificial intelligence and its potential interaction with the world. I would love to continue researching its political, ethical, and social influences so that I may eventually make a tiny contribution to the betterment of humanity. After graduation, I want to become involved with the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, whose topics focus on the relationship between AI and society.
Clair Hu - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, my name is Clair and I am going into my 3A term this Winter 2019. I am a Software Engineering student, and I am considering a minor in Cognitive Science. I am very passionate about Artificial Intelligence. I recently heard that the US plans to restrict foreign investments in AI and biotech. The moment I heard the news I was very disappointed, but my passion for Artificial Intelligence will not vanish.
I want to know the reason behind such plans (hopefully, I will be able to better understand such developments after taking ARTS 490). I am currently completing my third co-op term and building a deep neural networks model to make predictions on horse wagering. There is so much to learn and I want to learn not only the technical knowledge, but also the social impacts of AI. I cannot wait to take this course!
Qianshu Wang - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, I am Qianshu Wang, and I am going into my final term of 4B this Winter 2019. I am a Nanotechnology Engineering student with plans to get more involved in the realms of tech, research and development, and consulting after graduation. I have completed four co-ops with a variety of companies throughout my time in the Engineering faculty in fields ranging from wireless communications to optics to chemistry. I am eager to be part of the ARTS 490 seminar as I love looking at the intersections between humans, society, and social structures with technology.Understanding technology and how it relates to human usage is among the key challenges facing humanity as we continue to further develop. I am very excited to meet everyone involved with the course and hope that we can do great things together!
Rachel Hickey - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
My name is Rachel Hickey and I am in my fourth year studying Psychology, Human Resource Management and English. I am excited to be a part of the Global Engagement Program because I believe it will be highly beneficial in my development as a student, as well as a professional who will soon be transitioning into the complex world we live in. During this course, I hope to bring my passion for problem-solving and love of technology to an innovative and atypical classroom setting, working with people across different disciplines, al bringing a unique perspective to this seminar.
Kienna Shaw - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
My name is Kienna, and I am in my 4B term of Knowledge Integration with a minor in Philosophy. Throughout my school and work experiences in social media and technology change management, I have collaborated with interdisciplinary teams to create holistic solutions for real-world problems and communicated complex concepts to a variety of audiences.
As I have worked through my degree, I have cultivated an interest in technology ethics. Through Philosophy and STV courses, I have been able to engage with concepts of non-human intelligence and minds, the ethical implications of creating and using artificial intelligence, and how technology influences us as much as we influence it. I am excited to be a part of the ARTS 490 seminar to further explore the real-world social impacts of AI through a variety of viewpoints, especially as AI becomes a larger part of our everyday lives.
Brooklyn Lester - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
Brooklyn Lester is in her fourth year of the International Development program, minoring in Peace and Conflict studies. She has recently participated in a global study exchange to Australia where she took a course on the Ethics of Warfare, studying AI and its evolution.
Her exchange has sparked her interest in AI, and she is looking forward to meeting the Fellows and learning more about artificial intelligence and its complexities in the socio-cultural and political landscape we live in.
Maria Cheng - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, my name is Maria, and I am in 4th year Nanotechnology Engineering. My interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning has peaked after a recent co-op experience where I used machine learning to train an algorithm detecting prostate cancer in ultrasound images. I hope to gain more insights as to the impact this work may have on the social-cultural and political implications of AI. I hope to connect with others who are also passionate about this new topic. My passions also lie in rock climbing, outdoors, hiking, and travelling.
Jaxon Lin - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Greetings and salutations. I will be of Software Engineering this upcoming winter semester. As someone who is visibly East-Asian and looks biologically female (yay intersectionality!), gender and racial issues are two clouds that always loom over me, whether I want them to or not. Hence, I figured, instead of getting caught in the storm, why not become the storm and fight for my beliefs? Furthermore, being a developer myself, I find it important that I be aware of the socio-cultural and political implications of AI (what is that? The course title? Pure coincidence, of course!). I look forward to learning more about these problems and hopefully to tackle a few alongside my fellow classmates. I am excited to discover how AI can affect global issues, including topics touching on gender, culture, race, and politics. For example, does using feminine voices and names for our AI software normalise female subservience? How can we combat gender inequality using AI? Another topic that resonates with me is Mimi Onuoha’s work, “Missing Datasets”. Mimi’s description points out the imbalance in our society: as everything in this age can be somehow digitally tracked, how are we still missing information concerning sexual assault or transphobic and anti-Semitic crimes? As someone who has worked in automation/testing and game development, I think it is important to understand the social impacts of my programming. I want to be able to recognise what the course description coined as “embedded biases in algorithms”. Ultimately, I want to explore the ways that I can help advocate for and possibly solve cultural and political problems. In my free time, I enjoy following the games industry on their journey to make more thoughtful and inclusive works (this one has been a coup-de-coeur in that regard: https://ncase.itch.io/wbwwb).
Katherine Sebben - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello! My name is Katherine Sebben, and I am in my last year of studies at the University of Waterloo. As a Liberal Studies student, pursuing minors in management, human resources and French, my passions include communication and people. Having been actively involved with the student government, Federation of Students, I have taken an interest in policy and how it can shape a nation. My experience working out of the start-up incubator Velocity opened my eyes to the up and coming tech innovations and how AI is changing the way we live. The opportunity to study the socio-cultural and political implications of Artificial Intelligence in this year’s Global Engagement Program seems like the perfect way to explore some of the challenges and changes that will soon affect our society. This is a great opportunity to have some immersive discussions with industry experts across diverse disciplines.
Ayodeji Ige - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Ayodeji Ige is a 4A Mechatronics Engineering student who has extensive software engineering experience in Apple, Microsoft, Inscopix, the Cognitive Systems Corporation, UW Robotics and Teledyne DALSA. As a student studying to be a robotics engineer, he believes his experiences in industry via co-op and in class through his courses will make him a valuable voice in this conversation.
As a Nigerian, he is also interested in how AI plays a different role in different environments around the world. For example, the transportation infrastructure and driving norms in Nigeria do not match up with some of the countries where selfdriving cars are currently being tested. He is also curious about how search engines and personal assistance powered by AI can be built such that they transcend the conflicts between different societal norms.
Viola Wang - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello, my name is Viola and I am going to my 3A term this Winter 2019. I am majoring in Speech Communication and Business with a minor in Digital Arts Communication. I am currently on my second co-op term working as an Education Consultant at Nulogy, a software company. I was working as a Customer Service Representative at Toronto Hydro. Co-op program gives me the opportunity to meet new people and explore my areas of interest. Through my co-op experiences, I am starting to see how technology is fast shifting its focus to Artificial Intelligence, and as a Speech Communication student, I am curious how this will impact society and individuals. I am both excited and nervous to be part of the ATRS 490 seminar, and l really appreciate this great opportunity. I look forward to all the interesting conversations we will be having!
Kamilah Ebrahim - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello! I am Kamilah, an Honours Economics student with a focus on International Trade at the University of Waterloo. In my past co-ops, I have worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Global Affairs Canada and UN ESCAP. Most recently, I worked as a Junior Policy Analyst for the Economic Growth and International Financial Institutions team at Global Affairs Canada, supporting the unit in its adoption of the International Assistance Policy.
I am so excited to be part of this program. I am particularly excited to learn about how our technological advances inherit our biases, and how we can make policy to protect ourselves going forward particularly with respect to economic allocations in society.
Austin Tripp - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, my name is Austin and I am a 4B Nanotechnology Engineering student, doing a minor in Mathematics. I have done four co-ops in materials and data science research, and two co-ops at Waterloo-based start-ups. I am now looking to go to graduate school, and I am very interested in AI and its possible applications in the physical sciences. I would like to be able to bridge the gap between the constant advances being made in the AI community and the possible applications of those techniques in chemistry, materials science, and biology. I am excited to explore a different, more socio-cultural side of AI as part of the ARTS 490 seminar, and I look forward to having interesting and enriching discussions!
Vanessa Krause - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
My name is Vanessa Krause and I am a fourth year Legal Studies student minoring in Cognitive Science. I have always been fascinated with the ways in which the law adapts to our ever-changing society, and how society reacts to laws and the legal system. More recently, I have taken interest in the rapidly-growing tech industry and how society might be affected by its unprecedented developments. I am keen to relate my background understanding of society, law, and human cognition to issues surrounding artificial intelligence whilst improving my critical thinking skills. I look forward to meeting lecturers and collaborating with fellow students to confront and explore socio-cultural problems to be discussed in this seminar.
Thomas Stroyan - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello, my name is Thomas and I am going into my 4B term this Winter 2019 term. I am an Arts student majoring in History with a specialization in Global Interaction and am also minoring in Legal Studies. I hope to enrol in the master’s program at the University of Waterloo next year and study Canadian foreign policy history, specifically Canada-Latin American relations. In the future I would like to work as an academic studying foreign policy and Canadian history. I am excited to be part of the ARTS 490 seminar because I am interested in learning more about artificial intelligence and the implications it has on politics, government and society as a whole. I am also very excited to work on interdisciplinary projects and work with students and instructors outside of my own faculty.
Joseph Giuffre - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello all, my name is Joseph Giuffre, or Joe please and thank you, and I am a student entering the final semester of my undergraduate degree. I am a student in the Arts and Business program at Waterloo, and I am majoring in History. For the most part, my studies have been fueled by a fascination for figuring out how society works, and why it exists in the form that it does today. My excitement for Arts 490 grows from an extension of this; while I am an inch (at most) closer to understanding how the world is the way it is, with the study or artificial intelligence, I will have a leg up in understanding the world as it will be. That is the goal at least, and I am excited to try to zero in my focus on ARTS 490 and working together with my brilliant peers.
Arturo Salek - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Artificial Intelligence is the key to the future. I want to be a part of the wave that pioneers this technology and uses it to shape the world as we know it today into something we cannot possibly fathom yet.
As a child, I was constantly creating my own worlds out of sketches, paintings and plasticine characters while reading encyclopedias about space and science. My ideal version of myself that I am working towards is equal parts artist, inventor and scientist.
At my core, I am a creator and a problem solver. I thrive when building and creating or when finding novel solutions. I have a very strategic mind and have become accustomed to juggling resources, projects and people in high pressure environments. My main objective is to use a blend of technology and design to challenge the status quo and create novel but useful solutions to make people’s day-to-day better.
Stephanie Reimer - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
I am a recent transfer student from Mexico where I was studying graphic design and animation, while working as a freelance videographer and designer. My curiosity in other fields and interest in social impact has taken me to Waterloo to the Knowledge Integration program.
I am particularly interested in learning about what it means to be human in a world where we are constantly realizing how small we really are. I am curious about what gives humans value when AI can replace so many tasks that we once considered to be intrinsically human.
People fascinate me. I love to hear about what people believe and why they do so. How people spend their time is also a topic that I find worthy to analyze. What would people do if machines could replace a significant part of their daily tasks?
This love for people and ideas has fed my love for documentary film. I believe that film is a wonderful medium to share different stories and inform people about relevant issues happening in the world.
Steven Kong - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, I am Steven, a Software Engineering student going into my 4B term in Winter 2019. Having worked with machine learning models in natural language processing at Microsoft, I'm enthusiastic about the practical applications of artificial intelligence but conscious about its socio-political impacts. I’m thrilled to attend the upcoming ARTS 490 seminar to explore how society will integrate with AI. Eventually in my career, I'd like to implement machine intelligence for work and productivity, especially in the realm of personal assistants. I'm looking forward to this unique opportunity to meet faculty, knowledgeable fellows and other interested peers!
Shuo Feng - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Mathematics Student
My name is Shuo Feng, and I am in my final year of Mathematics co-op program, majoring in Mathematical Finance. As a student inspired by the power of data and machine intelligence, I have dedicated a large amount of my time into discovering cutting-edge approaches to tackle challenges. Since 2015 when I first started working on global research projects, I have been fascinated by the dynamics of change and innovation resultant from the newer technologies – machine learning, big data and of course, the artificial intelligence. My aspirations in discussing and solving pressing global issues have led me to this Global Engagement Program. I am excited to be part of the ARTS 490 seminar this year and look forward to exploring the socio-cultural and political implications that AI brings to our society.
Jonathan Smith - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Mathematics Student
Jonathan Smith is in his final year of Computer Science and Business Administration degrees at Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier. His work focuses on improving the impact of technology on human communities. He writes code, produces films, and designs products that improve people's well-being.
He currently works in machine learning explainability at Layer 6 AI. He has done research in the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Lab on image segmentation for autonomous driving. He has held internships at Hustle, personalizing group communications, Intellijoint Surgical, researching novel methods for navigating orthopedic surgery, and Interset AI, applying machine learning to detect cyber-attacks. He co-founded a film production company that has published over 30 films across four continents and has made contributions to multiple open-source projects.
Aidan Power - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
I am a fourth-year Knowledge Integration student interested in digital culture and computer science. I have taken a number of courses on digital culture from several different perspectives including English, Anthropology and Fine Arts, as well as more technical courses on the uses of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.AI and algorithms play a massive role in the types of content we see on our news feeds, what online products we are recommended and even what kinds of jobs or social services we have access to. AI can perpetuate systems of injustice, but also help create more equitable systems that need to be critically examined before being put into place and I hope to gain that critical perspective through the Global Engagement Seminar.
Keira Chadwick - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Environment Student
I am a 4th year Honours Knowledge Integration student minoring in Philosophy and Entrepreneurship and specializing in Collaborative Design. Curiosity and passion for the challenges that arise through the intersections of technology, society, and policy inspired my enrollment in this course. My senior honours research project focuses on exploring how to balance a person’s right to privacy and the public’s right to access information in a data-driven age of social media. It aims to find an appropriate balance between government protection through regulation, and a person’s meaningful consent of the use of the information that they post online. This project, alongside other courses and work experience centred around the applications of artificial intelligence, algorithmic biases, and ethics of technology, have sparked my interest in the cultural and political implications of this domain. I am looking forward to a collaborative environment focused engaging with real-world problems.
Pia Medina - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Engineering Student
Hello, my name is Pia and I am going into 4B Management Engineering. Over the past two years I have immersed myself in the Data Science and AI world through co-ops, undergrad research opportunities, and school projects. As a Financial Mathematics Analyst at Alkanza, a Silicon Valley startup, I learned how AI and machine learning can be used in portfolio optimization. As a Data Scientist at IBM, I have helped enhancing predictive and prescriptive machine learning models used to derive client insights in the Fin-Tech space. As an undergrad researcher, I used text mining techniques to try to understand why women choose a given engineering discipline. As a Management Engineering student, I used machine learning to predict the success of a meme on Reddit. As my graduation date approaches and my passion in Data Science increases, I want to make sure that I have a clear understanding of the socio-cultural and political impacts that AI and Data Science has in our present and future. I am excited to become part of the ARTS 490 seminar and meet experts in the field and gain new skills.
Jenevieve Ayuste - 2019 Alumnus, Faculty of Arts Student
Hello, my name is Jenevieve and I am going into my 4B term of Honours Arts and Business French co-op with a minor in Applied Language Studies. I just finished an eight-month co-op term with FairVentures Lab, located at Communitech, where I worked as a Marketing and Communications specialist. There, I had the opportunity to learn how AI will impact the insurance and retail industry.
I am very excited to be part of the ARTS 490 seminar because I am interested in learning more about AI and societal impacts of such technologies in an academic setting. I look forward to exploring the future of AI with all the faculty members, fellows, and students!