Sara Kingsley

News & Presentations

  • Upcoming talks:

    • May 2020: PLSC. our paper on data sharing in Africa has been accepted by the Privacy Law Scholars Conference. Preliminary versions presented at the ML4D workshop at NeuralIPS 2019, and the Contested Data Workshop at Data & Society.

  • April 2020: ICLR Machine Learning for Development workshop. With Abeba Birhane, presented our team's work on Data Sharing in and for Africa.

  • March 2020. Contest Data Workshop @ Data & Society.

  • February 2020: University of Michigan, School of Information.

Contact Information

email: skingsle [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] edu

twitter: @sendgoodcheers

I am currently a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS), and a PhD student in HCI/Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where I am advised by Chinmay Kulkarni. I have graduate-level training in labor economics, and a B.A. in Social Thought, Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. With Swathi Sadagopan and Rediet Abebe, I co-organize a research group on Data Economies & Markets for Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG).

Research Interests

In my research, I examine how digital platforms, algorithms and mechanisms make decisions and allocate resources. My primary interest is to understand if the outcomes of computer-mediated resource-allocation and decision-making are equitable or just.

In cases where digital platforms exhibit market or mechanisms failures, i.e., a demographic group is disadvantaged by the way outcomes are decided or distributed, I build software to produce knowledge about this. Where appropriate or possible, I design software to intervene at different stages of computational or machine processes that lead to these outcomes. The hope of this work is to imagine resolutions or commitments that address social problems in computing. Often, these interventions seek to evaluate what is possible in digital spaces and computational processes. Social problems are complex, however, and many of these issues have defied and befuddled the humanities, social sciences, law and policy for centuries (Abebe, 2020). Therefore, computing alone will not solve social issues (Abebe, 2020). Computation it is just one tool in a wide menu of options that allow us to learn about opportunity and justice. Computer scientists have a responsibility to understand how the tools they use cause or amplify existing social harms, and this is the focus of my work.

Ports of Call & formative experiences

Previously, I have worked for the Chief Economist of Microsoft Corporation and for the technology policy team of Microsoft's Chief Legal Officer. I also have completed a number of PhD internships with Microsoft Research.

I started my career in public service. I worked for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Department of Labor as a Legislative Officer to Congress. Before joining the Obama Administration, I worked as a Staff Assistant for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). During my time in the Senate, I helped senior counsel of the late U.S Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts work on the Affordable Care Act (through committee) and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act (through senate passage [congressional record]), both formative experiences that have continued to shape my career to date.

Other formative experiences include working with a team of network engineers, another economist, and lawyers to deploy and study Wi-Fi networks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania; as well a in the Philippines, and in Virginia, United States. I played a very small part in helping another team of network engineers launch a submarine fiberoptic cable that now crosses the Atlantic ocean, from Virginia beach to Bilboa, Spain. The cable is named Marea.

"It always seems impossible until it's done" Nelson Mandela

“The things you do for others remain” Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

~ I am because you are ~ Botho

("Motho ke motho ka batho")

"Botho is an example of a social contract of mutual respect, responsibility and accountability that members of society have toward each other and defines a process for earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by empowering others." University of Botswana