This page features some relevant pieces that have come out of or highlight the Assembly program.
Delving into Disinformation
This spring, members of the 2020-21 Assembly Student Fellowship cohort continued to learn about the spread of disinformation on online platforms, guided by experts from across Harvard and beyond. Learn more about their work below.
Assembly Student Fellowship alum named Bloomberg Innovator of the Week
in Bloomberg Cities Network
Christine Keung, HBS '20 and member of the 2019-20 Assembly Student Fellowship cohort, was named Bloomberg's Innovator of the Week for her work in using data to drive more equitable outcomes in San José.
A conversation with evelyn douek
in the Assembly Student Blog
evelyn douek, Lecturer on Law and SJD candidate at Harvard Law School, joined a group of Assembly Student Fellows for a virtual "coffee chat" on the Facebook Oversight Board, content moderation more broadly, and much more.
The Breakdown: Lisa Kaplan on threat actors, early detection, and content moderation
Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly interviews Lisa Kaplan, founder of the Alethea Group on the increasing focus on disinformation campaigns spread by domestic actors, whether stakeholders might consider adjusting mitigations already deployed to address these threats, and assess how current organizing around the disinformation problem could be repurposed to suit emerging challenges.
Announcing the launch of the Assembly Student Fellowship Blog
We're thrilled to announce the launch of the Assembly Student Fellowship Blog, which will feature updates on the program and the speaker series, provocations around disinformation, and much more.
Inside the Assembly Student Fellowship
“In Assembly — through both the expert speakers and my talented peers — I have learned that disinformation is so much more than ‘fake news.’ There are many nuances, frameworks, and solutions which can be dissected and discussed from numerous angles.” — Arushi Saxena, Graduate School of Design ’21 and 2020–21 Student Fellow. Learn more about the 2020-21 Student Fellowship cohort and their work at the link below.
BKC Assembly announces 2021 Fellowship
in Berkman Klein Center News
Learn about the five alumni project teams returning to further develop interventions in the areas of disinformation, cybersecurity, and ethical AI.
Gaining power, losing control
in Harvard Law Today
In the wake of the Capitol riots and the deplatforming of Donald Trump, George Bemis Professor of International Law and Assembly program lead Jonathan Zittrain explores the clash of free speech and public health online.
When disinformation becomes a political strategy, who holds the line?
in The Hill
Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly explains the important role media and tech companies play in patrolling false information, in an op-ed for The Hill.
The Breakdown: Joan Donovan on domestic misinformation
Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly interviews Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, on election misinformation, content moderation, and COVID-19.
Assembly welcomes 2020-21 Harvard Student Fellows
in Berkman Klein Center News
The cohort is comprised of 19 students from 10 schools across the University and will spend the year learning about the spread of disinformation on online platforms.
The Breakdown: Jonathan Zittrain reflects on the 2019-20 Assembly program, disinformation
In this special two-part episode, Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly interviews Professor Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and the Assembly program's lead, on Assembly: Disinformation, the challenges and provocations that surfaced from 2019-20 Assembly work, and disinformation in the context of trust and platforms.
The Breakdown: Naima Green-Riley on foreign interference and the U.S. 2020 election
Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly interviews Naima Green-Riley, a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University on recent foreign interference, the weaponization of social issues, and various platform interventions to mitigate the spread of mis- and disinformation ahead of the election.
What students and fellows learned and created during Assembly: Disinformation
Learn about the collection of prototypes, sketches, and provocations developed by the Assembly Fellowship and Assembly Student Fellowship cohorts.
The Breakdown: Claire Wardle on disinformation and today's journalistic conventions
Claire Wardle, co-founder and Director of First Draft and member of the Assembly Forum, joins Assembly: Disinformation Staff Fellow Oumou Ly to unpack journalists' role in debunking (and inadvertently spreading) disinformation.
The Breakdown: evelyn douek on doctored media, platform response, and responsibility
evelyn douek, lecturer on law and SJD candidate at Harvard Law School, joins Assembly staff fellow Oumou Ly to discuss manipulated media, platform takedown policies, and responsibility of platforms to society when doctored content stands to distort public perceptions of truth.
The Breakdown: Q&A with Reneé DiResta on disinformation and COVID-19
Oumou Ly, Staff Fellow for Assembly, interviews the Stanford Internet Observatory's Renée DiResta to discuss what can be learned about disinformation from the current pandemic. Read the transcript and watch the video at the link below.
Three new ideas for mitigating online disinformation
The Berkman Klein Center writes about "New Ideas to Deal with Online Disinformation," a virtual event hosted by the Assembly Program that featured remarks by Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School; Professor Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University; and Professor Marshall Van Alstyne, Questrom Professor in Management at Boston University.
Assembly Fellows team up to combat disinformation
"The fourth iteration of the Berkman Klein Center's Assembly Fellowship kicked off just as the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States was beginning to spike, prompting -- among countless other changes across the globe -- a significant shift in the scope and design of the program." Assembly Program Coordinator Zenzele Best writes about the 2020 Assembly Fellowship cohort, the fellows' time together in Cambridge, and the projects they are developing to tackle the spread and consumption of online disinformation.
Inside the Assembly Student Fellowship
"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from experts at BKC...but I've learned the most through the perspectives and questions of the other Assembly Student Fellows. The program recognized in its design and selection process that any meaningful solution must be interdisciplinary, and I've really enjoyed meeting and partnering with students from across Harvard to learn more about this topic," says Christine Keung HBS '20 and 2019-20 Assembly Student Fellow. This piece highlights the first year of the Assembly Student Fellowship.
Inside the R&D of AI Ethics
"It’s clear that the roadmap for AI governance won’t rely solely on business or academic research. It can—and should—be a collaboration between the two."Read the Forbes profile of the Assembly Fellowship 2018 program. The piece highlights the Data Nutrition Project, which launched from the Assembly 2018 cohort.
In this Medium story, the Berkman Klein Center provides background on the Assembly program.
"At the Berkman Klein Center, we’re encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge transfer through Assembly, an annual program that gathers technologists, policymakers, developers, managers, and other professionals to confront emerging problems related to the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence. Assembly is a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and a part of our broader joint Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative."
Some Assembly required: an AI ethics superteam
in the Harvard Business School Digital Initiative
"We hope Assembly spurs meaningful learning and collaboration across sectors and encourages other institutions to host similar programs. The technology we create now--and the decisions we make about how to use it--will shape the future," writes Assembly senior program manager Hilary Ross.
What we created during Assembly 2019
“Over three months, the cohort learned together and from BKC and MIT Media Lab’s community of technologists, researchers, activists, and changemakers. By the end of the program, they’d built four projects that offer ways to move forward on the thorny problems at the intersection of AI and ethics,” writes Assembly senior program manager Hilary Ross.
HLS and MIT Media Lab launch course on law and regulation in the digital world
in Harvard Law Today
“For the first time, Harvard Law School and the MIT Media Lab have collaborated to host an innovative January-term course, “Internet & Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control,” dedicated to understanding the legal and technical dynamics of the digital world,” writes Research Associate Tiffany Lin and MIT PhD student Amy Zhang.