Computer Science Seminar: Naveena Karusala (Harvard University)
Speaker: Naveena Karusala (Harvard University)
Title: AI and Data-Driven Tools that Work for Care Work
The seminar will be available for in-person and Zoom participation. If you would like to receive the Zoom link, please register using the “Register” button above.
Chronic underinvestment in care economies, such as healthcare and social work, has led to an inability to meet growing care needs globally. In response, governments and nonprofits have turned to AI and data-driven tools to help use limited resources for care more efficiently and at scale. For these tools to alleviate burden on care infrastructures, they must account for complex work practices and existing inequities in access to care among marginalized communities. My research bridges AI and data-driven tools with these realities, contributing ways that design can support the agency and labor of care workers and the communities they serve.
In this talk, I will present three areas of my research focused on bridging AI and data-driven tools with care work in India, Kenya, and the United States. I will first describe my work on how algorithmic decision-making processes in social services can support worker agency and community contestation of decisions. Next, I will discuss my research on how language technologies might augment care workers’ facilitation of online health communication for sensitive health concerns. I will then present my work on the appropriation of conversational agents by marginalized communities to cope with structural inequities in health systems. Drawing on this work, I will end by highlighting the need to investigate applications of AI and data-driven tools beyond efficiency and scale, to build communities’ power amidst increasing datafication in care economies.
Naveena Karusala is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Research on Computation and Society. Her research in Human-Computer Interaction examines how we can design AI and data-driven tools to address inequities in care economies. Her work has received Best Paper at ACM CHI and Diversity and Inclusion Recognition at ACM CSCW. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Karusala currently serves as Adjunct Chair for Community Support on the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee.