[ madeleine clare elish ]


bio & c.v.

// projects

Current Research on the role of humans in automated and autonomous systems

My dissertation examines how the socio-technical systems of drone operations are implicated in changing conceptions of skill, honor and military service in the United States.

I also conduct research as part of the Intelligence & Autonomy Initiative at Data & Society Research Institute, where we develop policy research connecting the dots between robots, algorithms and automation. Our goal is to reframe debates around the rise of machine intelligence. Check out some of our recent work on our website. I'm most proud of the paper I presented at WeRobot in 2016 about Moral Crumple Zones.

In July of 2016 I was part of the core team that organized and developed materials for AI Now: The Social and Economic Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Near-Term, a workshop and public symposium held as part of the White House's initiative, Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence. We developed some really great primers on topics related to the social implications of AI. Take a look!

A Tale of Two Videos: Communicating Technology Research in Video Demos

This ongoing research project focuses on modes and methods of innovation at the MIT Media Lab, particularly looking at the challenges and responsibilities of creating accurate and compelling narratives around technology research.

I presented and published my initial write-up at the ACM Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction (TEI), 2011, January 22–26, 2011, Funchal, Portugal. Read it here. I expanded on this work and was selected to present my research at the EPIC 2011 Graduate Research Consortium.

The Evolution of Intimacy: Constructing the Personal Computer as an Object for the Home in the 1980s

My Masters thesis explores through emblematic examples how advertisements during the 1980s positioned the personal computer as a domestic machine. Once embodiments of military and corporate de-humanizing control, computers are now accepted as evocative, social extensions of individual selves that represent freedom and power. With personal computers as our contemporary companions at home, at work and in our laps, this thesis tells a history of how our relationship began. Here's the .pdf from DSpace@MIT.

Design Research at Yahoo!

During the summer of 2011, I worked as an intern for the Yahoo! Innovation Research Group in Sunnyvale, CA. I co-designed and conducted rapid ethnographic study of customization in home computer use, and I also led workshops to convey insights from field research to designers from multiple Yahoo! verticals.


my scrapbook of the web

Political Creation & Innovation at the Medialab-Prado, Madrid, Spain

This research project investigated the evolving ways in which communities engage politically through creative practice. I  focused specifically on the community and organizational structures of the Medialab-Prado, an alternative cultural center financed by the city of Madrid. My research documents how Free and Open Source Software, Hacker and DIY cultures influence mission, projects, practices, organizational structure and interpersonal interactions within the community.
 project was an exploration
 with ethnographic fieldwork and ethnographic writing. My work was based on periods of fieldwork in the summers of 2009 and 2010
, and supported by MIT's MISTI travel research fellowship and the MIT Comparative Media Studies department.
Please be in touch if you like to know more about or discuss this project.

Reviewer for FurtherField

Furtherfield.org provides platforms for creating, viewing, discussing and learning about experimental practices at the intersections of art, technology and social change.

Representing Labor: Ten Thousand Cents and Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Visual Interpretations: Aesthetics, Methods, and Critiques of Information Visualization
Conference organized by HyperStudio at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 20 - May 22, 2010

HyperStudio’s Visual Interpretations conference brought digital practitioners and humanities scholars together with experts in art and design to consider the past, present, and future of visual epistemology in digital humanities. The papers and workshops aimed to get beyond the notion that information exists independently of visual presentation, and to rethink visualization as an integrated analytical method in humanities scholarship. Check out the conference website and videos of the presentations!

Acts of Translations: Digital Humanities and the Archive Interface

A paper and presentation presented at MIT6 in April 2009, co-written with Whitney Trettien. We examined the importance of visual representations of information in digital environments through a series of case studies. The paper can be found on HyperStudio’s research page.