Alex is a computer scientist with a long-standing interest in exploring the interplay between technical development and the role that technologies play in society. He is focusing on user-designer relationships in software engineering and the ways that people make sense of complex socio-technical systems.
His research at the Carr Center will focus on recent trends in software engineering that promise to improve the generation of feedback from the use of systems into the development process and, at the surface, offer the opportunity to strengthen the role of users in shaping technological development.
However, on closer inspection, the methods developed further concentrate control in the hands of tech companies and turn users not into agents able to pursue their interests and assert their rights but into a raw material to be measured and manipulated in the interest of, to use Zuboff’s term, ‘the extraction of behavioral surplus’.
Much has been written recently about the need to ‘make algorithms fairer’ as well as the need for regulation. Alex’s work will instead focus on the ways in which the software engineering methods being developed, embedded in our organizations and taught to new generations of IT professionals shape the technical futures we can envision and are able to shape.