03 Dec

First Friday Speaker Series: Renée Cummings and John Nisi

December 3, 2021
12:00 PM 1:00 PM
First Fridays graphic

Join the School of Data Science on Friday, Dec. 3, at 12pm ET for our next First Friday Speaker Series conversation on Technology for Good with Renee Cummings, the first Data Activist in Residence at the UVA School of Data Science, and John Nisi, General Manager and COO of US Cloud at Microsoft.

Technology is best when it brings people together. It is important to recognize the inspiring and innovative technological advances happening in the world today. It is equally important to recognize the challenges that exist when technology is used poorly, remains inaccessible to some and not others, therefore inequitable, or causes us to lose the human connection. Technology for good is a continuous pursuit that requires focus on the benefits and risks of any given technology. The path forward requires conversations across a myriad of voices. From John and Renee in an academic or business setting. From leaders on the global stage. From individuals in towns large and small. From established organizations to early startups.

John and Renee will sit down in a virtual fireside chat to discuss the impact and implications that span technology for good including how advances in AI and ethics play a role in mitigating future risks. Their conversation will range from professional careers and individual experiences plus navigating industry obstacles and how to continue moving technology forward, for good.



About John

With a Bachelor of Science degree from UVA in Systems Engineering, Computer Science and Management Information Systems, John brings over 25 years of industry experience to this conversation. He has held many roles at Microsoft and currently leads the Microsoft strategy, services, campaigns, programs, and offers aimed at delivering the quickest path-to-value for customers navigating their digital transformation. John is responsible for the Microsoft Cloud US business, marketing, and operations across the cloud portfolio of products including Azure, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, IoT, Cloud Data, SQL, and Mixed Reality. In addition, he also is licensed and certified with 20+ credentials including Azure Fundamentals, Front End Web Development, Principles of Machine Learning, Developing Intelligent Apps, Programming in R and more.

John is passionate about education and how technology can overcome the challenges of virtual education, support inclusive learning, and advance our society through prioritizing STEM skills to empower everyone through technology. When he is not at work, John spends time with his wife and fellow UVA alum, Jenn Nisi, their three kids, and two bird dogs - preferably in the great outdoors.


About Renee

Renée Cummings is an AI ethicist and the first Data Activist in Residence, at the School of Data Science, at the University of Virginia and co-director of the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) at the University of Virginia. She is also a criminologist, criminal psychologist, and therapeutic jurisprudence specialist and a community scholar at Columbia University. Advocating for AI we can trust, fair, ethical, accountable, transparent, explainable, responsible, and principled as well as justice-oriented, diverse, equitable, and inclusive, Renée is on the frontline of ethical AI, generating real time solutions to many of the consequences of AI and the impacts of data on society. Renée specializes in AI leadership, AI policy and governance, AI risk management, AI crisis communication, building ethical AI and using AI to save lives. She is committed to using AI to empower and transform lives by helping governments and organizations navigate the AI landscape and develop future AI leaders and community-inspired and public interest technology. Renée is on the Board of Advisors of the Carnegie Council, Artificial Intelligence & Equity Initiative, for Ethics in International Affairs, and the International Research Centre of Artificial Intelligence, UNESCO. She is also a founding board member of the Springer journal AI Ethics, on the board of Women in Voice, as well as on the board of Inspired Minds, producers of the World Summit AI. Renée lectures extensively on AI and data ethics and contributed significantly to the creation of the first ethical emerging technologist certification. A thought-leader, motivational speaker, and mentor, Renée has mastered the art of creative storytelling, science communication and deconstructing complex topics into critical everyday conversations that inform and inspire.