Technology has transformed our daily lives. A force for boundless innovation and enormous good, it can also deepen and exacerbate inequalities. That’s why the Ford Foundation has been working with a community of partners to develop the field of #PublicInterestTech, people and organizations harnessing technology to serve justice and the public interest.
Many of our friends in philanthropy—including the Mozilla Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Open Society Foundations—are investing in opportunities to help build the Public Interest Tech field.
Here are some of the opportunities available right now. Spread the word!
TechCongress aims to give socially-minded technologists the opportunity to shape the future of public policy by working directly with a member of Congress or a Congressional Committee. As as legal and ethical questions about new technologies get more complicated, TechCongress believes every Congressional Committee should have a Chief Technologist who can play a vital role in giving committee members an understanding of the implications of new technological developments.
In the fourth year of the Congressional Innovation Fellowship, TechCongress is looking to recruit up to 10 fellows.
Every year, New America offers diverse fellowships at the intersection of technology and media, academia, public policy, security, and more. The India-United States Fellows Exchange, a collaboration between New America’s Global Studies and Fellows Programs, allows those fellows in interdisciplinary tech fields to spend six weeks conducting research on tech’s influence in the policy sector—with fellows from India moving to the United States and fellows from the United States moving to India.
The AI Now Institute understands that artificial intelligence systems are developed and implemented without strong accountability mechanisms and without sensitivity to the larger possible socio-political consequences should these systems be misused. Housed within New York University, AI Now produces research on the far-reaching effects of artificial intelligence as applied to sectors like education, criminal justice, and health care.
The AI Now Institute is looking for a Tech Fellow to conduct interdisciplinary research as part of AI Now’s core research team, with specific focuses on rights and liberties, labor and automation, bias and inclusion, and safety and infrastructure.
The position has been filled. Learn about the institute.
Mozilla has been a major partner growing the field of #PublicInterestTech - providing grants and funding support to people and organizations on the front lines of making the internet open and accessible to everyone. This includes the Mozilla Open-Web Fellowship, a fellowship program that embeds technologists in nonprofit organizations worldwide (be on the lookout for their annual application announcement). In June 2018, Mozilla announced a new $225,000 initiative for Art and Advocacy exploring artificial intelligence. Funds will be awarded to technologists, artists, and media makers working on projects that help people understand how artificial intelligence and machine learning affect everyday life.
Application deadline has passed.
The Media Democracy Fund works with foundations, government, the private sector, and individuals to award grants to media and technology organizations that work to advance the public interest in the digital age around the world.
MDF supports work that utilizes a variety of strategies, including organizing, public education, research, litigation, technological development, and legislative and regulatory reform.
Dedicated to keeping the internet as democratic, open, diverse, and inclusive as possible, the Internet Freedom Festival brings together a community of activists, technologists, journalists, and human rights advocates. In an effort to continually broaden IFF’s audience, fellows will spend six months curating the upcoming festival’s program and engaging local communities about IFF’s message of democratizing internet access.
Are there other opportunities you think the Public Interest Technology community should know about? Share them in the comments below.
And be sure to visit us at fordfoundation.org/tech to sign up for ongoing updates, stories and future opportunities like these.