Simone Browne is an associate professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also research director of Critical Surveillance Inquiry (CSI) with Good Systems, a research collaborative at the University of Texas at Austin. CSI works with scholars, organizations and communities to curate conversations, exhibitions and research that examine the social and ethical implications of surveillance technologies, both AI-enabled and not. With a focus on algorithmic harm and tech equity, they continually question “what’s good?” in order to better understand the development and impact of artificial intelligence.
Browne is currently writing her second book manuscript, Like the Mixture of Charcoal and Darkness, which examines the interventions made by artists whose works grapple with the surveillance of Black life, from policing, privacy, smart dust and the FBI’s COINTELPRO to encryption, electronic waste and artificial intelligence. Together, these essays and interviews explore the productive possibilities of rebellious methodologies and creative innovation when it comes to troubling surveillance and its various tactics, and imagining Black life beyond the surveillance state.
Browne’s first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, was awarded the 2016 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize by the American Studies Association, the 2016 Surveillance Studies Book Prize by the Surveillance Studies Network, and the 2015 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Technology Research.
Simone Browne served on the Steering Committee that informed the creation of the Just Tech Fellowship and the 2020 Selection Committee for Just Tech’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Grant Competition.