What is Public Interest Technology?
Public interest technology refers to a set of practices to design, deploy and govern technology in ways that advance the public interest.
Interdisciplinary by nature, it involves the ability to assess and respond to the core ethical, legal, policy, social, economic and political implications of technology. PIT draws from technical fields like computer science, data science, and engineering, along with law, public policy, movement-building, philosophy, the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and more.
PIT centers justice, dignity and autonomy for all, in particular for those most exposed to and impacted by technological harms.
PIT directs our attention to the shared values that bind us together as a society, and how to embed them in the infrastructure of our evermore technological world. Read the founding definition of PIT here, and learn about the field’s ongoing evolution here on the Member-created PIT Wikipedia page. Each one of our 63 member institutions pursues PIT in a unique way, depending on their student bodies, research agendas, community interests and more. Learn more about our members here.
What is PIT-UN?
PIT-UN provides programming and funding for members to grow public interest technology on their campuses and in their communities through:
The Network Challenge, an annual grant program to seed projects specifically within academia that has invested $14 million since 2019 in collaborative projects to create experiential learning opportunities, support faculty development, build career pathways, and increase access to technology design, use and governance among groups traditionally excluded from tech.
Thematic & Seasonal Requests for Proposal, through which PIT-UN members and partners pilot collaborative projects explore applying the PIT frame to endemic issues like climate change, immigration, healthcare and inequality, or higher education challenges like developing career pathways and building faculty supports.
PIT-UN is an initiative of New America’s Public Interest Technology Program.
Andreen leads PIT-UN’s strategy, growth, partnerships and fundraising. Her PIT interests include identifying opportunities for multi-sector collaboration through the annual PIT Convening, expanding the Network globally, and building an ecosystem to support PIT products and entrepreneurs.
Brenda manages PIT-UN’s programming, which includes PIT-UN membership, RFP’s & Challenge Grants, education and conferences. Her PIT interests include helping members to institutionalize PIT, seeking out new members and showcasing the outcomes of working groups. Reach out to her to connect with other members or for support in developing your PIT program.
Sheetal manages PIT-UN’s equity, inclusion and justice strategy while working with MSI members to develop and sustain their PIT programs. Her PIT interests include working with MSIs to ensure they have the resources they need to do the work they are excited about. Reach her if you're looking for a thought partner to discuss how to best capitalize on your current research docket.
Alberto manages internal capacity-building and external partnership development. His PIT interests include technology & policy, public innovation and digital government. Reach him for questions about partnerships and collaborations on Public Interest Technology.
Vontisha keeps the PIT-UN team running smoothly by managing internal timelines, processes and priorities. Her PIT interests include equity, inclusion, and justice. Reach her for questions about collaborations at New America.
Kip manages PIT-UN’s newsletter, website, events and communications strategies. His PIT interests include weaving together the Humanities and STEM through experiential education and public conversation. Reach him for questions about contributing to PIT-UN publications, speaking opportunities and effectively communicating your PIT work.
A leading public interest technologist, Afua provides strategic planning and program design support for a number of PIT-UN initiatives, including exploration of the private sector's role in the PIT ecosystem, facilitating the annual Network Challenge, and support of cyber program development inside and beyond academia.
Mary works with the PIT-UN leadership on strategic communications, development and events, including overseeing the launch of the PIT-UN Summit. Her PIT interests include providing Network members, partners and supporters with a multifaceted platform to message and celebrate their work to a wider audience.