Digital Harms and Impact

etched GPU

Year: 2022-2023
Research Team Type: Student-led
Team Organizer: Ji Su Yoo
Disciplines: Information, cybersecurity, public policy

Digital and online harms have recently been brought to the forefront of public discourse given the role of technology companies in facilitating and even causing harm to marginalized and vulnerable populations such as children, teens, people with disabilities, stigmatized identities, and protected groups. Digital harms can (1) happen online, (2) be instigated online and lead to in-person harm, (3) incite violence and harm offline, and (4) last longer than one instance of harm. The repercussions are significant, both in social and public life, because of the massive scale and intensity that these harms can have on individuals, communities, and society.

This Matrix Research Team will examine the impact of digital harms, violence, and trauma, including how frameworks of justice should inform our approach to addressing different forms and manifestations of interpersonal and structural harms. They are also interested in how harm can be obscured by algorithms and data-driven policies to maintain and reify power. The team’s members, largely from the UC Berkeley School of Information, are all tackling a dimension of this research area, including examinations of algorithmic harms, mitigation tools, consumer protection, surveillance, housing displacement, misinformation, and humanitarian efforts. They are developing creative ways to address the issue and useful ways to publicly communicate how these harms present themselves on multiple levels and in multiple contexts.

Image: Fritzchens Fritz / Better Images of AI / GPU shot etched 5 / Licenced by CC-BY 4.0