Renée Cummings
University of Virginia

Professor Renée Cummings, a VentureBeat AI Innovator Award winner, is an artificial intelligence (AI), data and tech ethicist, and the first Data Activist-in-Residence, at the University of Virginia’s (UVA), School of Data Science, where she was named Professor of Practice in Data Science. She is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow, in Governance Studies, at the Center for Technology Innovation, at the Brookings Institute, and co-director of the AI Equity Lab at the Brookings Institute.

Professor Cummings is also the Inaugural Senior Fellow in AI, Data and Policy at All Tech Is Human, a leading international think tank. A distinguished member of the World Economic Forum Data Equity Council, the World Economic Forum AI Governance Alliance, the AI & Equality Initiative at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Professor Cummings is also a member of the Global Academic Network, at the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), Washington, D.C. 

Listed, among the world’s top 100 women in AI ethics, Professor Cummings is also among World Summit AI’s Top 50 AI Innovators and among Inspired Minds AI Brains Hall of Fame. Professor Cummings is also a criminologist, criminal psychologist, and a therapeutic jurisprudence specialist. A former journalist and broadcaster, she serves as an advisor to the Center for News, Technology & Innovation (CNTI) which examines the impact of digital technologies on journalism, a free press and access to quality information globally.

Committed to stretching the imagination of data science, reimagining the relationship between data and society, and redefining the data power structure, Professor Cummings works at the intersection of technology, power, and society. She examines the ethical implications of data on society, exploring the long-term impacts of AI and Generative AI, expanding our understanding of the ethical risks of AI and Generative AI and how to build ethically resilient, rights-based technology that is responsible, sustainable, justice-oriented, and trauma-informed for the benefit of all. 

Her research focuses on augmented collective intelligence, integrating virtual reality into everyday systems, data justice, data trauma, algorithmic policing, surveillance technology, and AI for criminal justice reform; using data to enhance police accountability and transparency and improve police practices and decision-making accuracy through community engagement and public interest technology. 

Professor Cummings specialises in AI leadership, AI policy development, AI governance, public sector AI, AI risk management, AI crisis communication, and using AI to save lives. Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are critical aspects of her work as she promotes inclusive innovation and ethical, responsible, and trustworthy AI. Her work extends to include disinformation, democracy, representation, identity, and governance.

Professor Cummings is committed to using AI to empower and transform, helping governments and organisations navigate the AI landscape and develop future AI leaders. She is a champion for the voices of the historically underrepresented in STEM, increasing the visibility, and amplifying the voices of underserved communities, in AI, and new and emerging technologies, forcing us to stretch the imagination of AI. 

Through her activism and research, she is creating space for people without traditional power to participate meaningfully in the process of designing, developing, deploying, and adopting AI. Through rigorous thinking, meaningful participation, and scholarship, Professor Cummings advocates for AI we can trust. She is on the frontline of ethical AI, generating real time solutions to the consequences of AI and the impacts of data and technology on society. 

A thought-leader, motivational speaker, and mentor, she has given a multitude of talks to conferences, groups, and policymakers, including in the U.S. Senate, and is a recognised expert who lectures, nationally and internationally, on ethical data science and ethical AI and offers expert analysis on national and international television. She has mastered the art of creative storytelling, science communication and deconstructing complex topics into critical everyday conversations that inform and inspire.