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Public Interest Technology at ASU

Public Interest Technology at ASU

Public Interest Technology (PIT) is receiving significant attention. With its long-needed emphasis on the development of technologies and technical expertise that advance the public good, PIT is expanding across the country with ASU helping to blaze the trail.

PIT programs at Arizona State University unite diverse perspectives and disciplines to train tomorrow’s leaders to make a positive difference in their communities. Through research and practice, faculty and students design and apply value-driven technology and engage the humanities, STEM, arts, policy, and ethics to create a future in which everyone thrives.

Put simply, PIT efforts at ASU leverages technology and expertise to advance the public good. We create technology that generates clear public benefit, train technical experts who seek out public service, and systematically study the role of technology in society. This study includes taking a deep look at the unintended, unforeseen, negative and positive implications of technology in civic life. An abiding focus of PIT at ASU is a direct consequence of the university’s design aspirations – which include conducting use-inspired research, being socially embedded and transforming society – and its charter – which commits to “advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.”

Along with 20 other universities, ASU is a charter member of the PIT University Network, organized by civic-minded organizations and funders including the Ford Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, New America and others. This website attempts a comprehensive look at ASU as the PIT university, collecting and linking to many of the university’s curricular, co-curricular, research and engagement activities.

As you’ll see from our work, ASU strongly associates PIT with related concepts such as responsible innovation, humanitarian engineering, and KAITEKI, each of which brings PIT cognates into the global context. While PIT activities are distributed widely across the university, a commitment to social justice, community solutions, leading curriculum, global action, and social and environment well-being unites them. ASU prioritizes the real-world outcomes of PIT, both in terms of influence on policy- and decision-making, but also in terms of the social, ethical, and legal aspects of technologies that help constitute their public interest orientation. We develop community-engaged partnerships across sectors, especially building technical capacity in non-profit organizations whose work aligns with the ASU charter.

A dedication to technological pursuits that make the world a better place thrives at our core. We invite you to join us as a thought and action leader in PIT. We believe that through innovative, interdisciplinary, and socially-engaged research and learning, we can harness science, technology and innovation to advance the public interest.

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