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Play Research


Term:

Spring

Department:

21M: Music and Theater Arts

Faculty Supervisor:

Ken Urban

Faculty email:

kenurban@mit.edu

Apply by:

2/21/20

Contact:

kenurban@mit.edu

Project Description

I am currently working on two new plays and I am looking for assistance in researching these projects. 1.) The Moderate: This is a new play about internet content moderators. While we imagine the videos that we upload to Facebook and YouTube go directly from our computers to the feeds of our followers, the truth is more complicated. All of our internet content is moderated by an unseen workforce, in places as diverse as urban Manila and rural Iowa. No AI, no algorithm is advanced enough to differentiate news footage from torture videos, consensual sexual material from child porn, political commentary from harassment. People make those judgments. But what is their criteria? Major corporations hide how damaging material is kept off their sites by outsourcing that work to contractors who hire an ever-growing workforce of content moderators. I am looking for help with interviewing scientists, researchers and policymakers working in the fields of AI and internet moderation. 2.) Vapor Trail: This is a new play about two strangers who meet in upstate New York who bond over their grief. The play will be workshopped at MIT’s new theater building W97 in March 2020. I am looking for help researching material about beekeeping in upstate New York and how global climate change is impacting the honey industry on the east coast.

Pre-requisites

No-prerequisites but having previously taken Theater Arts courses would be helpful.