Touching Correlations: A hands-on Workshop on Machine Learning

The Women and Surveillance Initiative just announced a workshop on Machine Learning. Please consider joining us!

Touching correlations: A hands-on Workshop on Machine Learning
Organized by the Women and Surveillance Initiative, NYC
18.-19. July 2015
Location: Data and Society Offices

Are you interested in how computers use algorithms to learn from data? Curious what kinds of things machine learning can be used for? Want to understand and discuss the culture of machine learning? Then join us for a participatory workshop!

Networked machines amassing large databases and running powerful machine learning algorithms touch all aspects of our lives, and yet they mainly remain a black box. These systems are increasingly used for face recognition, targeted advertisement, predicting consumer behavior, medical predictions, social network analysis, financial predictions, and yet sometimes even the experts will not be able to explain why they work, what it means to say that they “work”, or to comprehend the work they do in social settings. At this workshop, we will try to open the black box of “Machine Learning” and discuss what actually goes into making these kinds of predictions. After a primer on the basic concepts and procedures, we’ll do some hands-on experiments looking at real world datasets and discuss collectively the different elements that make up what machine learning.

Our objective is to explore machine learning from the perspective, experience and expertise of the participants. No prior knowledge of mathematics or algorithms is required, nor should having such expertise hold you back from participating. We are in the process of preparing a short reading/video list that can be used prior to or after the workshop for further exploration. We also recommend installing Weka, an open source software used for machine learning [0], on a device that you bring along. We hope that throughout the workshop, we can experiment with and make sense of the practice of machine learning based on our everyday experiences.

If you have a background in machine learning, and would like to help us make this workshop happen, please get in touch with us before 13th of July.

The workshop will take place on the 18th and 19th of July from 10am-4pm at the premises of Data and Society [1]. Those interested in participating should register by the 13th of July by sending an email to

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. We will provide some drinks and snacks and would appreciate a donation of up to 10$s from participants. Participation is limited to 20 people.

Touching Correlations is organized by the Women and Surveillance Initiative based in New York City. The workshop is open to all past, present and future women or anyone who feels like they have a place in a women’s community.

[0] Weka Data Mining Software:
[1] Data and Society