Aoko Creative Portraits - Chelsea-3.jpg

My work has been covered in places like The Atlantic, WiredMotherboard, Newsweek, Boston Globe, and CBC

Tweet me: @chels_bar

Mail me: cbarabas at media dot mit dot edu

In a nutshell.

I am a research scientist at MIT, where I examine the spread of algorithmic decision making tools in the US criminal justice system. I work with an amazing group of interdisciplinary researchers, government officials and community organizers to unpack and transform mainstream narratives around criminal justice reform and data-driven decision making.

Formerly, I was the Head of Social Innovation at the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative, where I examined the social and political implications of cryptocurrencies and decentralized digital infrastructure. 

I also did my graduate work at MIT, where I got the chance to work alongside a brilliantly eclectic group of professors, researchers and students in the Comparative Media Studies Program and at the Center for Civic Media in the Media Lab.

With this community I have explored a wide range of issues related to the use of emerging technologies to serve the public good -- everything from citizen data collection in Brazil to conservation drones in Kenya and ed-tech workshops in Peru. Common across all my work is a general interest in building and critically examining technologies that aim to serve the public interest. 

The main focus of my graduate research was on understanding the U.S.'s ongoing struggle to cultivate and hire a diverse technical workforce. For my thesis, I worked with CODE2040 to take a close look at the overlooked biases and limitations inherent in the tech industry's current recruitment practices.  

These days I split my time between Nairobi, Kenya and Cambridge, MA. In my free time I write fiction and play musical instruments badly and loudly.