Hi, I'm Michelle Spektor.
I'm a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing at MIT. Previously, I was a Lecturer at Tufts University’s Science, Technology, and Society Program, and I have a PhD in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society from MIT.
My research examines why states are increasingly using biometric identification systems – like ID cards or databases incorporated with fingerprints, facial data, or other body measurements – as tools for identifying their own citizens. My dissertation, which won the Society for the History of Technology’s Kranzberg award, explored this question by tracing the shared history of British and Israeli biometric systems since 1904. Recently, I wrote an article for The Washington Post that brings insights from my research to bear upon pressing ethical and policy questions about contemporary surveillance technologies.
My work is situated in the History of Science and Technology, and Science and Technology Studies, and contributes to interdisciplinary scholarship on the relationships between technology, state governance, and national belonging. In 2020 and 2021 I was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and the Institute for Human-Centered AI, at Stanford University. My research has also been supported by the National Science Foundation and a Fulbright fellowship.
spektor [at] mit.edu
Thinking about doing a PhD? I welcome inquiries from anyone interested in applying to the History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) program at MIT.
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