1. In a few words, can you tell us about yourself and how you found your way to the academic world?
I studied physics, then I got my PhD in chemistry, then I switched to Social Anthropology and finally I got my PhD in Sociology and Anthropology, again. That is to say, I am no example of vocation or paths to follow.
I am a curious person about things and I think, that attitude is a really interesting position someone can acquire: the infinite hunger for answers. Coupled with the good fortune of having the support of people who love you, it makes you a person full of love for things and people. The approach to the academic world came hand in hand with research; it is necessary to share your ideas, discuss them, refute them and propose them again. There is no better way to do that, than in a classroom with students thirsty for answers about things and people.
2. What is the main core of your research? Can you give an example or two?
There have been several fields, but today I am very focused on questions about human agency, why we live as we do and for whom we do we live?. To reflect on these issues, the field of public decision makers, public policies and the position left to the citizen in the autonomy of his own life is an excellent approach. In particular, I work on algorithmic discrimination in administrative spaces of access to justice with a Human Rights approach.
Many of the decisions that allow us to live better are administered by officials who depend on computer systems that they do not know. The sophistication of these programs and the advance in their autonomy of decision makes us more and more exposed to automatic decisions: that separate both the decision maker and the decision maker. Can you imagine that an area so fundamental for the guarantee of life, such as the institutions of justice, segregates the population when it comes to accessing the guarantees of the legal defense system? This is a terrible scenario.
3. Why choose this area over all others? Did your personal or professional background lead you to it?
No, not at all. It was definitely the people I have met throughout my life that have made it possible for me to be here today. I have been lucky enough to meet people from whom I have learned how to improve the lives of others, what to do to solve a problem, that spaces of understanding do not exist but must be created, and that power must always be distrusted. The answer to why I am working on this is because I sincerely think that it is necessary, that my contribution is sincere and that the more of us who do it, the better it will be for all of us.
4. Do you think that in this cyber age these issues are even more complex compared to other times in history? If so – in what ways?
Wow... that's a spectacular question. Probably a power theorist, a researcher, would answer no, because domination has always circulated the same and only the forms have changed. But, I think that indeed the forms are closely related to generational times and it is important that each generation reflects on its problems, challenges and make proposals. So, I think so. I think our cyberage has something very interesting specific to think about: the forms that circulate digitally to make us believe we are autonomous, how we mediate our online-offline lives to be the cyborgs that we are and why we haven't quite achieved the full redemptive potential that this era should give us.
5. What is the next phase in your professional life?
I would like to travel again. I would like to meet people face to face to share and continue to discover how different ways of being, feeling and thinking are measured and conditioned by technology to create new citizens.
6. What is your message to the public?
I don't have a message for the public, but I would like to encourage people to travel with their eyes and hearts open to genuinely discover that the world is really big and that we have in our hands the ability to understand each other through technology, that life is better in company and that, no matter what happens, no matter what they tell us, we can all make things change.