2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Filters, Bias, & Collaboration

#sxsw #sxBias

ATTENTION: You must signup in advance to attend this workshop. You will need to have a valid SXSW badge, and an activated SXsocial account. To reserve your seat, please go here: https://sup.sxsw.com/schedule/IAP25709

Learn how to track individual and collective bias. Participants will learn more about how these biases work, tools that can track and recognize bias, and how to address bias, whether it is in hiring and selection practices, survey design, or media consumption.

Our workshop will work together to define bias, in theory and practice, and discuss how to measure it, recognizing that bias exists, whether its based on experience, pattern recognition, indoctrination or other factors. We’ll offer recent case studies and showcase a few of the latest tools that use design and data to monitor bias and expose the filters that limit access to a diverse network. We’ll share what we’ve learned from collaborating to build FollowBias, a tool that tracks the gender of who you follow on Twitter.

We are also very eager to incorporate the knowledge and experiences of our participants prior to as well as during the workshop. If you have a case study or tool you’d like to share in advance, please email us at SXSWBiasWorkshop@gmail.com. After sharing best practices, we’ll work in small groups to try out these tools in a role-playing scenario. We'll then re-assemble and share what we’ve discovered with others who are interested in monitoring, measuring, and altering our biases.

- An appreciation that we are all biased---and we can all do better, individually and collectively.

What to Bring:
- If possible, please bring a laptop (unless its heavy), smartphone or tablet. Participants can share with each other as needed.



J Nathan Matias

Research Asst

MIT Media Lab

J. Nathan Matias collaborates on technology, research, and communities which empower people to become more creative, more effective, and more informed. He's a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab Center for Civic Media, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts.

Before joining the Media Lab, Nathan was an early software engineer for tech companies involving human computation and machine learning, including SwiftKey, Dressipi, and Texperts.


Sarah Szalavitz



SARAH SZALAVITZ is the founder and CEO of 7Robot, a social design firm. 7Robot works with brands, studios, and platforms to transform their businesses, build cross platform communities and systems that optimize choice and foster participation. Meshing behavioral economics, experience design, and social media, 7Robot helps clients transform storytelling into storysharing, or publishing into participation.

Sarah has consulted for a variety of old and new economy companies, including CSG, Digitas, Generate, Hasbro, Microsoft, Nokia, and Next New Networks, and serves as an advisor to several start-ups. Prior to founding 7Robot, she acquired content for Veoh Networks, putting together over 1000 deals with content creators and owners, ranging from Facebook to MTV to Ask a Ninja. She produced www.aliveinbaghdad.org, www.awkwardsexstories.com, and the Webby nominated www.zaproot.com. Sarah served as a development executive at Brooklyn Films and briefly practiced law. She attended the University of Southern California, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Harvard Law School.

Sarah is an External Fellow at the Center for Future Storytelling at the MIT MediaLab, where she teaches Social Design. She is a member of the Producers Guild, the Television Academy’s Interactive Media Peer Group, and Young Literati’s Steering Committee, as well as the founder of the Delicious Digital Brunch.

Sarah has programmed events including Digitas’s SpeedDating with Brands, HRTS’s Digital Chiefs, and MIT MediaLab’s Storytelling 3. She has moderated panels at conferences including the Broadband World Forum, CES, Digital Hollywood, LATV Fest, Monaco Media Forum, Natpe, OMMA, and SXSW, and served as a panelist at many others. Sarah has also guest lectured at the Columbia College, Film Independent, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, ITP, NYU Film School, UCLA’S Film School and Anderson School of Business, for both the MBA and Executive programs, and USC Cinema School, MBA and Law School.

Thanks to our sponsors

Miller Lite Monster Energy Esurance Chevrolet AT&T IFC Subway Austin Chronicle

Music sponsor

Sonic Bids

Interactive sponsors

Deloitte American Express Pennzoil