Renée Cummings is a criminologist, criminal psychologist, and an AI ethicist who, among other things, specializes in best-practice criminal justice interventions and implicit bias. Given the global Black Lives Matter movement and the fact that there have been numerous examples where technological solutions have been proven to exhibit a biased or even racist predisposition, I thought it is about time to bring this conversation to Singularity.FM.

During this 85 min interview with Renée Cummings, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: the lack of diversity among my podcast guests; her journey from rehabilitating substance abuse and criminal psychology to criminology and AI ethics; the role of AI in treating addiction; #BLM and systemic racism in the US police; overt and covert racism; the American, Canadian and Scandinavian model of policing; the racist bias of predictive policing, criminal justice, insurance, and banking algorithms; ways of challenging the status quo; what defunding the police means and the example of Camden, NJ; Urban AI and it’s mission statement; why and how women of color ought to get involved in AI; why most digital personal assistants like Alexa are female and what it says about sexism.

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Who is Renée Cummings?

Criminologist, criminal psychologist, urban technologist, and AI ethicist, Renée Cummings specializes in ethical and responsible AI, diverse, equitable and inclusive AI design, AI for social good, social justice in AI policy, justice-oriented AI design, AI governance, urban AI and using AI to save lives. A Columbia University community scholar, and the founder of URBAN AI, LLC, she is working at the intersection of AI, criminal justice, epidemiological and urban criminology. Her research explores using AI to make underserved communities and vulnerable populations more resilient. Committed to using AI to empower and transform communities and cultures, she is an innovative collaborator and a multicultural cross-connector of multiple fields.

Renée Cummings has extensive expertise and experience in proactive crime control, crime prevention, and violence reduction. Possessing a hybrid knowledge base, she offers a strategic and systematic approach to best-practice criminal justice interventions; evidence-based law enforcement; designing, developing, and implementing policies that work simultaneously across multiple environments and contexts. She specializes in the application of AI to policing and national security, AI in criminal justice, the homicide investigation, preventing and reducing homicide, gun and gang violence, and law enforcement leadership training. She also specialized in reducing police violence, best practice use of force training, implicit bias training, evaluating officer performance, police reform, and other contemporary issues in policing.

Her training as a criminologist also extends to therapeutic jurisprudence, corrections, rehabilitation, re-entry, restorative justice, and recidivism. Ms. Cummings specializes in audit, planning, and delivery of coordinated criminal justice and law enforcement interventions. She promotes the importance of cross-wiring for criminal justice solutions and knows how to successfully mobilize inter-agency and cross-jurisdiction cooperation. Criminal justice intelligence is what she delivers; assisting governments and organizations to build worldwide links to strengthen crime prevention; incorporating new technologies in existing strategies; developing behavior and hardware systems that interlink to reduce vulnerabilities; tailoring more proactive approaches to violence prevention, public safety and enhancing the quality of life.