Emma Schmidt

Ph.D. Student, Political Science

Emma Schmidt is a third-year PhD student in Political Science and a fellow at the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab. In 2018, she completed her BA in Politics and Government at University of Puget Sound, where she wrote her senior thesis on the legal and social consequences of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and data collection technology. Emma’s current research interests include the impact of social media on pluralistic politics as well as narratives of techno-utopia and dystopia in political theory, popular culture, and science fiction.

At the Tech Ethics Lab, Emma is exploring the role of two speculative emotions, fear and hope, in communal responses to new technology. Her project considers the way that professionals, laypeople, and government officials discuss technologies like artificial intelligence, positing that each group’s concerns highlight different human values (individuality, privacy, freedom, safety, equity, and economic stability), all of which should be considered by the stakeholders at the forefront of technological change. Shifting focus away from the speculative threats of singularity and mass automation, Emma’s work foregrounds the way technology can better the lives of individuals on a daily basis.