J. Nathan Matias is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University, where he leads the Citizens and Technology Lab, a public-interest research group that organizes citizen behavioral science and behavioral consumer protection research for digital life. Matias is also pioneering industry-independent evaluations on the impact of tech platform policies in society. Previously, he was an associate research scholar at Princeton University from 2017 to 2019, following the completion of his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab with Ethan Zuckerman on the governance of human and machine behavior in an experimenting society. Matias also served as a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Before MIT, he worked in tech startups, helped start a series of education and journalistic charities, and studied English/postcolonial literature at the University of Cambridge and Elizabethtown College. His writings have appeared in The Atlantic, PBS, the Guardian, FiveThirtyEight, and other international media.
As a Knight First Amendment Institute visiting associate research scholar during the summer of 2022 and summer of 2023, Matias will focus on two separate projects that promote innovative and inclusive paths forward for industry-independent research on technology and society. First, he will continue to co-organize alongside the newly launched Coalition for Independent Tech Research, which aims to advance, defend, and sustain the right to ethically study the impact of technology on society. In addition, he will work on a paper focusing on the importance of diversity in industry-independent research. During the following summer, Matias will develop a multi-year research agenda and plan a convening to be held in the fall of 2023 on reinforcement learning, human-algorithm behavior, and freedom of expression.