Sarah E. Sachs

Postdoctoral Associate, Data Science & Society Lab


Sarah E. Sachs is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, where she is focused on research and teaching development related to the intersection of new technologies, work practices, knowledge, and society. Together with Professors Stephen Hilgartner and Malte Ziewitz, Sarah is designing and launching a new project-based undergraduate course, the Data Science & Society Lab. Broader research interests include the emerging data work practices and the invisible labor of the data society; standards and standardization; team dynamics and group decisionmaking; and the changing landscape of human expertise in relation to machine learning and artificial intelligence. Her dissertation project, The Algorithm at Work: The Reconfiguration of Work and Expertise in the Making of Similarity in Art Data, was an ethnography of an art data classification project in the context  of a private sector algorithmic system. Sarah is currently interested in applying her framework of distributed explanation and repair to the analysis of computational work, in particular the everyday decision-making practices involved in the development and refinement of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence, and the potential social, ethical, and material implications of these practices. Sarah received her PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in 2019. Prior to academia, she worked at Google and various start-ups.


S. E. Sachs (2019). "The algorithm at work? Explanation and repair in the enactment of similarity in art data." Information, Communication & Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2019.1612933