Evan Donahue


Contact information

Evan Donahue
Duke University
Computational Media, Arts & Cultures
United States of America


it's very complicated
Research interests

My background is in computer science & mathematics, as well as media and science studies. My research interests revolve around conceptualizing, designing, scaling, evaluating, and critiquing new (and old) applied AI technologies. In particular, I am interested in the nature of the gap between AI "in the laboratory" and AI "in the wild." AI researchers have often complained that academic AI research rarely translates well into applied industrial technologies, which often require simpler techniques that barely qualify as "AI" as it is understood within the research community. I study this gap through historical and archival research (to understand the shifting configurations between academic AI and industry), textmining (to chart the evolution of research methods within AI), critical studies of AI software (to separate the rhetoric of AI research from the realities of the applied technologies that are ultimately deployed in industrial contexts), computer science (to conceptualize and propose new directions for research), and mathematics (to probe the formal boundaries of AI technologies in relationship to the applied tasks they are ultimately intended to perform). I am also currently working on a project with members of the United States Army Special Operations Command to assess how USASOC researchers, acquires, and develops new AI technologies from academic, industrial, and government laboratories. Hence, "it's complicated."


Member for
1 year 9 months