Jesse standing in front of a desert landscape at Caral
 

Hi there! I'm Jesse Dunietz, an AI researcher and science communication expert now working in tech policy.

I work to magnify the positive impacts of STEM research and knowledge, especially in computer science.

 

Hi there! I'm Jesse Dunietz, an AI researcher and science communication expert now working in tech policy.

I work to magnify the positive impacts of STEM research and knowledge, especially in computer science.

Who's this Jesse fellow?

I like to have fingers in many pies.

Current employment

I currently work as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the US Department of State, specifically in the Office of Internet Freedom and Business and Human Rights.

Drawing on my background in both artificial intelligence and science communication, I help the State Department work with governments and companies to ensure that AI and other emerging digital technologies are used in ways that strengthen human rights around the world.

Volunteering

Climate Change AI (CCAI):

CCAI facilitates impactful work at the intersection of AI and climate change.

I run the organization's blog and help with other media and public relations work.

ICAAD

ICAAD is a human rights NGO.

I help the organization think through how human rights work and AI/data science interact, particularly how AI can be both leveraged and guided to make it more beneficial for society.

Outside of work, I ride my bike a lot. Oh, and as many friends can attest, I am easily distracted by birds.

Past lives: How'd he end up doing all that?

A bit about my professional background

In the past, I've worn three main hats:

AI Researcher

At Elemental Cognition, I worked to define the metrics for the company's foundational AI research, to translate that research into real-world applications, and to build the company's public presence.

At Carnegie Mellon University, where I earned my Ph.D. in computer science, I built data resources and automated systems for processing language about cause and effect.

As an undergraduate in computer science at MIT, I assisted with various labs' AI projects.

Science Communication Trainer

At the MIT Communication Lab, I trained STEM graduate students to coach their peers in scientific communication.

At Carnegie Mellon, I co-founded and led the Public Communication for Researchers program.

I have also designed and led scicomm trainings at the national ComSciCon workshop, the AAAS Annual Meeting, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Carnegie Mellon's computer science faculty, among others.

Science Writer

I wrote pieces that helped thousands of people understand and appreciate ideas from computer science and physics that underlie current and future technologies.

As a freelancer and a fellow at Securing America's Future Energy (an energy think tank), I wrote for outlets including Scientific American, Undark, Popular Mechanics, Motherboard, Nautilus, and the SciShow and It's Okay To Be Smart YouTube channels.

As a AAAS Mass Media Fellow, I spent a summer writing technology articles for Scientific American.

In addition, I have worked or interned at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, NASA/Johns Hopkins APL, and Tiverias Apps (creator of the GPush app).

View my full resume

What can he do for me?

I love to put my expertise to work to help others, both in computer science and in communication!

Services I offer include:

Consulting on AI

Drawing on my personal experience with AI research, I provide high-level insights about how today's AI tools work, what they're good for, and what they're not so good for. I specialize in making this knowledge accessible and actionable for non-technical professionals.

Past beneficiaries have included Mad*Pow and ICAAD.

Science Writing

I may continue to write stories and video scripts that shed light on key ideas in computer science, math, and physics. Generally I focus on stories I find myself, but feel free to reach out if there's a story you think I'd like to tell.

This does not include press releases. Please do not send me press releases. I do not write stories about products or even generally about individual studies.

Science Communication Workshops

I help scientists and engineers become better communicators with each other, the media, and the general public. I've trained graduate students at MIT and Carnegie Mellon, CMU alumni, Botany in Action graduate fellows, AAAS Annual Meeting attendees, and even CMU's computer science faculty.

Possible topics include just about any aspect of communicating about STEM. Example titles: How to be a Science Blogger, Talking to the Media, Crafting Explanatory Metaphors, and Becoming a PowerPoint Wizard.

Workshops are highly interactive and extensively customized for each audience.

I'm always on the lookout for interesting ways to be useful, whether or not they fit into the buckets above. If you've got a need, opportunity, or idea you think might be up my alley, please do reach out!

NOTE: Given my current role with the State Department, my ability to provide paid or volunteer services to other parties may be limited.

Get in touch

What's he done in AI and NLP?

Industry Research

At Elemental Cognition:
  • I developed rigorous evaluations for machine reading comprehension systems. Some of the resulting ideas were written up in a 2020 research paper.
  • I implemented extensive logic rules for a travel-oriented demonstration application of the company's automated reasoning tools.
During my two internships at Google:
  • I developed models for rating entities' centrality within a document. Published in a 2014 EACL paper.
  • I explored techniques for identifying high-quality responses to controversial Internet articles.

Ph.D. Work

As a Ph.D. student, I studied methods for extracting structured semantic representations from natural-language text. I looked for ways to incorporate linguistic insights into natural language technologies, most notably the principles of Construction Grammar.

I developed an annotation scheme and associated corpus called BECAUSE, which annotated the cause-and-effect relations stated by a text. The scheme was designed to represent causal relations expressed by nearly any linguistic construction, not just discrete words/phrases.

I also developed two systems for automatically extracting and classifying causal relations: Causeway, a tagger involving learned lexico-syntactic patterns and feature-engineered classifiers, and DeepCx, a neural transition-based tagger.


Publications

Check Google Scholar for a complete and up-to-date list of my publications.

  • Dunietz, Jesse, Gregory Burnham, Akash Bharadwaj, Jennifer Chu-Carroll, Owen Rambow, David Ferrucci." To Test Machine Comprehension, Start by Defining Comprehension." ACL 2020. PDF Presentation
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "DeepCx: A transition-based approach for shallow semantic parsing with complex constructional triggers." EMNLP 2018. PDF Slides
  • Thesis: Dunietz, Jesse. Annotating and Automatically Tagging Constructions of Causal Language (2018). Ph.D. thesis, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "The BECauSE Corpus 2.0: Annotating Causality and Overlapping Relations." LAW XI – The 11th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "Automatically Tagging Constructions of Causation and Their Slot-Fillers." Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "Annotating Causal Language Using Corpus Lexicography of Constructions." Proceedings of LAW IX – The 9th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (2015). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse, and Dan Gillick. "A New Entity Salience Task with Millions of Training Examples." EACL 2014. PDF
  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Jaime Carbonell. "The Effects of Lexical Resource Quality on Preference Violation Detection." ACL 2013. PDF Slides

Non-Archival Publications

  • Dunietz, Jesse, Lori Levin, and Miriam R. L. Petruck. "Construction Detection in a Conventional NLP Pipeline." AAAI Spring Symposium Technical Report SS-17-02: Computational Construction Grammar and Natural Language Understanding (2017). PDF Slides
  • Dunietz, Jesse. "PyDecay/GraphPhys: A Unified Language and Storage System for Particle Decay Process Descriptions." Accepted for publication in DOE Journal of Undergraduate Research, Vol. XI (canceled for funding reasons). Presented as a student poster at the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting. PDF Poster

What's all this about "science communication?"

My Scicomm Story

As a wandering first-year Ph.D. student, I attended a talk at the Carnegie Science Center by John Radzilowicz about the so-called "war on science." John kept emphasizing that scientists needed to do better as accessible and relatable public communicators. In the Q&A, another grad student said he'd love to—if only someone would teach him how! That was the moment the Public Communication for Researchers (PCR) program at Carnegie Mellon was born.

My fellow CMU grad students Ardon Shorr and Adona Iosif joined me in building the training program we wished we'd had access to ourselves. We assembled hands-on workshops with communication experts, practice opportunities, and a supportive community of interested students. We started a group blog and hosted two Story Collider shows. We also pushed for university-run programming of the sort we were offering.

In the process, we became thoroughly enmeshed in the science communication community.

Scicomm Training Work

  • In 2013, I attended the first-ever national ComSciCon conference for graduate student leaders in science communication. In 2014 and 2015, I served on the organizing committee, arranging speakers and hands-on communication training activities for attendees.
  • I co-presented several workshops on scientific and technical presentations for the CMU Alumni Association (webinars), the AAAS Annual Meeting (conference sessions), and participants in the University of Pittsburgh's iSchool Inclusion Institute (workshops).
  • I co-presented two workshops for CMU computer science faculty on being a public intellectual and talking to the media.
  • I taught a workshop on science blogging for graduate botany fellows at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
  • From 2018 through 2021, I worked part-time with the MIT Communication Lab. The program offers peer coaching by STEM graduate students for other students in MIT's engineering departments. I developed the trainings for the peer coaches. I also helped run studies to evaluate the efficacy of our coaching.
  • I have been a member of the SciComm Trainers Network since its launch in October 2019.

Get in touch about scicomm training

Science Writing

I began blogging and later doing paid freelance work as a Ph.D. student. I found a niche writing about complex topics in computer science and physics.

Some of my writing experiences:

  • In 2017, I was a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Scientific American.
  • After graduating from my Ph.D., I was a Technology, Energy, and Society Fellow at Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), an energy policy think tank. SAFE sponsored me to write for various outlets about autonomous vehicles.
  • I freelanced for several years, particularly for YouTube outlets such as SciShow and It's Okay To Be Smart.
  • At Elemental Cognition, I helped craft the company's outward-facing communications, including whitepapers, blog posts, social media, and technical papers.

Check out my full writing portfolio

Contact

Is there something you'd like to chat about? Something I can help you with?
Please don't hesitate to get in touch!

I split my time between Washington, DC and Tallahassee, FL, but the easiest way to contact me is by email.

Drop me a note