New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu was catapulted to literary stardom with his breathtaking memoir Stay True, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and countless other media outlets. It also recently won theNational Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography: with his book, the judges note, Hua has “crafted a transformative addition to the Asian American canon and to the critical conception of what a memoir is capable of.”
Stay True tells the story of Hua and Ken, who struck up an unlikely friendship despite their very different interests, and the marks that their time together left on Hua’s life. In a world of immense diversity, Hua shows us how staying open to difference and disagreement can help us develop our own complex identities, both as individuals and as communities.
“We fixate on differences,” Hua tells Lavin, “when what really matters—not just in friendship, but in friendship as a model for community—is the dreams and visions we share, and how we help each other see things that we can’t see alone.”
Our congratulations to Lavin speakers Shalini Kantayya and Sean B. Carroll on their recent Emmy nominations! Shalini’s Coded Bias reveals how machine-learning algorithms, intended to avoid prejudice, carry the biases of the humans that program them. Sean’s documentary, My Garden of a Thousand Bees, features a wildlife filmmaker setting out to film the 60+ species of bees in his urban garden. The Emmy Awards will be presented this September—in the meantime, be sure to catch a screening of these two incredible films!
Shalini directed and produced Coded Bias with her production company, 7th Empire Media. The documentary follows the young Black women at MIT who found that AI facial recognition was biased against Black skin, which led to a deeper worldwide investigation about bias, race, ethics, social justice, and technology. Vice called it “the most important film about AI you can watch today,” and it was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary. As a filmmaker and TED Fellow, Shalini explores the intersection of technology and humanity, tackling tough questions with clarity and nuance.
Sean started and leads HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios, which brings great stories of science and scientists to the screen. He was an executive producer on Tangled Bank Studios’ documentary My Garden of a Thousand Bees, a surprising look at the everyday lives of bees through the eyes of a wildlife filmmaker taking refuge from the pandemic in his urban garden. It was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Nature Documentary. Sean is an internationally renowned biologist and award-winning writer and producer, making science both accessible and exciting for all kinds of people.
Watch the trailers for Coded Bias and My Garden of a Thousand Bees below!