Aaron Gluck-Thaler is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He studies the history of surveillance and its relationship to scientific practice.
Aaron’s dissertation provides a history of pattern recognition in 20th-century America. It considers how and why scientists in diverse fields––from anthropology to engineering––adopted practices of pattern recognition. The project focuses on how technical research in pattern recognition acted as an epistemic support for surveillance, changing how people could be identified and what their identity was thought to be composed of. Tracing how pattern recognition, computer vision, and other data classification techniques were embraced by intelligence agencies and corporations, Aaron’s dissertation foregrounds the conditions that have made surveillance today possible. Aaron also works on early histories of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Aaron holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University, an M.Sc. in the Social Science of the Internet from the Oxford Internet Institute, and an M.Sc .in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Aaron’s doctoral research has been supported by Harvard’s Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Fellowship.