Abstract: Technology is often designed and deployed without critical reflection of the values that it embodies. Value trade-offs—between security and privacy, free speech and dignity, autonomy and human agency, and different conceptions of fairness—abound in many technologies that are now achieving great scale in commonly used tech platforms. The decisions made by the people inside the companies deploying those technologies impose their value choices upon millions of users, often with negative externalities that are now on full display.
In Reich’s work with policy experts and technologists (particularly “System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot”), Reich tries to provide a multidisciplinary view—the perspectives of a philosopher, a political scientist, and a computer scientist, respectively—to disentangle the systematic drivers that we believe have led to the ethical reckoning that Big Tech is now facing. Reich examines the value trade-offs arising in systems for algorithmic decision-making, questions related to data gathering and privacy, the impacts of AI and automation, and the power of private platforms to control our information eco-system. Reich then discusses the ways we can all play a role in helping to shape technology and the policies that govern it with an eye toward achieving better outcomes for society. Case studies will be used to engage the audience in the conversation.
: Rob Reich is the Professor of Political Science, director of the Center for Ethics in Society
, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
, and associate director of the Institute for Human-Centered AI
. He is the author of “System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot” (with Mehran Sahami and Jeremy M. Weinstein) and “Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better” (2018); “Digital Technology and Democratic Theory” (edited with Lucy Bernholz and Hélène Landemore, 2021). His teaching and writing these days focuses on ethics, policy, and technology.
The meeting will be held in person at PEB 721, on the 7th floor of the UC San Diego Social Sciences Public Engagement Building. Lunch will be served. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options will be available. Kindly RSVP by Apr. 12 at 2 p.m. if you are planning to attend (limited number of seats available!).