Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
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Emerson Hall, Room 105, 25 Quincy St., Cambridge

Science & Democracy Lecture: "The Limits of Ethical A.I." with Joichi Ito

The Program on Science, Technology & Society at HKS presents the latest installment of the Science & Democracy Lecture Series:

"The Limits of Ethical A.I."

JOICHI ITO, Director, MIT Media Laboratory


Joshua D. Greene, Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Nicco Mele, Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University; Former Dean, Harvard Law School

Moderated by:

Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School

Public discourse on the ethics and governance of AI is increasingly dominated by a particular vision of the solutions: the promotion of voluntary "responsible practices" over enforceable regulations; the reduction of complex epistemological concerns to questions of "bias"; the attempt to settle political disputes with algorithmic formalisms of "fairness." The talk will examine the limits and implications of this vision, and offer an alternative formulation of the key challenges.

JOICHI “JOI” ITO is the Director of the MIT Media Lab. He is also Professor of the Practice at MIT, a Visiting Professor of Law from the Practice at the Harvard Law School, chairman of the board of PureTech Health, and serves as a board member for various organizations including The New York Times Company, the MacArthur Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and Digital Garage. He is the former chairman and CEO of Creative Commons and a former board member of ICANN, The Open Source Initiative, and The Mozilla Foundation, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an Independent Senior Advisor to the Minister for Financial Services of Japan and a member of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Center of Innovation STREAM governance committee. He is a Distinguished Researcher of Keio Research Institute and the Internet & Society Lab at Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan, and a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He was also the author in 2016, with Jeff Howe, of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future. Ito received a Ph.D. from The Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance in 2018 for his thesis, “The Practice of Change.”

Once a semester, the STS Program, with co-sponsorship from other local institutions, hosts an installation in its Science and Democracy Lecture Series. The series aims to spark lively, university-wide discussion of the place and meaning of science and technology, broadly conceived, in democratic societies. We hope to explore both the promised benefits of our era’s most salient scientific and technological breakthroughs and the potentially harmful consequences of developments that are inadequately understood, debated, or managed by politicians, institutions, and lay publics.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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