Technology & Ethics in the Age of Hyper Connectivity

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 at 6:30 PM

TI Auditorium


6:30 - 7:00 PM Networking & Refreshments
7:00 - 8:00 PM Talks
8:00 - 8:30 PM Panel Session
8:30 - 8:45 PM Speaker Appreciation & Adjournment

Chair: MP Divakar
Organizer: MP Divakar, Shoba Krishnan

Session Abstract:Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has been one of the basic building blocks of technological advances that has led to smart phones, autonomous vehicles, robots, consumer products, etc., to name a few. In many developed and developing countries of the world, this “information revolution” has altered, along with other technological advances, many aspects of life that are being increasingly experienced by many. Commercial transactions, employment, medicine, security, transportation, entertainment and many others have witnessed irrevocable changes in recent years. Consequential effects have been both good and bad –community life, family life, human relationships, education, careers, freedom, and democracy, to name just a few examples.

Join Silicon Valley’s IEEE Communication Society in an evening of presentations and discussions of traditional Western ethics theories like utilitarianism, Kantianism, or virtue ethics, to ethical cases that involve ICT and other technological advances. Two distinguished speakers of Silicon Valley –one, a very accomplished technologist Vivek Wadhwa and the other, Prof. Shannon Vallor of SCU will present their views.

Speaker: Prof. Shannon Vallor

Bio: Shannon Vallor is the William J. Rewak, S.J. Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Santa Clara University, where her research and teaching addresses the ethical implications of emerging science and technology, especially AI, robotics and new media. Professor Vallor received the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics from the World Technology Network. She is President of the international Society for Philosophy and Technology, serves on the Executive Board of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, and is a member of the IEEE Standards Association's Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems. Professor Vallor has a special interest in the integration of ethics with software industry and engineering/computer science education, and engages in outreach on this subject with a range of stakeholders within and outside academia, including government, industry, law, media, and public policy professionals and advocates. She is the recent author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Title: AI's Ethical Imperative: How to Humanize Machine Values

Abstract: The rapid emergence of task-specific AI across a broad range of new applications and social contexts creates an unprecedented ethical imperative for AI researchers, designers, and users, and for the institutions that employ them. This is the imperative to create robust structures, norms, and incentives that can be counted on to promote responsible AI design, development, and implementation, in ways that realize AI's full potential to enrich, rather than degrade, the future quality of existence for the human family. Meeting this imperative requires that we improve our understanding of the relationship between machine values commonly reflected in AI design (such as optimality, speed, readability, reliability, and invulnerability), and human values (such as justice, compassion, creativity, liberty, and self-realization) that are harder to operationalize and more closely tied to the complexity of human experience and sociality. Using concrete examples drawn from emerging and prospective applications of AI research, this talk will demonstrate how these different value profiles can be harmonized and made complementary (rather than antagonistic), by means of wise and ethical choices in AI design and implementation.

Speaker: Vivek Wadhwa

Bio: Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and a Director of Research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. He is a globally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which was named by The Economist as a Book of the Year of 2012, and of Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women. Wadhwa has held appointments at Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, and Emory University and is a faculty member at Singularity University.

Title: Our Amazing and Scary Technology Future!

Abstract: Vivek will discuss what exponential technologies are making possible and the risks they create. We can now solve the grand challenges of humanity and build a Star Trek future 300 years ahead of schedule or continue into the dystopia of Mad Max based on the choices we make. This is also the subject of his upcoming book, Driver in the Driverless Car.