Science & Democracy: "The Limits of Ethical A.I."

Ito, J. (2018, November). Lecture: The Limits of Ethical A.I. Science and Democracy Lecture, Harvard Program on Science, Technology & Society. Cambridge, MA.


The STS Program presents a lecture by Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Laboratory, followed by a panel discussion featuring 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; and 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.

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.

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