2019-2020: The Ethics of Technology

Technological change is everywhere, sparking basic questions: Where are these changes taking us? What values should inform society's choices? In 2019-2020, the Mudd Center will engage a host of questions about "the ethics of technology." How should we think about developments in CRISPR technologies for editing human DNA, what ethical guidelines should apply, and what vision of humanity should the guidelines reflect? In the realm of robotics and artificial intelligence, what ethical considerations should inform the practices of designers, builders, and users? As governments and businesses increasingly use digital decision-making systems, what duties arise to prevent unfair treatment of citizens? As surveillance technologies become ever more pervasive and effective, how should privacy be understood, and what rules should protect it from invasion by the state or private entities? Should the practices of big tech companies - including unprecedented gathering and selling of information about individuals - be regulated, and if so, how? What benefits and risks are associated with Big Data algorithms, and how can the technological revolution be harnessed to contribute to the public good? The aim of this year's series is to explore these and related questions.

Below is a list of upcoming theme-related events and activities. To receive information about these and other Mudd Center events, please join our mailing list.

Speakers and Events

Josephine Johnston Director of Research, Research Scholar at The Hastings Center

Talk Title: The Good Parent in an Age of Gene Editing: How Novel Genetic Technologies Challenge Parental Responsibility
Thursday, September 26, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Jeffrey G. Smith, Jr. Brigadier General (Retired) and Professor of Cyberspace Studies, Virginia Military Institute

Talk Title: An Ethical Framework for a God-Like Intellect
Thursday, October 3, 5:00 p.m.
Hillel Multipurpose Room

Ronald C. Arkin Regents' Professor, Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at Georgia Tech

Talk Title: Robots that Need to Mislead: Biologically-inspired Machine Deception
Monday, October 21, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Helen Nissenbaum Professor of Information Science at Cornell Tech

Talk Title: Privacy as Contextual Integrity: Thwarting the Great Regulatory Dodge
Monday, October 28, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Virginia Eubanks Associate Professor of Political Science at University at Albany, SUNY

Talk Title: The Shakedown State: Digital Debt, Economic Inequality, and Automation in Public Services
Thursday, November 14, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Franklin Foer National Correspondent, The Atlantic

Talk Title: World Without Mind
Thursday, January 30, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Karla Murdock Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Washington and Lee University

Talk Title: The New Appendage: Cellphones in Cognitive and Behavioral Context
Co-Presenter: Wythe Whiting
Thursday, February 6, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Wythe Whiting Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Washington and Lee University

Talk Title: The New Appendage: Cellphones in Cognitive and Behavioral Context
Co-Presenter: Karla Murdock
Thursday, February 6, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater


"Ethics and Technology: Surveillance, Civil Rights, and Cyber-Security"
Thursday, March 12
Stackhouse Theater, 2:30-6:30 pm

Professor Margaret Hu (Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law)
Professor Clare Garvie (Law Fellow, Center on Privacy and Technology, Georgetown Law)
Professor Simone Browne (Associate Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas)
Davi Ottenheimer (Trust & Digital Ethics Technologist; Inrupt)
Merritt Baer (Principal Security Architect for Global Accounts, Amazon Web Services)
Professor Mark Rush (Director of International Education, Waxberg Professor of Politics, Washington and Lee University)
Scott Shackelford (Associate Professor of Business Law and Ethics, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business)

Anne Washburn Playwright

Talk Title: Stories In The Ashes
Stackhouse Theater

Tracy K. Smith U.S. Poet Laureate, 2017 - 2019

Talk Title: This Message Going Out to All of Space
Stackhouse Theater