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System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot

Event Date: 
Saturday, October 23, 2021 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
The operating system of Big Tech is broken. Armed with an understanding of how technologists think and exercise their power, three Stanford professors—a philosopher working at the intersection of tech and ethics, a political scientist who served under Obama, and the director of the undergraduate Computer Science program at Stanford (also an early Google engineer)—reveal how we can reboot. They worked together to create a popular course to transform how tomorrow’s technologists approach their profession. Now, as the dominance of big tech becomes an explosive societal conundrum, they share their provocative insights and concrete solutions to help everyone understand what is happening, what is at stake, and what we can do to control technology instead of letting it control us.
Robert Reich, MA ‘98, PhD ’98, professor of political science, and, by courtesy, of education in the Graduate School of Education. Professor Reich is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and associate director of Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. His scholarship in political theory engages with the work of social scientists and engineers. Professor Reich is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford’s highest honor for teaching.
Mehran Sahami, ‘92, MS ‘93, PhD ‘99, the James and Ellenor Chesebrough Professor of Computer Science. Professor Sahami’s research interests include computer science education, artificial intelligence, and ethics. An award-winning instructor, he teaches a variety of courses in computer science, including CS106A: Programming Methodology, which teaches an interdisciplinary class on computers, ethics, and public policy. He has also served as chair of the ACM Education Board, an elected member of the ACM Council, and was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the state's Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan Advisory Panel.
Jeremy Weinstein, professor of political science and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy ResearchProfessor Weinstein is faculty co-director of the Immigration Policy Lab and the Data for Development Initiative and faculty director of Stanford Impact Labs. His research focuses on civil wars and political violence, ethnic politics, the political economy of development, democracy and accountability, and migration. 


Together, these Stanford faculty have written the book: System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot.

The Stanford Bookstore will be on-site for a sales and signing before and after this program and the author will be available to sign books after the talk.

We are video recording this program and will post it to the Stanford Alumni YouTube channel in a few weeks. For more faculty talks like this one, subscribe to the Stanford Alumni Learn list.

Admission for Classes Without Quizzes and Tours is included in the daily and all-access passes.They are all first-come, first-served, please arrive early to guarantee a spot.Capacity: 587