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Conference puts ethics at the core of emerging technologies

Based on the unmitigated success of Kenan’s inaugural Tech Ethics and Governance conference, ethics has a place at the core of emerging technologies.   Hosted by Technically Right: The Ethics of Emerging Technology and Rethinking Regulation programs at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, with co-sponsors at Science and Society and Ethical Tech, this two-day conference considered the ethical challenges of the increasing reach of emerging technology and the governance models necessary to protect an open democratic society.  It marked the first major event for Technically Right as well as the final event for Rethinking Regulation. Themes included (1) how best to regulate and govern emerging tech in ethical ways; (2) data privacy and information security; (3) algorithmic decision-making and accountability; and (4) cyberwar and information warfare.

Speaking about the deep knowledge-base represented in the speakers and attendees, Margaret Hu, Kenan Visiting Professor and Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, says:

 “The keynoters and panelists who presented at the Ethics of Emerging Tech Conference represented an extraordinary depth of expertise. We were fortunate to be represented by scholars, researchers and practitioners from multiple fields and industries, spanning law and public policy, corporate and nonprofit leadership, and government and the public sector. The conference was especially timely in the exploration of how emerging technologies are changing the ways in which we conduct law enforcement and national security through, for example, cyber searches of digital information and cyberwar.”

The conference kicked off with a lunchtime Tech Talk focused on Data Ethics and Sociotechnical Security by danah boyd, Founder/President, Data & Society Research Institute.  Later that evening, Day 1 closed with an evening reception that combined an official welcome to all guests and speakers as well as a “fireside” talk by panelists Davi Ottenheimer (MongoDB), Sarah Bloom Raskin (Duke), and Neil Richards (Washington University).

Day 2 began with a breakfast and presentations to judges by finalists for the Student Tech Policy Challenge: “Kenan Institute for Ethics Policy Prize in the Ethics of Emerging Tech.” Joseph Hahn (“Regulating the Export of Artifical Intelligence”) and Natalie Yu (“Practical and Ethical Implementation of the FDA Pre-Certification Program”) were the winners of the Graduate and Undergraduate categories, respectively. A complete list of finalists and their topics can be found here

Discussions throughout the day centered around Panels on Ethical Considerations in Tech Regulation and Governance, Cyber Searches and Data Privacy, Algorithmic Discrimination and Accountability, Post-Cold War Ethics, and a final tech talk on Data Integrity as a Method for Preserving Democracy by David Becker, Founder and Executive Director, Election Innovation and Research.    A complete list of talks, speakers, and bios can be found here.

Tehnically Right: The Ethics of Emerging Tech  at the Kenan Institute of Ethics will over the next several years advance ethical tech policy and innovation through interdisciplinary research, coursework for undergraduates and graduate students, and convenings of scholars and practitioners.  Shanahan added, “This conference was a great way to kick off this multi-year conversation on the ethics of emerging technology at the Kenan Institute.”  

Technically Right Conference Photo

Technically Right Conference Photo

Technically Right Conference Photo

Technically Right Conference Photo

For Fall 2019, Professor Hu will offer her course, “Data & Democracy: Foreign Interference in US Elections and Cyber Ethics.” 

For more information about Technically Right, visit dukeethics.org