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The Technically Human Podcast
61 minutes | Jan 27, 2023
Human First AI
In this week's episode, I am joined by Dr. Christopher Nguyen. We talk about the emerging concept of "human first AI," and the changing terrain of both AI ethics, and AI development. We imagine what a human-first approach to AI might look like, and what gets in the way of developing an ethical approach to AI in the tech industry. Christopher Nguyen’s career spans four decades, and he has become an industry leader in the field of Engineering broadly, and AI specifically. Since fleeing Vietnam in 1978, he has founded multiple tech companies and has played key roles in everything from building the first flash memory transistors at Intel to spearheading the development of Google Apps as its first Engineering Director. As a professor, Christopher co-founded the Computer Engineering program at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, or HKUST. He earned his Bachelor of Science. degree from the University of California-Berkeley, summa cum lauday, and a PhD. from Stanford University. Today, he’s become an outspoken proponent of the emerging field of “AI Engineering” and a thought leader in the space of ethical, human-centric AI. With his latest company, Aitomatic, he’s hoping to redefine how companies approach AI in the context of life-critical, industrial applications.
43 minutes | Jan 20, 2023
Science for the 21st Century: Understanding Systems Biology
This week, I turn my mic over to a guest host, for an interview with Dr. Jared Roach about the growing field of systems biology, an interdisciplinary field of study taking over the biological sciences, focused on complex interactions within biological systems. How can we update the study of biology for the 21st century? How can computational and mathematical analysis help us understand biological systems? And what can we newly see or understand about ourselves if we the way that complex networks interact within our bodies? Today's host, Zoë Gray, is a math major honor student at Cal Poly. She has a background in electrical engineering, and she is particularly interested in considering the pace of technological development, and the ethics of a system of technological production that moves so quickly. Dr. Jared Roach, MD, PhD is a Senior Research Scientist at The Institute for Systems Biology. Starting as a graduate student in the 1990s, Roach worked on the Human Genome Project from its early days through the end of the project. Dr. Roach contributed strategic and algorithmic designs to the Human Genome Project, including the pairwise end-sequencing strategy. He was a Senior Fellow at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington from 1999-2000. In 2001, he became a Research Scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology. His group currently applies systems biology and genomics to complex diseases, focusing on the systems biology architecture of Alzheimer’s disease.
64 minutes | Jan 13, 2023
The Diversity Challenge: Race, gender, and how the histories of medicine and technology got made
In this week's “22 Lessons on Ethics and Technology" special series, I sit down with Dr. Evelynn Hammonds to talk about how race and gender have shaped the histories of science, medicine, and technological development. We explore the divisions between investigations of gender within scientific and technological inquiry, and race within these same fields. How can an intersectional approach challenge our science and technologies to better serve, and include, a broader diversity of people? How have our concepts of science and technology, and our assumptions about what they can and should do, been shaped by exclusions? How can those trained and working in the Humanities can learn from those trained in and working in the Sciences and Technology fields, and vice-versa? How does an understanding of the history of ideas, and the people and forces that have shaped them, inform our ability to build, innovate, and create work cultures that are more ethical and equitable? Professor Hammonds is the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. She was the first Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University (2005-2008). From 2008-2013 she served as Dean of Harvard College and Chair of the Department of History of Science (2017-2022). Professor Hammonds’ areas of research include the histories of science, medicine and public health in the United States; race, gender and sexuality in science studies; feminist theory and African American history. She has published articles on the history of disease, race and science, African American feminism, African-American women and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS; analyses of gender and race in science, medicine and public health and the history of health disparities in the U.S.. Professor Hammonds’ current work focuses on the history of the intersection of scientific, medical and socio-political concepts of race in the United States. She is currently director of the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. Prof. Hammonds holds a B.S. in physics from Spelman College, a B.E.E. in electrical engineering from Ga. Tech and an SM in Physics from MIT. She earned the PhD in the history of science from Harvard University. She served as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer (2003-2005), a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, a Post-doctoral Fellow in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a Visiting Professor at UCLA and at Hampshire College. Professor Hammonds was named a Fellow of the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) in 2008. She served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman and Bennett Colleges and currently on the Board of the Arcus Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of Bates College. In 2010, she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and in 2014 to the President’s Advisory Committee on Excellence in Higher Education for African Americans. She served two terms as a member of the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), the congressionally mandated oversight committee of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Advisory Committee of the EHR directorate of the NSF, and the Advisory Committee on the Merit Review Process of the NSF. Professor Hammonds is the current vice president/president-elect of the History of Science Society. At Harvard, she served on the President’s Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery; the Faculty Executive Committee of the Peabody Museum and she chaired the University-wide Steering Committee on Human Remains in the Harvard Museum Collections. She also works on projects to increase the participation of men and women of color in STEM fields. Prof. Hammonds is the co-author of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently released report (December 9, 2021) Transforming Technologies: Women of Color in Tech. She is a member of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) of the NAS and the NAS Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary degrees from Spelman College and Bates College. For the academic year 2022-2023, Prof. Hammonds is the inaugural Audre Lorde Visiting Professor of Queer Studies at Spelman College.
57 minutes | Dec 2, 2022
The Ethic of Life
This week, we continue our “22 Lessons on Ethics and Technology series” with a conversation with Dr. John Basl about how our relationship with tech is changing what he calls an “ethic of life, an ethical perspective on which all living things deserve some level of moral concern. Professor Basl is an associate professor of philosophy in the department of philosophy & religion at Northeastern University and a faculty associate at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He works primarily in moral philosophy and applied ethics, especially on issues related to emerging technologies. He is an editorial board member for the new journal AI and Ethics. His most recent book, The Death of the Ethic of Life, is available from Oxford University Press. And that’s all for this season! We are staying off our technologies for the winter break—we’ll be back with more episodes of the Technically Human podcast in 2023. The “22 Lessons in Ethical Technology” series is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Cal Poly Strategic Research Initiative Grant Award. The show is written, hosted, and produced by me, Deb Donig, with production support from Matthew Harsh and Elise St. John. Thanks to Jake Garner and Emma Zumbro for production coordination. Our head of research for this series is Sakina Nuruddin. Our editor is Carrie Caulfield Arick. Art by Desi Aleman. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show to make sure you don’t miss an episode! You can find us on your favorite podcast app--Apple podcasts, Google Play, Spotify—or wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy the break, and we’ll see you in January.
61 minutes | Nov 18, 2022
Socio Paths: Navigating the terrain of sociotechnical systems
In this episode of "Technically Human," I host Chris Leong and Maria Santacaterina for a conversation about the growing pervasiveness of sociotechnical systems. You may not know the term "sociotechnical system," but if you've booked a flight online, tried to reach an agent on the DMV's hotline, or tried to contact your congressperson, you almost certainly have interacted with one of them. How have sociotechnical systems changed the way we access services, the way we spend our time, and the way we interact with one another? What are the benefits--and the consequences--of living in a world increasingly organized and processed through these systems? Maria Santacaterina is a Global Strategic Leader & Board Executive Advisor, who has worked in 100+ markets and has over 30 years international experience. She focuses on leading growth, strategic change and digital business transformation, particularly on the level of corporate culture and strategy. She advocates for a new approach to futurist imagining, which she calls “adaptive resilience,” in order to build enduring value and values; while responding to an accelerating rate of change, complexity and exponential technological disruption. Chris Leong is a Transformation and Change Leader with a career spanning over 30 years in financial services, enterprise software and consulting industries globally. He thinks about, writes, and advises on the impacts of automated decision-making and profiling outcomes from all digital services on customers and consumers, the trustworthiness of Socio-Technical Systems and the organisations that deploy them. Together, Maria and Chris have co-authored several landmark articles on STSs, including their piece "Responsible Innovation: Living with socio-technical systems" and "Have you outsourced to a sociotechnical system." Enjoy the episode, and thanks for tuning in! We’re off next week for the thanksgiving break—join us the first week of December for a new episode of the “22 Lessons in Ethics and Technology” series. To learn more about the 22 Lessons on Ethical Technology series, visit www.etcalpoly.org. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show so that you don’t miss an episode. You can find us on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts! We’ll see you in December.
45 minutes | Nov 11, 2022
Outside Voices: Transcisciplinary Approaches to Ethics and Technology
Welcome to another interview in the "22 Lessons in Ethics and Technology" series! In this episode, I speak with Dr. Pavel Cenkl, about the need for intellectual diversity and multidimensional approaches to technological solutions to the major problems of our time. Professor Cenkl discusses how the major problems we face require that we bring together people trained in a wide variety of approaches. Focusing on environmental issues--climate change, ecological destruction, and the possible proliferation of future pandemics--we consider how ethical approaches to technology depend on thinking across boundaries of ideas and including voices across a variety of institutions, cultures, and experiences. Dr. Pavel Cenkl is the Head of Schumacher College and Director of Learning and Land at Dartington Trust. He has worked for more than two decades in higher education in America and has always been drawn to colleges and universities whose curriculum fully integrates learning with practice and thinking with embodiment. Having taught and served as Dean for nearly 15 years at Vermont’s Sterling College, Pavel brings a depth of experience to Schumacher College’s unique approach to experiential learning. While pursuing research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teaching courses in environmental philosophy, Dr. Cenkl is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner. Over the past five years through a project called Climate Run, he has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic on foot in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate. Dr. Cenkl holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of many articles, chapters, and two books: Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010); and This Vast Book of Nature: Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, 1784-1911 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006). He is currently working on a book titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, which threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy and reflections on what it means to be human.
71 minutes | Nov 4, 2022
The Age of Posthumanism
Welcome to our 3rd episode of the "22 Lessons on Ethical Technology" series! We will be releasing new episodes in the series every first and second Friday of the month through the duration of the series. In this episode, I sit down with Dr. N. Kate Hayles, one of the founding theorists of posthumanism, a key term to understanding the changing and dynamic relationship between humans and machines in the digital age. What is the role of the Humanities in understanding our relationship to technology? How have our technological innovations have changed the nature of “the human?" And what is the future of the human relationship to our machines--and to our understanding of ourselves? Dr. N. Katherine Hayles is a Distinguished Research Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles and the James B. Duke Professor of Literature Emerita at Duke University. She teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her most recent book, Postprint: Books and Becoming Computational, was published by the Columbia University Press (Spring 2021). Among her many books is her landmark work How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, which won the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory for 1998-99, and Writing Machines, which won the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She has been recognized by many fellowships and awards, including two NEH Fellowships, a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller Residential Fellowship at Bellagio, and two University of California Presidential Research Fellowships. Dr. Hayles is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. She holds a B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an M.S. from the California Institute of Technology, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. Within the field of Posthuman Studies, Dr. Hayles' book How We Became Posthuman is considered "the key text which brought posthumanism to broad international attention. Her work has laid the foundations for multiple areas of thinking across a wide variety of urgent issues at the intersection of technology, including cybernetic history, feminism, postmodernism, cultural and literary criticism, and is vital to our ongoing conversations about the changing relationship between humans and the technologies we create.
59 minutes | Oct 28, 2022
What it Means to Care: Ethical medicine in the age of tech
In this episode of "Technically Human," I give my mic over to two guest hosts, David Geitner and Roman Rosser, to interview Dr. Robert Pearl about the intersection between tech, medicine, and our health. Dr. Pearl answers questions about the way that technologies are radically reshaping health care; the hosts ask questions about bias in medicine; and the group discusses the ways in which our current system fails to treat us, well, well. Dr. Robert Pearl is the former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group (1999-2017), the nation’s largest medical group, and former president of The Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group (2009-2017). He serves as a clinical professor of plastic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and is on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on strategy and leadership, and lectures on information technology and health care policy. He is the author of Mistreated: Why We think We’re Getting Good Healthcare—And Why We’re Usually Wrong, a Washington Post bestseller that offers a roadmap for transforming American healthcare. His new book, Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors & Patients is available now. All proceeds from these books go to Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Pearl hosts the popular podcasts "Fixing Healthcare" and Coronavirus: The Truth. He publishes a newsletter with over 12,000 subscribers called HYPERLINK "https://robertpearlmd.com/newsletter/" Monthly Musings on American Healthcare and is a regular contributor to Forbes. He has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNBC, NPR, and in TIME, USA Today and Bloomberg News. David Geitner is a third-year Biological Sciences major and Frost Scholar at California Polytechnic State University. He grew up in Yuba City California where he learned to love science, sports, community service, and the outdoors. He works in an on-campus research lab working with protein phosphomimetics for protein-to-protein interactions. David aspires to be a dentist as quality dental care is a necessity for society. David hopes to go into the military as a dentist and provide a service to his country. Roman Rosser is a student studying Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He recently joined the PROVE team which is building a long-distance electric car. Roman hopes to work on designing or building new vehicles and has a particular passion for orbital rockets. His hobbies include lifting, backpacking, surfing and reading. A special thank you to David Geitner and Roman Rosser for hosting this week’s episode, and to Dr. Pearl for joining us for the show. We’ll be back next week with another episode of the “22 Lessons in Ethical Technology special series,” so stay tuned! You can find more information about the 22 Lessons series and the Technically Human Podcast, on our website, www.etcalpoly.org. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show! You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
71 minutes | Oct 21, 2022
The age of privacism
In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Michael Huth to talk about the ethics of data collection, privacy, and the new age of “privacism.” We talk about his new platform, Xayn, we discuss what it looks like to build a company based on ethical principles like privacy and user autonomy, and Michael explains why we should care about our privacy online. Professor Michael Huth is Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of Xayn. He teaches at Imperial College London, where he is on the faculty of the department of Engineering, and he serves as the Head of the Department of Computing, at the Imperial College London. His research focuses on Cybersecurity, Cryptography, Mathematical Modeling, as well as security and privacy in Machine Learning, with with expertise in trust and policy. He served as the technical lead of the Harnessing Economic Value theme at PETRAS IoT Cybersecurity Research Hub in the UK. He holds associations with the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering; the Centre for Smart Connected Futures; the Engineering Secure Software Systems; the Immuno-Pathology Network; and the Quantitative Analysis and Decision Science Section. In 2017, he founded the privacy tech company together with Leif-Nissen Lundbæk and Felix Hahmann. Xayn offers a privacy-protecting search engine that enables users to gain back control over algorithms and data harvesting. Production and research support from Jared Maslin.
59 minutes | Oct 14, 2022
From Tech to Action: Are our technologies changing our ethics?
Welcome to our 2nd episode of the "22 Lessons on Ethical Technology" series! In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh, one of the world's leading experts on ethics and technology, in particular robotics and artificial intelligence. We talk about the way that technologies are changing our understanding of ethics and philosophical thinking, how technologies have added to and altered philosophical thinking throughout history, how new technologies--particularly robots, AI, cybernetics, and memory devices--are changing the way we think, and how we understand our ethical obligations to the world, and to each other. Prof. Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh is a Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology in the Philosophy of Department at the University of Vienna, and until recently Vice Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Education. He is also the former President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT). His expertise focuses on ethics and technology, in particular robotics and artificial intelligence. He is a member of various entities that support policy building in the area of robotics and artificial intelligence, such as the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, the Austrian Council on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, and the Austrian Advisory Council on Automated Mobility. He is the author of 16 philosophy books and numerous articles, and is involved in several European research projects on robotics. From 2012-2014, Prof. Coeckelbergh served as the Managing Director of the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology), and from 2013-2015, he served as the co‐chair of the Technical Committee ‘Robot Ethics’ of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society. He serves on numerous journal advisory boards at the intersection of ethics, society, and technology; he is a fellow of the World Technology Network (WTN) and a finalist of the 2017 World Technology Awards in the category “Ethics”. His new book, Robot Ethics (MIT Press, 2022) is a landmark guide to the ethical questions that arise from our use of industrial robots, robot companions, self-driving cars, and other robotic devices.
62 minutes | Oct 7, 2022
Defining ethical technology: Urgent debates, global dilemmas, and key definitions
Welcome to our very first episode of the "22 Lessons on Ethical Technology" series! In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Herman Tavani to introduce some of the foundational principles of ethical technology, particularly in computing and digital contexts. We focus on how the current need for an ethics of technology developed, and the debates and key moments that gave rise to the current debates about ethics and technology. Professor Tavani introduces listeners to issues and controversies that comprise the relatively new field of digital ethics, or “cyberethics.” We discuss a wide range of ethical issues in digital technologies--from specific issues of moral responsibility that directly affect computer and information technology (IT) professionals to broader social and ethical concerns that affect each of us in our day-to-day lives. We discuss how modern day controversies created by emerging technologies can be analyzed from the perspective of standard ethical concepts and theories. Herman T. Tavani, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Rivier University and currently a visiting scholar (applied ethics) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the author of Ethics and Technology (Wiley), a widely–used textbook that is currently in its fifth edition. His academic publications include six other books and more than 100 articles, reviews, and edited works. He has presented more than 100 invited talks and conference papers at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and in twelve countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. Prof. Tavani has been active in several professional academic organizations; he served as an executive director and later as President of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology, and served two terms as President of the Northern New England Philosophical association. He has been the Book Review Editor of the journal, Ethics and Information Technology since 1998.
61 minutes | Sep 30, 2022
Gary Bengier’s Unfettered Journey
In this episode of “Technically Human,” I interview Gary Bengier, the author of the award-winning science fiction novel, Unfettered Journey. We talk about the relationship between his prior work as a technologist, and his current career as a writer of science fiction; we talk about the relationship between technology, philosophy, and science fiction; and we talk about the possibility of making moral choices in a world governed by deterministic technologies. Gary F. Bengier is a writer, philosopher, and technologist. After a career in Silicon Valley, Gary pursued multiple projects animated by his intellectual passions, studying astrophysics and philosophy. He is the author of the award winning science fiction novel, Unfettered Journey. Before turning to writing speculative fiction, Gary worked in a variety of Silicon Valley tech companies. He was eBay's Chief Financial Officer, and led the company's initial and secondary public offerings. Gary has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MA in philosophy from San Francisco State University. Set in a richly imagined near future, Gary’s novel, Unfettered Journey is a cross-genre novel combining thrilling action, adventure, and a love story. It traces an epic journey – from inside the human mind to the vastness of space, from AIs battling in the desert to the peace of a mountain refuge. It asks social, spiritual, and philosophical questions that reach into some of the major topics of this show. How do human values interact with technological products? How does ethics—that is to say, what we should do or ought to do, change and our respond to our new technological world? And how can science fiction itself transform our vision of who we want to become?
53 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
Command Code: Ethics, technology, and the debate about free will
Welcome back to a new season of “Technically Human!” To kick off the year, I wanted to start out with a topic that has been coming up for me increasingly as I talk to people in Silicon Valley: free will. OK, so I know it might seem a bit odd for a show about ethics and technology to feature what might seem like a purely philosophical concept. But spending time talking to folks in the tech scene, I discovered that the topic of free will comes up quite a lot. I wanted to understand why. The conversations made me wonder what it is about our technological culture—and maybe even our technologies themselves--that has reinvigorated this ancient debate, which extends back into the earliest philosophical traditions, and which is crucial to any concept of ethics. In an age of algorithmic predictions, with tech companies and digital technologies that can anticipate and pinpoint our every move, can we still have free will as we know it? What happens to free will when our genetic technologies can plan what we’ll look like, how physically able we will be, and even who we’re likely to become? How free really are our actions when where we decide to eat is influenced by review sites that promote paid sponsors; where how we spend our money is dictated by data giants who tell us what we should like; and where even who we love is determined by algorithms on dating apps? How do we understand freedom of thought, and action, in an age where our biotechnologies not only record, but also predict and proscribe, how thoughts move around in our mind, and how they become actions? To understand these questions, I turned to David Lawrence, the author of “Are We Biochemical Robots,” a book he wrote in opposition to Sam Harris’s popular argument against free will, a viewpoint endorsed by many in Silicon Valley. Lawrence, who holds a degree in philosophy from UCLA and a degree in law from USC, is a philosopher social critic, and a philosophical proponent of free will, opposing the determinist views held by many new media personalities. Here’s our conversation.
3 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
NEW! ”22 Lessons on Ethical Technology for the 21st Century” Special Series Trailer
Hey Technically Human listeners! We’re very excited to introduce a special series of episodes that we’ll run throughout the year—“22 Lessons on Ethical Technology for the 21st Century.” The series features 22 of the most important thinkers at the intersection of tech, ethics, and human values, from around the world. In the series, I speak with Kate Hayles about how we became posthuman. I sit down with Evelynn Hammonds to talk about race, medicine, science, and technology. Jason Lewis and I talk about indigenous knowledge and technology. And more! Over the series of these 22 interviews, we hope to bring you a panoramic picture of how technology is changing what it means to be human—and how essential features of human society--like art, culture, philosophy, politics, and justice are entangled with tech culture and production. We hope you’ll stay tuned. In addition to the “22 Lessons” special series, this season, we’re coming back with a ton of new exciting episodes from landmark thinkers and leaders in the industry, with guests like Gary Bengier, who debuted his first science fiction novel after a career in tech, notably as E-Bay’s Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Robert Pearl, the CEO of Kaiser health, in an episode about tech, medicine, and our health, and Medha Parlikar, the CTO of Casper Labs, for a discussion about the ethics of the blockchain. It’ll be an exciting year. If you want to learn more, or contact us with suggestions, complaints, or ideas, you can contact us. Be in touch! And don’t forget to subscribe to the show to make sure you don’t miss an episode! You can find us on your favorite podcast app--apple podcasts, Google Play, Spotify—or wherever you get your podcasts. The “22 Lessons in Ethical Technology” series is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Cal Poly Strategic Research Initiative Grant Award. The show is written, hosted, and produced by Deb Donig, with production support from Matthew Harsh and Elise St. John. Our head of research for this series is Sakina Nuruddin. Our editor is Carrie Caulfield Arick. Rate or review us on Apple Podcasts, and feel free to contact us with any suggestions, complaints, or ideas. To learn more about the 22 Lessons on Ethical Technology series, visit www.etcalpoly.org. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show so that you don’t miss an episode!
75 minutes | Jun 30, 2022
Millennial Action Technology: US Senate Candidate Steven Olikara talks tech and political activism for a new generation of leaders **RE-RELEASE**
**RE-RELEASE** Ok, ok ok. So I know I said that we weren’t releasing episodes until September. But this week, we learned that one of our previous guests, Steven Olikara, former Millennial Action Project CEO and current candidate for US Senate, just got one step closer to winning his bid to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 2022 election. Steven is campaigning in Wisconsin for a critical seat in an election year that will determine which party controls the Senate as a majority for the next two years. The Democratic nominee will face off against current sitting senator, Republican Ron Johnson. This is not a political podcast. And I’m not hosting this show as a partisan. But “Technically Human” is a podcast about human values, about the pursuit of ethics and equity in our society, and about how we can build a society that better stands to live up to our human values. So many issues at stake for the future of an ethical and equitable world, technological and otherwise, hang in the balance of this election. Steven is the only candidate in this race that I believe will unequivocally protect, support, and enhance these values. There is only one debate in the Wisconsin Democratic Primary for US Senate and Steven needs 5,000 people to donate by this Thursday in order to qualify for the debate stage. If 5,000 people donate just $1 each by this Thursday, June 30th at 11:59 pm EST, Steven will qualify for the debate and the world will get to hear his message. To support, please visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/olikara_debate. ORIGINAL SHOW NOTES: In this week's episode, I speak to Steven Olikara, founder of the Millenial Action Project (MAP), the largest nonpartisan organization of young lawmakers in the U.S. Steven and I discuss the role of tech in political activism and the challenges of bipartisanship in a technological age. Steven Olikara has been named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy, and a Forward Under 40 by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. JUST IN: This week, Steven announced his decision to form an exploratory committee for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, with the goal of running as a candidate in the 2022 election. To learn more about Steven's campaign and his vision for the senate, grounded in the ideal of dignity for all, visit www.www.stevenolikara.com. Podcast produced by Matt Perry and Ana Marsh. Podcast art by Desi Aleman.
60 minutes | Jun 3, 2022
The Future of the Ethical Technology Workforce
For our last episode of the season, I sit down with Rebekah Tweed to talk about the topic that has animated my research for the past year: The future of what I have been calling the new profession of ethical technology. As listeners may know, for the past year I have led a team of researchers for the National Science Foundation to explore this new profession, to assess what it means, and to proactively define it in order to ensure that workers in this profession can succeed in these roles, and that they can make the ethical difference they were hired to make. So I was especially excited to talk to Rebekah Tweed, the creator of the Responsible Tech Job Board, which features roles that are focused on reducing the harms of technology, diversifying the tech pipeline, and ensuring that tech is aligned with the public interest. It’s the first job board of its kind, it attracts both hirers and job seekers who are interested in creating ethical change in tech, and it is already changing the industry and defining the field. Rebekah Tweed is a leader in Responsible Technology careers, talent, and hiring trends. Alongside her role as curator and creator of the Responsible Tech Job Board, she is the Program Director at All Tech is Human, where she heads up various programs including their mentorship program and university ambassadors program. She is also the Co-Chair of the IEEE Global AI Ethics Initiative Editing Committee and a member of the Arts Committee. And that’s all for this season! We are off for the summer, but we’ll be back in September with brand new episodes of Technically Human. Until then, check out our archives. Enjoy the summer, and see you in September!
60 minutes | May 27, 2022
Battery Power: Dr. John Cooley on the technology replacing fossil fuels
In this episode, I talk to Dr. John Cooley, the Founder and Chief of Products of Nanoramic Laboratories, a company reinventing the transportation industry with new battery technologies to replace fossil fuel consumption in our car economy. We talk about the relationship between ethical innovation and financial success, the state of the auto industry's transition to battery power, the controversial ethics of battery technology, and the growth of the climate tech industry and environmental consciousness. Dr. John Cooley is the founder and Chief of Products and Innovation at Nanoramic Laboratories, a company working to accelerate the adoption and universality of battery-powered transportation. He holds five (5) technical degrees from MIT including the Ph.D. from the Electrical Engineering dept. Dr. Cooley has been issued several patents including four for his thesis work. He has presented and published papers in the areas of power converter control and modeling, linearized circuit analysis, capacitive sensing, building energy management, and in education. His interests lie in energy-related problems of scale and the ways in which we can impact those with technology and policy.
45 minutes | May 20, 2022
Disconnect: Millennials, media, and mental health
This week, I’ll turn the mic over to two guest hosts, for a conversation about mental health and technology with Dr. Elizabeth Barrett, licensed family-marriage counselor, author, and Cal Poly professor. Cal Poly “Technically Human” students Katelyn Travis and Katrina Loye interview Dr. Barrett to discuss the modern implications of digital technologies for family and romantic dynamics. The episode delves into the complications of recent technology, including social media apps and the shift into virtual education due to Covid-19. In a virtual world, we lose connection and intimacy in the relationships that should be most important to us, and Dr. Barrett helps us brainstorm ways that we can reconnect in our coldly digital world. Dr. Elizabeth Barrett is a Psychology and Child Development professor at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she lectures on the topics of counseling, family psychology, child abuse and neglect, and marriage and family therapy. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist of 20 years and a mental health coach specializing in personal growth, family life, and relationship issues. She has worked with the county of San Luis Obispo as a crisis/in-home counselor for a child abuse prevention program where she focused on communication’s importance in individual health and the well-being of a family. Her expertise surrounding family psychology and the psychological impact of our evolving society is enhanced through her roles as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and daughter. She shares her concerns regarding our collective mental health and the direction of the helping professions on her weekly radio program on Public Radio KCBX, A Conversation with the Reluctant Therapist.
67 minutes | May 13, 2022
The Clean Meat Revolution
In this episode, we take a deep dive into the technology of “Clean Meat,” with Paul Shapiro. We talk about the ethics of eating non-human animals, the technological history that led to factory farming and the technology that is allowing human animals to eat meat, in what we might call the "Clean Meat" revolution--a term that nods to the clean energy revolution that has transformed the energy sector. Paul Shapiro author of the national bestseller Clean Meat, published in 2018. When Paul took his first bite of clean meat in 2014, more humans had gone into space than had eaten real meat grown outside an animal. In addition to being among the world’s first clean meat consumers, Paul is a four-time TEDx speaker, the host of the Business for Good Podcast, the CEO of The Better Meat Co., and long-time leader in food sustainability. Paul is a researcher, innovator, industry leader, and public scholar swho has published hundreds of articles in publications ranging from daily newspapers to academic journals. Paul lives in Sacramento, California with his wife Toni Okamoto, author and founder of Plant-Based on a Budget, and their very friendly pit bull Eddie. Clean Meat (2018) is his first book, is a Washington Post bestseller, and has been translated into seven languages. You can read more about Paul’s work and contact him at www.paul-shapiro.com.
43 minutes | May 6, 2022
Intercode: Part 2
This week's episode is the second episode of a 2 part series of Technically Human. Over the next two episodes, I speak with six women/nonbinary/trans individuals about their experiences transitioning into the tech industry after leaving established careers. They share their stories about what led them to decide to leave their established careers and retrain as technologists through the Grace Hopper Coding Academy, a program specifically targeting women/nonbinary/trans individuals who want to learn how to code so that they can pursue careers in the tech industry. We discuss the challenges that women/nonbinary/trans individuals face when pursuing careers in tech. We talk about what tech represents for those who have been historically excluded from it, and their decision to launch their new collective, "Intercode," a platform that seeks to establish a community for Womyn+ in tech to share their stories and forge new connections. Intercode is a collective of voices exploring how the intersection of identity and privilege impacts every facet of the tech industry–including access, culture and the ethics governing the space. Through candid conversation and writing, we work to tackle the ways current DEI efforts can still fall short in fostering inclusive and equitable spaces. The idea for Intercode began with several candid discussions amongst a group of software developers and recent graduates from the Grace Hopper Program, a NY-based bootcamp targeted towards historically underrepresented candidates in the field of engineering. While sharing our perspectives we quickly realized that these discussions were valuable enough to merit a larger audience and began laying the groundwork to create a formal space for us to share these perspectives with the world.
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