Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Schedule + Topics

Main content start

Overview of the Course

The course will begin and end with wide-ranging discussions that frame the topics of the course and reflect on the challenges going forward. In between, each of our class meetings will center around a particular technological frontier and its associated challenges. We selected these technologies because we believe they will impact society in significant ways over the next decade. Moreover, each illustrates areas in which technologists can benefit from greater engagement with non-engineering disciplines including philosophy, social science, and public policy.

The course also foregrounds a set of issues that transcend any one particular technological innovation, including business models and practices prominent throughout the tech industry. We anticipate that these crucial topics, including the explosion of the attention economy and debates about diversity in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, will surface throughout our conversations.

The discussions we are hosting are intended to showcase multiple -- and often opposing -- perspectives. We hope to both learn from and challenge each participant in the course through respectful yet critical engagement with their ideas and the complexities of the topics we will discuss together.


January 16: Intro + Opening Session

Guest Speakers
Reid Hoffman (Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners)
Nicole Wong (Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Former Legal Director of Products, Twitter; Former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Google)

January 23: Algorithmic Decision-Making and Accountability

Guest Speakers
Jeff Larson (Managing Editor, The Markup)
Safiya Noble (Associate Professor, UCLA; Author, Algorithms of Oppression)
Nikhyl Singhal (Chief Product Officer, Credit Karma)

February 6: Facial Recognition, Data Collection, and Privacy

Guest Speakers
Rob Sherman (Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook)
Rick Ledgett (Former Deputy Director, National Security Agency)
Jennifer Lynch (Surveillance Litigation Director, EFF)

February 20: AI and Military Use

Guest Speakers
Courtney Bowman (Privacy and Civil Liberties Team Lead, Palantir)
Avril Haines (Former White House Deputy National Security Advisor; Former Deputy Director, CIA)
Mike Kaul (CEO in Residence, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental)

March 6: Power of Private Platforms

Guest Speakers
Alex Stamos (Former Chief Security Officer, Facebook; William J. Perry Fellow, Stanford)
Marietje Schaake (Member, European Parliament, from the Netherlands)
Krishna Bharat (Founder of Google News)

March 13: Concluding Session

Guest Speakers
Brian Acton (Co-Founder, WhatsApp)
Ellora Israni (Harvard Law)
David Siegel (Co-Chairman, Two Sigma)