The Cyber Innovation & Society Initiative at the University of Virginia and UVA's Office of the Vice President for Research's Grand Challenge Research Investments Digital Technology and Democracy Steering Committee are pleased to host Stanford Professor Mehran Sahami. Professor Sahami, co-author of System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot, will discuss how big tech’s obsession with optimization and efficiency has sacrificed fundamental human values and outlines steps we can take to change course, renew our democracy, and save ourselves. Attend in person at the UVA Rotunda, or view the talk live streaming:
Biography: Mehran Sahami is the James and Ellenor Chesebrough Professor and Tencent Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2007, he was a Senior Research Scientist at Google. Mehran's research interests include computer science education, machine learning, and ethics. He has published numerous research papers and holds more than 20 patents, including work related to web search, recommendation engines in social networks, and email spam filtering that have been deployed in commercial applications. He served as co-chair of the ACM/IEEE-CS joint task force on Computer Science Curricula 2013 (CS2013), and was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the state's Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan Advisory Panel. He is a co-author with Rob Reich and Jeremy Weinstein of the book System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot.
System Error exposes the root of our current predicament: how Big Tech’s relentless focus on optimization is driving a future that reinforces discrimination, erodes privacy, displaces workers, and pollutes the information we get. This optimization mindset substitutes what companies care about for the values that we as a democratic society might choose to prioritize.
"System Error is a triumph: an analysis of the critical challenges facing our digital society that is as accessible as it is sophisticated. Best of all, the authors offer actual solutions for a reboot that are both timely and feasible."
— Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America
“Read this if you want to understand how to shape our technological future and reinvigorate democracy along the way.”
— Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix