2018 Upcoming Seminars

January 22nd – 23rd, 2018

Digitizing Human Rights, Archiving Activism

Digitizing Human Rights, Archiving Activism

The theme will be issues surrounding the dissemination and preservation of rare and recent materials and archiving of human rights and activism by academic institutions, student and professional involvement, how academic institutions can aid in these projects, facing perils and pitfalls of bias and eye-witness testimony. Alexa Koenig (Executive Director of the Human Right Center, UC Berkeley Law School (winner of 2015 McArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) will discuss students who are aiding in verifying videos sent out of conflict zones in Syria and trying to develop international standards of authenticity; Anat Biletzki (Albert Schweizer Professor, Quinnipiac University), former director of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories will describe their archives and philosophical issues raised by human rights law; Peter Manning (Elmer V.H. an Eileen M. Brooks Chair in Policing, Northeastern University) will discuss ethnomethodological, sociological and technological aspects of policing in conflict zones, including the USA and Northern Ireland. We will also possibly hear from members of the Charlie Hebdo archives project at Harvard University (http://cahl.io/).

February 20th, 2018

Open Access and Research into History: Issues of Copyright

Open Access and Research into History: Issues of Copyright

Casey Westerman, Chief Librarian, Institute for Advanced Study

International issues of Open Access and rare materials will be discussed in the context of copyright and scholarly flow of ideas.  Casey Westerman will discuss some of the complex issues raised by the recent case of Kurt Gödel’s “Max Phil” notebooks, written in Gabelsberger Shorthand and transcribed, edited and published by a French team (http://www.ceperc.cnrs.fr/spip.php?article350&lang=fr) now transplanted to the Berlin-Brandenbur Academie of Sciences (http://www.bbaw.de/en/search?SearchableText=Kurt+G%C3%B6del&x=0&y=0).

March 2018

Accountability in an Age of Algorithms: How Should Ethics & Technology Converse?

Accountability in an Age of Algorithms: How Should Ethics & Technology Converse?

(Co-sponsored with Rafik B. Hariri Institute of Computing, BU).

Ethics and law are implicated in efforts to make the design and implementation of algorithms accountable. Philosophical questions arise at the start: how do the notions of responsibility, jurisdiction, accountability, bias, abuse, and authority figure in a new world of technology, where mixed responsibility among a variety of actors, as well as evolution of systems of information over time, is the new normal? If a set of parameters are used, e.g., in sentencing guidelines, what are we to say and do if a) a longstanding underpowered group suffers differentially or if b) a newly emergent effected group, not recognized as such before, comes before our eyes? How are data on, e.g., gender inequity in pay to be aggregated across a wide range of institutions without incurring legal liability on the part of institutions that house that aggregation and/or violating privacy norms? How is responsibility to be negotiated, even in cases where there is no theoretical way to engineer disaggregation? How may cryptography help engineer openness and inclusion—and how may it provide a backdoor for the end user to run around traditional realms of authority and jurisdiction? How might individuals be incentivized over time to share information of a “private” sort and then have it de-linked or buried? What can be done about cyber-abuse of individuals? Who should decide answers to these questions? (Possible invitees: Jack Copeland; Luciano Floridi (Oxford); others from BU computer science group (cryptography, law, etc.)) (Co-sponsored with BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing).

April 2018

Human & Human-Machine Interface

Human & Human-Machine Interface

Co-sponsored with BU Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science, possibly the French Consulate of Boston.

More information to come!