Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

The Limits of Ethical A.I.

Joichi Ito

Director, MIT Media Laboratory

November 1, 2018, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Emerson Hall, Room 105, 25 Quincy Street


Public discourse on the ethics and governance of AI is increasingly dominated by a particular vision of the solutions: the promotion of voluntary "responsible practices" over enforceable regulations; the reduction of complex epistemological concerns to questions of "bias"; the attempt to settle political disputes with algorithmic formalisms of "fairness." The talk will examine the limits and implications of this vision, and offer an alternative formulation of the key challenges. Video available here


Joshua D. Greene

Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Nicco Mele

Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Martha Minow

300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University; Former Dean, Harvard Law School

Moderated by

Sheila Jasanoff

Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School

About the speaker

Joichi “Joi” Ito is the Director of the MIT Media Lab. He is also Professor of the Practice at MIT, a Visiting Professor of Law from the Practice at the Harvard Law School, chairman of the board of PureTech Health, and serves as a board member for various organizations including The New York Times Company, the MacArthur Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and Digital Garage. He is the former chairman and CEO of Creative Commons and a former board member of ICANN, The Open Source Initiative, and The Mozilla Foundation, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an Independent Senior Advisor to the Minister for Financial Services of Japan and a member of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Center of Innovation STREAM governance committee. He is a Distinguished Researcher of Keio Research Institute and the Internet & Society Lab at Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan, and a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He was also the author in 2016, with Jeff Howe, of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future. Ito received a Ph.D. from The Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance in 2018 for his thesis, “The Practice of Change.”