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System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot is a forward-thinking manifesto from three Stanford professors—experts who have worked at ground zero of the tech revolution for decades—which reveals 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.
ROB REICH is a philosopher who directs Stanford University’s Center for Ethics in Society and is associate director of its new Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. He is a leading thinker at the intersection of ethics and technology, a prizewinning author, and has won multiple teaching awards. He helped create the global movement #GivingTuesday and serves as chair of its board.
MEHRAN SAHAMI was recruited to Google in its start-up days by Sergey Brin and was one of the inventors of email spam-filtering technology. With a background in machine learning and artificial intelligence, he returned to Stanford as a computer science professor in 2007 and helped redesign the undergraduate computer science curriculum. He is one of the instructors of Stanford’s massive introductory computer programming course taken by nearly 1,500 students per year. Mehran is also a limited partner in several VC funds and serves as an adviser to high-tech start-ups.
JEREMY M. WEINSTEIN went to Washington with President Obama in 2009. A key staffer in the White House, he foresaw how new technologies might remake the relationship between governments and citizens, and launched Obama’s Open Government Partnership. When Samantha Power was appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations, she brought Jeremy to New York, first as her chief of staff and then as her deputy. He returned to Stanford in 2015 as a professor of political science, where he now leads Stanford Impact Labs.
This event will be moderated by Julián Castro, who served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017. Before that, he was Mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas — the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at the time. In 2012, he gave a rousing keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, during which he described the American Dream as a relay to be passed from generation to generation. After his historic campaign for president in 2020, Secretary Castro launched People First Future in May to help elect bold, progressive candidates whose campaigns are focused on improving the lives of all people they hope to represent. In September, Secretary Castro launched "Our America with Julián Castro," a podcast with Lemonada Media that puts a spotlight on vulnerable communities and takes a humanizing and hopeful look at how drastically the American experience shifts from one person to the next. In July, Secretary Castro became an MSNBC/NBC Political Analyst