Visions of the Future: the Manifestos and Moral Philosophies of Big Tech Companies and Their CEOs (workshop)

 

About this Workshop

Participants can attend live event in NYC or via the video livestream in our private forum — accessible via the web and mobile app. All participants will be given password access to the private forum for live chat with fellow attendees, the Q&A and two additional lessons that will be uploaded to the forum. Workshop limited to 50 attendees at live workshop in NY and 50 attendees for private livestream. Livestream video and workshop resources, exercises and discussion forum will be available up to 2 weeks after workshop.
Instructor:  Oriana Medlicott (AI Ethics Strategist and Research Facilitator)

Guest Speaker: Ge Wang (Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, author of Artful Design: Technology In Search of the Sublime (a comic book manifesto)

Overview

 ” There are no morals about technology at all. Technology expands our ways of thinking about things, expands our ways of doing things. If we’re bad people we use technology for bad purposes and if we’re good people we use it for good purposes.” — Herbert A. Simon

Instructor: Oriana Medlicott

Last year was a year of reckoning for big tech companies that faced fierce backlash from the media, researchers, legislators, consumers and even their own employees, over allegations of unethical practices.

Just the same, 2018 was the year that the general public finally learned (after 10 years of engaging on social platforms, carefree) just how much data, power and influence big tech companies have in all areas of society and our lives (business, politics, education, media, our most private moments) and just how little we know and understand about their intentions to monetize consumer data and the future they are creating with powerful AI technologies.

In a graphic timeline, NYU’s AI Now Institute outlined the tumultuous year of ethics scandals that rocked big tech companies in 2018. This much is undeniable, there is a huge disconnect between the way CEOs of big tech companies view their ethical and moral obligations to their employees, shareholders, consumers and society at large, and what the general public thinks.

The moral compass of big tech companies is most often ingrained in their carefully worded manifesto. Tech company founders have long since embraced publishing corporate manifestos as a declaration of their intent, beliefs, morals, and ethical obligations — it’s their rallying cry to employees to build the company of the future, and their unwavering expression of loyalty to customers:

A good corporate manifesto becomes a blueprint for exemplar attitudes and actions, and is a constant reminder of the need to ‘walk the talk’. It makes it clear to everyone who you are, what you stand for, what you do and why you do it. Little wonder…manifesto in Latin translates to ‘clear and evident’… manifestos have energy, they make a declaration, take a stance, and stand for something important. Corporate manifestos are powerful!” — Brand Council

  • Mark Zuckerberg‘s recently published manifesto, The Global Community (2017) was panned by almost everyone — called a “blueprint for destroying journalism” and a “political train wreck” by journalists;
  • Apple’s manifesto, Here’s to the Crazy Ones (1997), crafted under the leadership of Steve Jobs, is now legendary and credited with inspiring a generation of technological innovation and changed our culture in countless ways;
  • Jeff BezosDay 1 manifesto (1997 ) is considered the seminal philosophy upon which he built Amazon’s empire; and
  • Satya Nadella‘s “giant manifesto,” emailed to Microsoft employees when he took over the reigns as CEO in 2014, was considered a shocking doctrine that demolished Microsoft’s old way of thinking and introduced a radical blueprint for propelling the company into the future (Nadella’s philosophy is credited with Microsoft’s miraculous come-back).

Topics We Will Explore

  • If corporate manifestos are so effective, why are tech companies struggling so much with ethical scandals that are inflicting major damage on their business models, revenues and employee morale?
  • What do the manifestos of tech companies and their CEOs tell us about their moral philosophies?
  • How can we begin to become more knowledgeable about the intentions of tech companies (as outlined in their corporate manifestos and other doctrine) and, when necessary, hold them accountable for how they implement their vision and their missteps when they falter?
  • Are  corporate manifestos of tech companies and their CEOs reflecting who we are today (in all of our diversity and complexities).
  • Are these manifestos reflecting where we want to go as a society in the future and are they taking into account the potentially negative impact their AI technologies might have on society despite their best, utopian intentions?

 

Guest Speaker:  Ge Wang on the His New Comic Book Manifesto

Ge Wang

Ge Wang, Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), will join us via video livestream in our private online forum (accessible via web and mobile app) to discuss his new, innovative book, Artful Design: Technology In Search of the Sublime (a comic book manifesto for these times), published in 2018. After giving a presentation about his book (which he is teaching as a course at Stanford University for the first time), Ge will do an interactive Q&A with attendees. Recent article about the book:  Stanford polymath blazes a new trail with his design manifesto

About the Book: Artful Design — With the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Wang has spent the last three years creating a 488-page, full-color photo comic book about how humankind shapes technology and, in turn, how technology shapes humankind. Artful Design is meticulously designed in the medium of a photo comic. It is uncompromising (it requires some thinking) yet accessible (due to its unconventional visual format). A book about the soul of design, it is itself an artifact of design.

The world of Artful Design is revealed both conceptually and concretely through the design of musical instruments, mobile apps like Ocarina, games, toys, and social experiences. It contains over 100 principles of artful design, and “design etudes” (e.g., expressive exercises) for the reader to explore and enact in everyday life. Across its eight chapters, the book builds an overarching practical philosophy of artful design. Yup. This is a supremely nerdy book. “What we make, makes us.” — Ge Wang

Takeaways

Instructor, Oriana Medlicott (AI Ethics Strategist and Research Facilitator), will review the corporate manifestos of big tech companies including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Mozilla and Google and several tech CEOs including Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Satya Nadella, Steve Jobs and Tim Cook and correlate them to philosophical schools of thought.

Learn the crucial elements of creating a successful corporate manifesto and why some manifestos miss the mark. Explore how the most powerful CEOs in the world communicate their philosophies to the world through their corporate manifestos, what those philosophies are and how they define product development and customer service. Create your own powerful manifesto.

There will be an exercise to be completed in our online forum during the workshop. Please bring a laptop or mobile device to access the internet. Online attendees will participate via the livestream in the forum.

Instructor: Oriana Medlicott

Oriana Medlicott graduated from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom with an MA in Philosophy by Research whilst holding a BA in History with Philosophy.

Oriana’s MA thesis was a research paper on the effects of Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence on Human Nature. The paper explored the human mind, morality and the threats that AI and Biotech could present. The thesis delved deeply into Philosophical thought and thinkers who have deliberated about AI and Biotech looking at ethical consequences and who we should allow to be the policy makers.

Oriana has expanded her knowledge by researching current trends in the media surrounding AI and observing both the ethical and positive outcomes that this can bring to our future. She has experience working in the Arts at Christie’s Auction House in both London and New York within the Special Events and Client Advisory departments. Through working at PayPoint PLC in the UK, she developed her skills in contract checking, data analysis and project management. She spent the summer of 2018 studying at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona to continue her education in Spanish Language and Culture.

At Tech2025, Oriana provides technical consultation on research, current events and industry trends regarding AI, Philosophy, Ethics and Machine Learning.

 

“What we make, makes us.” — Ge Wang

Ge Wang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He specializes in the art of computer music design — researching programming languages and interactive software design for music, interaction design, expressive mobile music, new performance ensembles (laptop orchestra and mobile phone orchestra), human-computer interaction, visualization (sndpeek), music game design, aesthetics of technology-mediated design, and methodologies for education at the intersection of art, engineering, and design.

Ge is the author and chief architect of the ChucK music programming language, and the founding director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk), and co-founder director of the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO). Ge is also the Co-founder of Smule, a startup company exploring music-making via mobile devices (reaching over 200 million users). Ge is the designer of Ocarina, and Magic Piano for the iPhone and iPad. These expressive musical things (are they toys? instruments?) enable people to play and share music with one another around the world. Overall, Ge aims to explore the art of design with technology for music.

Ge is recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship; he is the author of Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime (a MusiComic Manifesto) — published by Stanford University Press (coming September 2018).

About the Book

 

 Artful Design — With the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Wang has spent the last three years creating a 488-page, full-color photo comic book about how humankind shapes technology and, in turn, how technology shapes humankind. Artful Design is meticulously designed in the medium of a photo comic. It is uncompromising (it requires some thinking) yet accessible (due to its unconventional visual format). A book about the soul of design, it is itself an artifact of design.

The world of Artful Design is revealed both conceptually and concretely through the design of musical instruments, mobile apps like Ocarina, games, toys, and social experiences. It contains over 100 principles of artful design, and “design etudes” (e.g., expressive exercises) for the reader to explore and enact in everyday life. Across its eight chapters, the book builds an overarching practical philosophy of artful design. Yup. This is a supremely nerdy book. “What we make, makes us.” — Ge Wang

Jessica Perez

Our awesome facilitator for this workshop is Jessica Perez, who began working with us in November, 2018.

Jessica will ensure that attendees are checked in, have the necessary info needed during the workshop, and will moderate the live forum and livestream.
[NOTE: participants can attend live at the event or via the private livestream in our forum – limited to 45 attendees at live workshop in NY and 50 attendees for private livestream – all participants will be given access to the private forum]

The workshop will begin sharply at 6:10PM:

  • 6pm – 6:10pm: sign-in, technology check for live forum
  • 6:10 – 6:15: introduction overview by facilitator, Jessica Perez
  • 6:15 – 7:00: presentation lecture by instructor, Oriana Medlicott
  • 7:00 – 7:05: brief break
  • 7:05 – 7:30: interactive exercise (in class and online), instructor feedback
  • 7:35 – 8:00: livestream presentation by guest speaker, Ge Wang

You are welcome to bring food and beverages.

There will be at least one in-class exercises that will take place in our online forum. Please bring a laptop, tablet or other device to access the internet and participate in the exercises.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation via email that will include (1) the physical address of the workshop if you are attending in person, (2) an invitation to join the workshop’s private forum and livestream instructions, and (3) course materials (links to manifestos, other info and resources) to prepare for the workshop.

If you’re attending the live event, please bring current, valid state or government-issued ID to show building security at the venue.

If you have any questions or need additional information, email us at theteam@tech2025.com.

Thank you!

Workshop Registration

Refund Policy: If you can no longer make it to a class or workshop, please email us at least 7 days before the scheduled event date. No refunds will be given on cancellations made within a week of the class or workshop.

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Start Time

6:00 pm

January 31, 2019

Finish Time

8:00 pm

January 31, 2019

Address

213 West 35th Street, 6th Fl, Suite 609, NY, NY 10001