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Machines, Minds, and Morality: Ethics in a Changing Technological World


Friday, April 5, 2019, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Rotwitt Theater, Dorothy McKenna Brown Science Building

Rosemont College, 1400 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont, PA 19010

Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr PA 

Sponsored by:

Halloran PhilanthropiesSisterd of the Holy Child JesusWHYY logo 

Watch The Replay of the Livestream

Few would question the fact that advances in technology, particularly in machine learning and artificial intelligence, have improved our lives and helped increase efficiency in a variety of ways. But novel technologies inevitably raise important ethical questions, and in the case of these kinds of technologies, the stakes are quite high.

Dialogue is crucial on issues such as Big Data and transparency (do you know how much Google knows about you?), algorithmic biases (do some hiring tests exclude persons from low-income neighborhoods?), self-driving cars (should a car be programmed to swerve and potentially kill a pedestrian if it can avoid killing five?), the underrepresentation of women and other minorities in computer science and technology fields, and many others, before these technologies become embedded in our daily lives. 

“The Benefits, Dangers and Dilemmas of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,” will be delivered by Professor David J. Farber, co-Director of the Cyber Civilization Research Center at Keio University (Tokyo)and American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. Farber’s pioneering research at Bell Labs in the 1950s contributed to the development of the Internet as we know it today.
The keynote talk will be followed by a presentation by Dr. Sorelle Friedler, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Haverford College entitled, “Fairness and Abstraction: Algorithmic Discrimination and Interventions into   Sociotechnical Systems”.  A culminating roundtable discussion moderated by Sydney Weinstein from the Society for Information Management will also include Bilita Mattes, Provost and CAO, at Harrisburg University. 
This event is free and open to the public.

8:30 – 9:05 a.m.    

Registration/Continental Breakfast/Networking

9:10 – 9:30 a.m.   

Welcome: Sharon L. Hirsh, Ph.D. ’70

Opening Remarks: Lisa Dolling, Ph.D. 

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Presentation: “The Benefits, Dangers and Dilemmas of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence”

David J. Farber, Cyber Civilization Research Center,
Keio University (Tokyo)      

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.


10:50 – 11:50 a.m.

Fairness and Abstraction: Algorithmic Discrimination and Attempts to Address it.

Sorelle Friedler, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Haverford College

11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion

Moderator: Sydney Weinstein (Society for Information Management)

David J. Farber (Keio University)

Sorelle Friedler (Haverford College)

Bilita Mattes (Provost and CAO, Harrisburg University)


David J. FarberDavid J. Farber

Professor Farber is co-Director of the Cyber Civilization Research Center at Keio University (Tokyo) and American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. He was the Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy at the School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carnegie Mellon University with secondary appointments at the Heinz School and EPP prior to his retirement. He is also the Adjunct Professor of Internet Studies in SCS and Adjunct Professor in EPP, and a Visiting Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stevens Institute of Technology.

In 2003, he retired from the University of Pennsylvania where he holds the Alfred Fitler Moore Emeritus Professor of Telecommunication Systems and held appointments in the Engineering School and the Wharton School. His background includes roles at Bell Labs, the Rand Corporation, Xerox Data Systems, University of California at Irvine, and the University of Delaware.

From 2000 to 2001, he served as Chief Technologist for the Federal Communications Commission. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), ISC (Internet Systems Consortium) and the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Prior to his appointment to the FCC, he served on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Committee of Information Technology.

He was awarded the SIGCOMM Award for life-long contributions to communications and the City of Philadelphia’s John Scott award for Contributions to Humanity as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Stevens Institute of Technology. He has also been recognized as a Pioneer of the Internet Society Hall of Fame. 


sorelle friedlerSorelle Friedler, Ph.D.

Sorelle Friedler is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Haverford College and an Affiliate at the Data & Society Research Institute. Her research interests include the design and analysis of algorithms, computational geometry, data mining and machine learning, and the application of such algorithms to interdisciplinary data.

Sorelle is the Program Committee Co-chair for the new Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*) and is one of the organizers of the Workshop on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (FAT/ML). She has received a Fellowship and recent NSF grant for her work on preventing discrimination in machine learning. Her work on this topic has been featured in IEEE Spectrum, Gizmodo, and NBC News and she has been interviewed about algorithmic fairness by the Guardian, Bloomberg, and NPR.

Sorelle is the recipient, along with chemistry professors Josh Schrier and Alex Norquist, of two NSF Grants to apply data mining techniques to materials chemistry data to speed up materials discovery. Their paper on this work was featured on the cover of Nature and was covered by The Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.

Before Haverford, Sorelle was a software engineer at Alphabet (formerly Google), where she worked in the X lab and in search infrastructure. She received a Ph.D. in computer science in 2010 and an M.S. in computer science in 2007, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a 2004 graduate of Swarthmore College.

mattesBilita Mattes, Ed.D.

Bilita Mattes is the Executive Director (and founding member) of the STEM-UP Network, a social enterprise powered by Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. STEM-UP is a community that supports women in STEM to persist, thrive, and advance. She also serves as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Harrisburg University. She has 25 years of experience with leadership roles in higher education, including responsibilities such as program development, faculty development, and academic outreach and strategic partnerships.