Mozilla Festival 2021 (March 8th – 19th, 2021)

So You Want to Be a Tech Ethicist (No Scrubs edition)
2021-03-12, 18:00–19:00, Zoom Room 2A

Inside the tech industry, a growing awareness of the responsibilities companies have for preventing and minimizing the potential harms of data technologies has led to roles for people to manage ethical risk. These tech ethicists turn abstract ethical principles and values into concrete workplace practices across their companies, from coders to content managers to CEOs. But most people in these roles got there by chance. They were technologists who taught themselves about the ethical landscape surrounding the things they built, or they started out as lawyers, humanists, or social scientists and somehow found themselves working inside a tech company. Our panel will feature a mix of industry tech ethicists and professors who teach tech ethics discussing what it takes to do the real work, sharing some of their own cases, and exploring what students need to know if they want to do this work as a career.


How will you deal with varying numbers of participants in your session?

This session will be compelling as a discussion among panelists and while a Q&A will be available for attendees, moderators will be able to maintain a high degree of discourse if there are not questions from the audience.

We're hoping that many efforts and discussions will continue after Mozfest. Share any ideas you already have for how to continue the work from your session.

We want to develop a curriculum for those wanting to enter tech ethics roles in industry. Suggested exercises, cases, and reading discussed during the session will be collected into an open source syllabus for students, teachers, and on-the-job learning.

Emanuel Moss is an anthropologist studying how machine learning and AI have become the field on which long-standing debates about ethics, work, dignity, and the future now play out.