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"System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot" with Mehran Sahami and Jeremy Weinstein

Our discussion will focus on how Silicon Valley’s “obsession with optimization and efficiency” can clash with human values and what we should do about it.

Event Details:

Monday, November 8, 2021

This event is open to:


Stanford Computer Scientist Mehran Sahami and Stanford Political Scientist Jeremy Weinstein, authors of the recent book System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot, written with Stanford Political Scientist Rob Reich, will discuss how Silicon Valley’s “optimizing” culture often clashes with society and what we should do about it.

Author Bios

System Error Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot

Rob Reich is a philosopher, the director of Stanford University’s Center for Ethics in Society, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and associate director of its new Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. He is a leading thinker at the intersection of ethics and technology, the author of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better. A former sixth-grade teacher, he has won multiple teaching awards at Stanford. He helped to 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 is 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 now holds the James and Ellenor Chesebrough Professorship in Engineering.  As the Associate Chair for Education in the computer science department, he helped redesign the program’s undergraduate 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, a political scientist, 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, a major university initiative that partners research teams with leaders in the public, private, and social sectors to tackle important social problems. He is a prizewinning author and a decorated teacher whose expertise spans domestic politics and U.S. foreign policy.

Student Leader Moderator

Sarah Johnson, MBA ‘22

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