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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Debating Civil Rights

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Debating Civil Rights: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Battle for the American Soul

Dr. Nicholas Buccola
Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science
Linfield College

November 21, 2019 (Thursday) ¦ 3:30PM-5:00PM ¦ BMC 5.208


Cover Image, The Fire is Upon UsIn February 1965, James Baldwin – the poet of the civil rights revolution – and William F. Buckley Jr. – the Saint Paul of the conservative movement – met for an epic debate in Cambridge, England. Baldwin took the opportunity to deliver a jeremiad against white supremacy and Buckley did his best to warn an international audience of Baldwin’s radical agenda. For the two decades prior to their clash at Cambridge, Baldwin and Buckley rose to fame as prolific authors and public intellectuals. Both men were – among other things – journalists. In the years prior to the debate, Baldwin and Buckley provide us with two very different visions of the vocation of the journalist as a witness and a storyteller. In this lecture, Professor Buccola will describe these visions and explore the implications they might have for our own time.

Buccola.1 (4)Dr. Nicholas Buccola is the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College. He is the author of The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (Princeton University Press), The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass (NYU Press), and the editor of The Essential Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy. His essays have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and popular outlets including The New York Times, Salon, Dissent, and the Claremont Review of Books.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information. Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.


 

Designing Ethical AI Technologies

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Good Systems: Designing Values-Driven AI Technologies Is Our Grand Challenge

Dr. Kenneth R. Fleischmann

Professor in the School of Information
University of Texas at Austin

September 24, 2019 (Tuesday) ¦ 3:30PM-4:30PM ¦ CMA 5.136 (LBJ Room)


Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” This is the first law of technology, outlined by historian Melvin Kranzberg in 1985. It means that technology is only good or bad if we perceive it to be that way based on our own value system. At the same time, because the people who design technology value some things more or less than others, their values influence their designs. Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, notes: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think about if they should.” That’s the question we have to ask now: Should we increasingly automate various aspects of society? How can we ensure that advances in AI are beneficial to humanity, not detrimental? How can we develop technology that makes life better for all of us, not just some? What unintended consequences are we overlooking or ignoring by developing technology that has the power to be manipulated and misused, from undermining elections to exacerbating racial inequality?

The Inaugural Chair of the Good Systems Grand Challenge, Ken Fleischmann, will present the eight-year research mission of Good Systems, as well as our educational and outreach activities. Specifically, he will discuss the upcoming Good Systems launch events and ways that faculty, researchers, staff, and students can become involved in the Good Systems Grand Challenge.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information. Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.


 

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