How are new technologies transforming our jobs, companies and relationships? Artificial intelligence is now a household term, and while we can’t physically see it, we know it’s hidden inside our mobile phones, automobiles and wearable devices, just to name a few. To better map and understand the changes that affect the core of society’s relationships, organizations look to Harvard’s Professor Jonathan Zittrain.
Few are as accomplished, esteemed and engaging as Zittrain. An expert on AI, cybersecurity and the future of work, he is a dynamic speaker as well as a master moderator of panels of some of the greatest minds of our age. Zittrain addresses a key question of the modern era: in an age of rapid technological transformation, how do we build and restore trust and develop new social, economic, regulatory and ethical frameworks and strategies to address challenges we may have never before faced? He also co-chairs the Berkman Klein Center’s Digital Pandemic Response Practice, an interdisciplinary program that works with public and private decision makers on urgent questions and policy decisions around the use of digital tools and data in order to help attenuate the Covid-19 pandemic. His compelling and thought-provoking ideas are invaluable to leaders trying to make sense of a world changing faster than we can keep pace.
A professor of computer science, law and policy at Harvard with an exceptional ability to elevate any audience’s thinking – typically with quick wit – Zittrain has spent his career at the forefront of cutting-edge change. An early researcher in AI, a pioneer in the field of cyberspace and cyberlaw, and a contributor to multiple international internet and society research organizations, he wields a nuanced understanding of AI and its complex regulatory and social frameworks gained by a lifetime spent grappling with these very topics. Most recently, he has been a leading voice defining and clarifying pressing issues related to the ethics of data use by digital platforms like Facebook; how digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home should be designed; the implications of self-driving cars; and the future of work in a world dominated by AI and automation. Zittrain targets the “big picture” of technological change and encourages companies in the tech industry and elsewhere to participate in the dialogue. In doing so, they develop products, platforms and business models to avoid missteps which can derail public support. He also offers guidance for governments and policymakers on devising the regulatory structures needed to let technology thrive while accounting for public interest.
Known for his humor as well as his brilliance, and consistently rated as one of the top speakers and presenters at important and influential gatherings, Zittrain delivers captivating keynotes and moderates lively, stimulating debates. A long-time advisor for governments and international businesses, he has also served on the Board of Advisors for Scientific American and is a former Trustee of the Internet Society. For more than fifteen years he has moderated sessions and debates between world leaders at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he was named a Young Global Leader and chaired the Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet. In 2017, Zittrain was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Named a “Top 100 Global Thinker,” he is a founding director of Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Zittrain established the Assembly Program, a three-track fellowship program that convenes cohorts of experts, professionals, and students to develop solutions to complex technology policy issues, including those in cybersecurity, AI, and online disinformation. He also championed the development of the Caselaw Access Project, which has expanded free public access to U.S. case law.