In today’s episode, Lizzie O’Shea discusses the great power of data and AI—and how we can use them to empower people rather than oppress them. She’ll discuss which technologies should be off-limits, compares data policies around the world, and proposes a code of ethics for engineers building these influential technologies. Lizzie probes who holds the power of AI and data and who should be responsible for ethics in this realm—corporations or the government?—and who is better equipped to do so. Lizzie raises important questions about privacy concerns in our digital lives and even poses the question—do machines already rule the world?
About Lizzie O’Shea:
Lizzie is a lawyer, writer, and broadcaster. Her commentary is featured regularly on national television programs and radio, where she talks about law, digital technology, corporate responsibility, and human rights. In print, her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Guardian, and Sydney Morning Herald, among others.
Lizzie is a founder and board member of Digital Rights Watch, which advocates for human rights online. She also sits on the board of the National Justice Project, Blueprint for Free Speech and the Alliance for Gambling Reform. At the National Justice Project, Lizzie worked with lawyers, journalists and activists to establish a Copwatch program, for which she was a recipient of the Davis Projects for Peace Prize. In June 2019, she was named a Human Rights Hero by Access Now.
As a lawyer, Lizzie has spent many years working in public interest litigation, on cases brought on behalf of refugees and activists, among others. I was proud to represent the Fertility Control Clinic in their battle to stop harassment of their staff and patients, as well as the Traditional Owners of Muckaty Station, in their successful attempt to stop a nuclear waste dump being built on their land.
Lizzie’s book, Future Histories looks at radical social movements and theories from history and applies them to debates we have about digital technology today. It has been shortlisted for the Premier’s Literary Award.
- 4:00 How does the modern day compare to times in decades past as it pertains to rights—is technology a force for good? How can we take back the power of technology to benefit humanity?
- 8:00 How can we manage AI and digital technology in a more intentional way? How are automated processes already determining the course of many people’s lives? Lizzie explains how the future when machines takeover is, in many ways, already here. Should technology be regulated in order to help solve problems, and what problems have already occurred?
- 16:00 Lizzie discusses the state of regulation across the world, including GDPR and New York’s data fiduciary law. Should we move beyond contractual ideas of privacy?
- 18:00 Lizzie explains her stance on facial recognition. Should facial recognition be limited in the same way as chemical warfare—a line that is not to be crossed? How can facial recognition technology be oppressive, and what can you do to protect yourself?
- 22:00 Is the social credit system in China far-fetched in the West? Lizzie discusses the modern surveillance state.
- 26:00 How does technology mirror power structures in the analog world? Lizzie discusses predictive policing technology and the biases that exist within it.
- 31:00 Should we create a code of ethics for engineers developing these technologies? What practical things could an engineer do if a project’s implications make them uncomfortable?
- 38:00 Lizzie discusses the influence of large companies, social media, and why some issues they face are better suited to politics than corporations.
- 46:00 We converge to talk about the politics behind data and AI, the need to educate our regulators, and speak with our younger generations who will one day create the rules surrounding the tech that rules the world.