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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Media Mentions

A selection of articles, op-eds, TV segments, and other media featuring Ethics Center staff and programs.


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Can an AI Chatbot be Convicted of an Illegal Wiretap? A Case Against Gap’s Old Navy may Answer That

“One of the concerns about these tools is that we don’t know very much about what data was actually used to train them,” said Irina Raicu, director of the Internet Ethics Program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Large language models can’t modify their training data.

“The argument has been made that they can’t really delete it, that if it’s already been used to train the model, you kind of can’t un-train them,” Raicu said.

Irina Raicu, director, internet ethics, quoted by CNBC.

New York Academy of Sciences
Considering the Societal and Ethical Implications in the Development of AI

The research of Betty Li Hou, who presented an hour-long seminar as part of The New York Academy of Sciences’ Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Society Lecture series, examined the ethical impacts that AI systems can have on societies, and how machine learning, philosophy, sociology, and law should all come together in the development of these systems.

“AI doesn’t exist independently from these other disciplines and so AI research in many ways needs to consider these dimensions, otherwise we’re only looking at one piece of the picture,” said Hou.

Betty Li Hou ‘22 (2021-22 Hackworth Fellow), featured in an article by The New York Academy of Sciences.

Nonconformist Innovation Podcast
Ethics in the Age of Disruptive Technologies

Ethics Center Senior Director, Leadership Ethics Ann Skeet, and Director of Technology Ethics Brian Green join Steve Tout on the Nonconformist Innovation Podcast to discuss the risks and ethical considerations of AI and disruptive technologies for business leaders and the framework they developed for leaders and organizations wishing to operationalize ethical principles and practices in their business.

"Making a commitment to responsible tech is just a first step in serving the common good, and a first step in identifying interests that go beyond that of just serving the company but serving society as well," says Skeet, speaking on the importance of following guiding ethical principles when looking at developing new technology.

"Ethics is a team sport so [Ethics in the Age of Disruptive Technologies] is written to remind everyone that everyone has a role in the development of responsible technology," says Green, adding that "this handbook should help corporations who are using it to go from their more abstract level principles all the way down to the more specific principles they need to solve these issues." 

Broken blue and green text messaging bubbles. Trusted Reviews/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Apple Is Doing Its Part to End Green Bubble Shaming. It’s Our Turn.

The “blue versus green bubble” disparity created a deeper sociological divide between people who judge one another by their phones. Will technology updates by Apple make things better?

"It comes down to whether you care more about your tech preferences or about your relationships with people," said Irina Raicu, an internet ethics director at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

“Smooth and easy means without any friction or any effort, but sometimes you might need to make more effort just because somebody has a different phone than you,” she said. “Relationships require effort.”

Irina Raicu, director, internet ethics, quoted by The New York Times.

Trusted Reviews/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Fortune Logo
OpenAI’s Board Might Have Been Dysfunctional–but They Made the Right Choice. Their Defeat Shows That in the Battle Between AI Profits and Ethics, it’s no Contest

"The real issue here, however, is not whether it is a vision or mission statement: The ethical issue is that the board is obligated to take actions that ensure it is fulfilled. Moving slowly and not accelerating AI progress may not be a compelling pitch to investors–but perhaps there are investors who want to invest in precisely that. If a cautious approach is what OpenAI’s mission implies, then it’s a worthy goal to pursue, even if it goes against the traditional approach of a more typically structured startup."

Ann Skeet, senior director, leadership ethics, published by Fortune.

Vox Logo
The Race to Optimize Grief

AI ethicists and technology researchers find the nascent technology problematic on more than one level.

“If you’re in pain and grieving, you’re probably not trying to figure out how your data is going to be used,” says Irina Raicu, director of the internet ethics program at Santa Clara University.

Irina Raicu, director, internet ethics, quoted by Vox.

Galaxy Space Universe
Space Ethics and Moon Settlements

Brian Green, director, technology ethics and author of "Space Ethics" and Salman Hameed, PhD, Professor of Integrated Science & Humanities at Hampshire College and CEO of the non-profit Kainaat Studios discuss some of the ethical questions that we must address regarding settlements on the Moon.

"The moon is going to set the tone for the rest of exploration. Right now I think that humanity has set a pretty good tone for our interaction with outer space. We’ve done a lot of great science, and we’ve done a lot of great technological exploration, so the tone I think is good right now. But then money is starting to get involved now, and as money gets involved, the intentions are going to become less pure."

Brian Green, director, technology ethics, featured on an episode of Kainaat Astronomy in English podcast.

Driverless Cars Immune From Traffic Tickets in California

“I think all of us are still struggling to understand whether [driverless cars] really are safer than human drivers, and in what ways they might not be,” said Irina Raicu, Director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

“It seems like while they make fewer of the kind of mistakes that we see from human drivers, they make interesting new kinds of mistakes,” Raicu said. “It has the feel of a human subject mass experiment, right? Without the kind of consent that we usually want to see as part of that.”

Irina Raicu, director, internet ethics, quoted by NBC Bay Area.



Sacramento Ethics Commission Dismisses Campaign Contribution Complaints, Finds no Violations

John Pelissero is a senior scholar in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. He said the campaign fundraising limits are designed to create a level of fairness and should be clear to all candidates. Pelissero added that the fact Valenzuela later returned contributions to bring her total below the limit demonstrates ethical awareness. 

“But I think there's also a level of ethical awareness that the whole City Council needs to own,” Pelissero said. “And that is that they created, perhaps unintentionally, a situation that kind of undermines the trust that the public can have in how elections are going to be conducted in the city of Sacramento.”

John Pelissero, Director, Government ethics, quoted by Capital Public Radio.

Heart Management Logo
Making Values-Based Decisions in a Time of Rapid Change

"How can [leaders] behave in a way that brings forward the best in other people?...It's a very good practice for [leaders] to be engaged at that level and to be thinking beyond just what's going on in their organization but how their organization is interacting with society, more broadly."

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