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JMW at Columbia University to speak at technology event


Columbia University hosted the Second Annual Greater Good Gathering, focusing on technology’s far-reaching impact on the meaning of community.

The event, organized by Eric B. Schnurer, was as diverse in viewpoints as it was collegial – a remarkably enjoyable gathering. I spoke as the last speaker of the last panel, giving a less happy assessment of the subject and discussing technology’s use for subverting and taking down free society.

“The Greater Good Initiative was launched in 2017 to address how best to preserve and promote the ‘greater good’ in a world being rapidly changed by technological innovation, economic disruption, ideological polarization, and governance challenges,” a Columbia University announcement said.

“Speakers and panelists include:

• Noted authors Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Jamie Suskind, James Fallows, Franklin Foer, Soraya Chemaly, and Siva Vaidhyanathan.

• Social media activists from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High (Parkland, FL), Iran, and elsewhere.

• Cyber and tech policy advisors from the Bush, Obama and Trump White House.

• Experts on Big Data, polling, and micro-targeting in Latin America, Europe, and the US – including the director of digital strategy for the 2016 Ted Cruz presidential campaign.

• The former US ambassador to the OECD, and the head of cybersecurity for Estonia.

• The president of Media Matters and the director of the Pardee RAND Tech & Narrative Lab.

• Columbia law professor Tim Wu, who originated the term ‘net neutrality,’ and other faculty from Columbia’s journalism, law, data science, political science and public affairs programs.”

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