The 4th Annual Weissberg Forum for Discourse in the Public Square focused on “Big Data”. In today's world, our reliance on technology has created a Big Data revolution that has transformed how we live, work, and think. Many questions arise, however, when it comes to the ethical issues related to privacy, confidentiality and identity, especially when personal data is so easily and readily collected, creating the ability to generate enormous amounts of power and wealth. The Weissberg Forum explored this conflict between utility and privacy from a variety of perspectives, including law, commerce, health, and national security.
Charles Seife presented a keynote address entitled, "Information Battles: The Double-Edged Sword of Big Data".
Through the generosity of Trustee Nina Weissberg, New York University has established the Weissberg Forum for Discourse in the Public Square at its Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C. The Center provides study away and internship experiences for NYU students, as well as rich academic and cocurricular programming. The Weissberg Forum is an annual signature event that brings together distinguished figures from government, industry, the professions, and the academy to discuss complex and timely issues from a variety of perspectives.
The Forum frames and conducts difficult dialogues that are informed, rigorous, and civil, the sort of conversation and debate that academic institutions are intended to promote. Previous Weissberg Forum events have addressed gender, immigration, and most recently, healthcare and the impact of the Affordable Care Act, which was explored by Kathleen Sebelius, Eric Cantor and Rep. Alma Adams and by healthcare professionals, including NYU faculty.
Juliana Freire is a Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at New York University. She also holds an appointment in the Courant Institute for Mathematical Science and is a faculty member at the NYU Center of Data Science. Her research interests are in large-scale data analysis, visualization, and provenance management. An important theme is Professor Freire's work is the development of data management techniques and infrastructure to address problems introduced by emerging applications. Recently, her work has focused on the analysis and visualization urban, scientific and Web data. Within scientific data management, she is best known for her work in provenance and computational reproducibility, and for being a co-creator of the open-source VisTrails system (http://www.vistrails.org). Professor Freire is an active member of the database and Web research communities, having co-authored over 130 technical papers and holding 9 U.S. patents. She has chaired or co-chaired several workshops and conferences, and has participated as a program committee member in over 60 events. She has received several awards, including an NSF CAREER, an IBM Faculty award, and a Google Faculty Research award. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, University of Utah, NYU, Sloan Foundation, Betty Moore Foundation, Google, Amazon, Microsoft Research, Yahoo! and IBM.
Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is also Director of the Information Law Institute. Her work spans societal, ethical, and political dimensions of information technology and digital media. Prof. Nissenbaum's nine books include Obfuscation: A User's Guide for Privacy and Protest, with F. Brunton (MIT Press, 2015), Values at Play in Digital Games, with M. Flanagan (MIT Press, 2014), and Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life (Stanford, 2010). Her research has been published in journals of philosophy, politics, law, media studies, information studies, and computer science. The National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Ford Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator have supported her work on privacy, trust online, and security, as well as studies of values embodied in design, search engines, digital games, facial recognition technology, and health information systems. Recipient of the 2014 Barwise Prize of the American Philosophical Association, Prof. Nissenbaum has contributed to privacy-enhancing software, including TrackMeNot and AdNauseam.
Prof. Nissenbaum holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Before joining the faculty at NYU, she served as Associate Director of the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.
Beth Simone Noveck is the Jerry Hultin Global Network Professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and directs The Governance Lab and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Google.org, the GovLab strives to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern. The GovLab designs and tests technology, policy and strategies for fostering more open and collaborative approaches to strengthen the ability of people and institutions to work together to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves more effectively and legitimately.
She was previously the Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab. Beth is a professor of law at New York Law School and a Senior Fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. She served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative (2009-2011). UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government, and she served on the Obama-Biden transition team.
A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she serves on the Global Commission on Internet Governance and chaired the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multi-Stakeholder Innovation. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Open Contracting Partnership. She was named one of the “Foreign Policy 100″ by Foreign Policy, one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post. She has also been honored by both the National Democratic Institute and Public Knowledge for her work in civic technology.
Beth is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful, which has also appeared in Arabic, Russian, Chinese and in an audio edition, and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds. Her next book Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing recently appeared with Harvard University Press. She tweets @bethnoveck and writes on Medium @bethnoveck. Her TED talk "Demand an Open Source Government" can be found here.
Before joining the Department of Journalism, Charles Seife was writer for Science magazine -specializing in physics and mathematics- and had been a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist. He holds an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University, an M.S. in mathematics from Yale University, and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. His research interests include science and mathematics journalism.
Seife’s freelance work has appeared in The Economist, Scientific American, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications. He is also the author of Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (2000), which won the 2000 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, as well as Alpha & Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe (2003), Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, From Our Brains to Black Holes (2005), Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking (2008), and the forthcoming Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception (2010).
Prasanna Tambe is an Associate Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences (IOMS) at New York University Stern School of Business. His research focuses on the economics of the high-tech labor force and more broadly, on the economics of technical skills. Specific research interests include how the technical skill content of the labor market affects firm, worker, and regions, and how recent waves of technological change have impacted workers’ labor outcomes and career paths. Much of this research analyzes Internet data sources to measure labor market activity at new levels of detail.
His research has been published or is forthcoming in a number of academic journals including Management Science, Information Systems Research, The Review of Financial Studies, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Communications of the ACM, and Information Economics and Policy and it has been supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. His research has won a number of awards, including the Best Published Paper in Information Systems Research in 2012, and two separate papers in different years have been nominees for the Best Published IS Paper in Management Science. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Management Science and Information Systems Research.
He is a co-author of "The Talent Equation: Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce," published by McGraw Hill in 2013.
Professor Tambe received his S.B. and M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Managerial Science and Applied Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.