Keynote Speakers

ISTAS21 seeks to foster a rich, interdisciplinary dialogue on Technological Stewardship and Responsible Innovation, and we are excited about the varied perspectives and range of expertise that our keynote speakers bring to the conversation.

We are excited to have partnered with the University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI), who will be featuring Ron Deibert’s talk as the final feature of the CPI’s October Cybersecurity Month programming. Taking place over four Thursdays in October, this speaker series is free and open to the public, and ISTAS21 attendees are invited to register and attend all events. For more information, please visit the CPI website.

Click HERE to visit (or return to) the ISTAS21 Conference Program page.

Ron Deibert
Keynote Speaker

Investigating Targeted Espionage: Methods, Findings, Implications

The Citizen Lab has been undertaking investigations into targeted espionage for well over a decade. This path-breaking research has uncovered widespread global harms and an alarming spread of authoritarian practices across borders connected to a burgeoning and widely abused commercial surveillance industry. In his keynote, Deibert explains the methods, findings and implications of the Citizen Lab's research for human rights and global security.

This Keynote will take place on Thursday, October 28th from 11am - 12pm EDT.

Ron Deibert is a Professor of Political Science, and the Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. As director of the Citizen Lab, Deibert has overseen and been a contributing author to over 120 research reports that cover topics such as cyber espionage, commercial spyware, Internet censorship, and human rights. Deibert's written books include published titles such as Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communications in World Order Transformation, Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy and the Dark Side of Cyberspace, and Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society. Deibert has received awards for his contributions toward teaching at the University of Toronto, for his contributions to Citizen Lab, for his writing contributions, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee in 2013 for fighting threats against communication rights.

Deibert's keynote will be addressing the Security and Privacy and the Technology Policy and Governance ISTAS21 sub-themes.
Citizen Lab Bio
Adam Greenfield
Keynote Speaker

At The End of The World, Plant a Tree

If the hellish events of 2020-2021 have left you feeling like the first stirrings of apocalypse are at long last come upon us, you clearly aren't alone. But just what do we do with ourselves, here at the end of all things? What happens to us — psychically, emotionally, socially, politically — when we accept and internalize that events capable of ending human civilization as we've known it have already taken place, and that all we're doing now is waiting for them to unfold in their fullest consequence?

We'll be touring some of the most common responses to this understanding — including the turn toward reactionary blood-and-soil nativism, the false comfort of left accelerationism, and the newly hegemonic rhetoric of "resilience" — before exploring what qualities might actually serve us best, as individuals and collectivities, as the epoch on which we've predicated our entire sense of being draws to its inevitable close.

By developing the notion that there are capacities to which we have permanent recourse, no matter what else happens, this conversation will hopefully leave you feeling able to face the gathering darkness with grace and equanimity. And, hey, if the apocalypse fails to arrive on time, at least you'll have a bunch of clever new things to say at parties.

This Keynote will take place on Saturday, October 30th from 11am - 12pm EDT.

Adam Greenfield is an American writer and urbanist, living in London since 2013. His most recent book is Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (Verso, 2017).

Greenfield’s keynote will be addressing the Sustainable Cities and the Communities ISTAS21 sub-themes
Will Griffin
Keynote Speaker - ETHICS2021

Top of Mind Ethics (TOME)

Top of Mind Ethics is a heuristic that helps engineers, designers, product managers — anyone involved in the solution process — integrate ethics into their workflows.

This Keynote will take place on Thursday, October 28th from 5pm - 6pm EDT.

Will Griffin is the Chief Ethics Officer of Hypergiant and recipient of the 2020 IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices. He is the creator of Hypergiant’s Top of Mind Ethics (TOME) framework which won the Communitas Award for Excellence in AI Ethics. He also leads Hypergiant’s participation in the Tech Pioneer community at the World Economic Forum and is part of WEF's Responsible Use of Technology Steering Committee. His past entrepreneurial work has also earned him the prestigious IAB/Brandweek Silver Medal for Innovation and the culturally significant NAACP Image Award. He is currently a guest lecturer on AI Ethics in the University of Texas Department of Computer Science and at Penn State Law School. He was recently a TedX Speaker on Ethics.

Griffin is an entrepreneur and proven thought leader with a track record of bringing culture-shifting content and technology to new platforms. He is a member of the IEEE P7000 Model Process for Addressing Ethical Concerns During System Design working group. His previous ventures include launching the first original content slate on the Sony PlayStation Network with Endemol North America. He launched the first original Video On Demand cable channel, Hip Hop OnDemand, on Comcast Cable systems. Griffin is a long-time board member of the nation’s oldest multicultural ad agency, Uniworld (WPP) and was an in-house strategist at News Corporation (Fox Entertainment Group).

He was an Associate at McKinsey & Co. in the Entertainment and Media practice (Los Angeles) where we worked on operations and post-merger integration for the world’s largest media companies including Time Warner and Disney. He began his professional career in the Asset-Backed Securities Group at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Griffin is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College and completed the Entrepreneurship Curriculum at Harvard Business School.

Griffin will deliver the ETHICS-2021 keynote address.
General Assembly Bio
Carolyn McGregor
Keynote Speaker

Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Ethical and Social Implications of Neonatology

High-speed physiological data are proving to be one of the most untapped resources in healthcare today. Many medical devices produce data streams at frequencies of a reading a second or faster making the effective use of that data a Big Data challenge. A growing body of research studies are demonstrating common physiological patterns for a range of medical conditions at earlier stages in the condition progression paving the way for new artificial intelligence and machine learning based approaches that could also be more reliable. There is great potential for real-time assessment of this physiological data to improve patient outcomes and to do so on an individualized personalized level. Systemic use of  Big Data and AI in Healthcare present many ethics and social implications

This keynote will demonstrate how Big Data and AI can be used systemically for new approaches in research and clinical care for differential diagnosis and condition management. Ethical and social implications will be considered within the context of the application of these approaches in neonatology.

Professor Carolyn McGregor AM is the Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence for Health and Wellness and a two-time Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics based at Ontario Tech University. She is the Founding Director of the Joint Research Centre in Artificial Intelligence for Health and Wellness between Ontario Tech University and University of Technology, Sydney. Dr McGregor AM has led pioneering research in Big Data analytics, stream computing, artificial intelligence, deep learning, internet of things, temporal data mining and cloud computing. She now progresses this research within the context of critical care medicine, precision public health, mental health, astronaut health and military and civilian tactical training. She is the inventor and lead on two international award-winning AI driven Big Data analytics platforms for health and wellness, Artemis and Athena.

She has over 190 refereed publications, received more than $15 Million research funding, holds 3 patents in multiple jurisdictions and has established two startup companies resulting from her research. In 2014 she was awarded membership in the Order of Australia for her significant service to science and innovation through health care information systems. In 2017 she was featured in the 150 Stories series commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and the Government of Canada to commemorate the 150th year anniversary of Ontario. In 2018 she was named as a Women Leader in Digital Health by Digital Health Canada. In 2021 she is the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society’s Vice President, Member and Student Activities.
Safiya Noble
Keynote Speaker

Safiya Noble is an Associate Professor at UCLA, where she acts as Co-Founder and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. Noble works within African American Studies and Gender Studies, and works with the University of Oxford on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance. Noble is on the boards of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and the NYU Center Critical Race and Digital Studies where she works to serve people vulnerable to online harassment. She is the author of the book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism and is frequently cited by news outlets such as the BBC and CNN for her expertise in algorithmic discrimination and technology bias. Noble has received various awards including the Distinguished Alumna Award from the iSchool Alumni Association, and was also on the ‘Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers of 2019’ by Government Technology magazine.  

Noble's keynote will be addressing the AI/Automation and Ethical and the Human Values ISTAS21 sub-themes and take place on Friday, October 29th from 5pm - 6pm EDT.

Click the icon below to learn more about Safiya Noble
Noble's Website
Shannon Vallor
Keynote Speaker

The Digital Basanos: AI and the Virtue and Violence of Truth-Telling

In ancient Greece, the basanos or touchstone had multiple meanings: a literal stone that tests the authenticity of gold by revealing its characteristic mark upon striking it, or metaphorically, a moral test of the authenticity of a life or a ruler. It also referred to a method of extracting truthful testimony by means of torture; specifically, of non-Greek slaves. The basanos thus embodies the interweaving of truth-telling with virtue, violence, and power in Western moral, political, and technical thought. In this talk I explore how contemporary uses of AI and data science have retraced and reconstituted the basanos in myriad ways, while also revealing a critical opportunity for the invention of new, more just and more sustainable means of truth-telling.

This Keynote will take place on Friday, October 29th from 11am - 12pm EDT.

Shannon Vallor is Professor of Philosophy and Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. Vallor’s research focuses on the philosophy and ethics of emerging science and technologies. Vallor is the author of the book Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting, editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology, and has published in the journals Ethics and Information Technology, Philosophy and Technology, and Techne. Vallor holds numerous advisory roles with organizations that specialize in data ethics and responsible AI and robotics development, and serves as chair of Scotland’s Data Delivery Group. Vallor has received various awards in this field, including the Public Intellectual Award from Santa Clara University and the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics.

Vallor’s keynote will be addressing the AI/Automation and Ethical and the Human Values in Emerging Technology ISTAS21 sub-themes.
Vallor's Website