Let’s Discuss TECH ETHICS!…Inside a Comedy Theater, March 13 in NYC

“In this live show, comedy and tech come together at last. Each month, the tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar and the comedian Joe Leonardo invite a wide range of guests to pick apart and laugh about such matters as algorithms and artificial intelligence.” -The New York Times

Do tech companies have an ethical responsibility to design their products differently? Should algorithms be more transparent to reduce bias? Are we headed towards a Black Mirror future?! Funny as Tech, a live panel show and studio podcast that tackles the thorniest issues in technology, has assembled a diverse panel of experts to have a freewheeling conversation on the complicated, nerve-wracking, and sometimes absurd issues regarding TECH ETHICS. This live panel show, with audience Q&A, happens on Tues, March 13th from 7 to 8 pm at the Peoples Improv Theater (123 E. 24th Street, NYC). Reservations for this nerdy night out of laughter and learning (and debate) can be made at bit.ly/FunnyAsTechMarch13. All shows are taped for podcast, with audio and video made available on FunnyAsTech.com and elsewhere.

The panel for Let’s Discuss Tech Ethics! Robyn Caplan (Researcher at Data & Society), Nir Eyal (bestselling author), and Jess Brown (Director of UX at VICE). [Bios listed below.]

What Is Funny as Tech?

Funny as Tech is a NYC-based monthly live panel show and weekly podcast that tackles the thorniest issues in tech! Co-hosts David Ryan Polgar (tech ethicist) and Joe Leonardo (comedian) invite a diverse range of experts to unpack our absurd present and uncertain future. The aim is to have a freewheeling conversation that is informative, accessible, and entertaining. Topics have included diversity in tech, trolls, tech addiction, cryptocurrency, the future of work, and the future of conversation (chatbots, etc). Previous guests have included CNN’s Laurie Segall, comedian Chuck Nice, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, WNYC’s Manoush Zomorodi, x.ai’s Dennis Mortensen, design researcher Pamela Pavliscak, cyber psychologist Dr. David Greenfield, diversity advocate Tracy Chou, and futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston. Live shows are held monthly at the Peoples Improv Theater in Manhattan, while weekly podcasts are recorded at Grand Central Tech.

Engadget video about Funny as Tech

The Panel for Let’s Discuss Tech Ethics! March 13th


Robyn Caplan, Researcher at Data & Society Research Institute

Robyn Caplan is a Researcher at Data & Society Research Institute — a research institute based in New York City focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric and automated technologies. She has written several white papers and academic journal articles on topics related to fake news and media manipulation, media policy and platform governance, open government, and the use of data in the context of policing. She is the co-author of the paper Why Media Companies Insist They’re Not Media Companies, Why They’re Wrong, and Why That Matters, published by First Monday in 2017. Prior to joining Data & Society, Caplan was a Research Fellow for the GovLab at New York University, where she researched open data policy and ethics. Her work has been covered by multiple media outlets, including NBC, The New York Times, Associated Press and TechCrunch.

Outside of Data & Society, Caplan is also currently a PhD Candidate at Rutgers University at the School of Communication and Information. She is originally from Canada, and due to this, maintains a stubborn belief in the power and responsibilities of good governance.


Nir Eyal, bestselling author and frequent commentator on the intersection of psychology, technology, and business.

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.”

Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include: Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Eventbrite, Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Presence Learning, 7 Cups, Pana, Kahoot!, Byte Foods, Anchor.fm, and Symphony Commerce

Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.


Jess Brown, Director of UX at VICE

Jess Brown is the Director of UX at VICE, where she leads the product design team in creating digital experiences that showcase VICE’s distinct storytelling. Since joining VICE, she’s managed the design for five initiatives–a network-wide web redesign, VICE mobile apps, VICE Video, VICELAND digital, and a brand new CMS.

Previously, she was the first UX practitioner at Rent the Runway, where she established UX and research practices that brought users’ stories to the heart of the product. In the Bay Area, she co-founded a startup called Threadflip, and consulted with other startups to better understand users’ problems and find product-market fit.

She studied math and computer science at Stanford, and couples her techie sensibilities with a humanistic approach to design. She’s fascinated by the co-evolution of culture and technology, and remains an optimist.

Additional information can be found at FunnyAsTech.com or bit.ly/FunnyAsTechMarch13

PRESS CONTACT: info@FunnyAsTech.com

“This new New York-based podcast is a mixture of deep thoughts and belly laughs as writer and technology ethicist David Ryan Polgar shoots the breeze with comedian Joe Leonardo who is a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (comedy nerds will be impressed).”-The Irish Times

STUDIO PODCAST INTERVIEWS dealing with tech ethics:

SiriusXM appearance on Feb 7th for Randi Zuckerberg’s Dot Complicated


Some people are the future of comedy. These guys are the futurist comedy.

Co-hosts David Ryan Polgar and Joe Leonardo
Co-host David Ryan Polgar

David Ryan Polgar is a frequent speaker (3-time TEDx, The School of the New York Times, TNW New York ), tech commentator (SiriusXM, CNN.com, Inc.com, The Guardian, BBC.com, etc), and a tech journalist for Big Think, Quartz, Dell Perspectives, and IBM thinkLeaders. He is currently focused on whether we are becoming “botified” online, along with the ethical concerns facing emerging tech and what it means to be human in the digital age. Some of his recent writing around AI, VR, automation, and more can be found here.

Polgar co-founded the global Digital Citizenship Summit and currently works with the virtual world startup Friendbase. He recently launched the All Tech Is Human initiative, which seeks to better align the business interests of tech companies with the human interests of users and society. As a Tech Ethicist, he explores our evolving relationship with tech from an ethical, legal, and emotional perspective. He is a frequent speaker and media commentator regarding tech balance, digital citizenship, and tech ethics.

Co-host Joe Leonardo

Joe Leonardo is a comedian, improviser and writer who has been featured on ESPN, Travel Channel, NPR, Anderson Cooper LIVE, Cafe, and Prank Academy to name a few. He is currently a house team performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York and co-host of their Wednesday Night Improv Jam. Joe is also the creator/host of The Flying Blind Sketch Show, which plays bi-monthly at The People’s Improv Theater and is one of the founders of Sea Tea Improv.

Press Contact: Info@FunnyAsTech.com

“Above all, both men want their show to be funny. And given the slew of scandals, failures and ‘solutionification’ in Silicon Valley and further afield in tech, they aren’t short of material.”-Red Herring

“Those who like their comedy on the nerdy side will find just that in the blend of tech and jokes that this show and podcast provides.”-The New York Times

‘“Funny As Tech” tries to help us make sense (and a little fun) of technology”-FOX61

Funny as Tech on FOX61