By Emily Chi, Emily Guo, Kathy Pham, Product Management and Society Teaching Team, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

In March 2020, right before Spring Break at Harvard, the students were asked to go home and complete the remainder of the semester remotely, while faculty scrambled to get our courses online. We stitched together a remote-friendly “Product Management and Society” course for the rest of the semester. The teaching team brought some experience from Mozilla, a remote-first company, with leaders like Abby Cabunoc Mayes who had for years led inclusive, effective online gatherings. …

On July 16th 2019, Mozilla convened the seventeen awardees of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge. The goal of the event was for awardees to meet each other, share ideas, hear from industry leaders in responsibility, ethics and tech, and plan for next steps of the Challenge. The agenda included an industry panel, group working sessions, and two keynotes on critical race and gender studies and human rights.

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Opening Remarks

The event started with traditional Mozilla land acknowledgement by Jenn Beard, Program Officer of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge. A land acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects indigenous peoples as traditional stewards of the land. The site of the Mozilla San Francisco office is on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Ohlone (“oh-lone-e”) and Costanoan (“coh-stah-no-an”) Nations. The Ohlone is a grouping term created by anthropologists to signify broad-based linguistic and cultural similarities among some 58 independent tribal groups. Surviving through two centuries of persecution and genocidal policies during the Spanish, Mexican, and American eras, Ohlone people continue to inhabit their ancestral homeland, The San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas. We took the opportunity to commit ourselves to the struggle against the systems of oppression that have dispossessed Indigenous people of their lands and denied their rights to self-determination, work that is essential to human rights work across the world. …

What could an industry standard for socially responsible, ethically-attuned technologies look like? How can these technologies be equipped to not only make cool stuff but also better meet society’s needs?

Engineers and those working directly with engineering teams convened at Harvard to discuss these questions and more during the Ethical Tech Industry Workshop, hosted by the Ethical Tech Working Group at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Some participants were individual contributor engineers tasked with developing and releasing technical systems that impact society; some were academics and scholars who have been researching effects of technology for decades; others were part of policy or compliance initiatives.

The cohort assembled for this workshop were all committed to building more socially responsible and ethical technology-driven products and services that better serve society. All attendees were recognized by peers as thought leaders in their companies or institutions able to inspire conversations and drive initiatives, both up and down the line of decision-making. Together, they represented those actively mapping out how to make technology more fully benefit society. …



Computer Scientist, Product Leader

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