By Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla
This October, the Mozilla Festival turns 10.
Over the past decade, an emerging movement of people around the world has gathered and grown to ensure that the internet benefits humanity, rather than harms it. These people come to MozFest to create tools, art, and community that they then bring back to the wider world.
At MozFest 2010, we knew the web, early smartphones, and nascent social networks influenced everyday life — but they still felt like a world apart. Today, the opposite is true: We work, learn, and play on the internet. We build communities, shape societies, and fuel economies online. Artificial intelligence (AI) does everything from recommending the news we read to evaluating us as candidates for jobs, mortgages, and first dates.
The blending of our online and offline lives is exciting, but also comes with risks and paradoxes: The AI that shapes our lives is often opaque — we the users don’t understand how it works. Tech giants like Amazon and Google seem omnipotent. And we see new technology deployed without asking, Is this responsible? Is this ethical?
At MozFest 2019, we’ll focus the collective power of the internet health movement on making today’s internet more humane. For one full week in London, we’ll create art to showcase how flawed AI can sometimes be — and then write code to fix it. We’ll brainstorm products and policies that put social responsibility, ethics, and the user first. And we’ll envision the challenges and opportunities of the decade to come.
I hope you’ll join us for this momentous 10th MozFest. See you there.