Marvin Jordan: Welcome to Art, Design, and the Future of Privacy. This is a beau­ti­ful crowd. It’s an exper­i­ment in the mak­ing so it’s very won­der­ful to see so many peo­ple here for the first one. We’re kind of plant­i­ng seeds for the future. You’ll see more of us eventually.

I’d like to intro­duce Meredith Whittaker. [cheer­ing from crowd] Round of applause. She’s a vision­ary. No big deal. 

Meredith Whittaker: Back at ya.

Jordan: She’s the open source research lead at Google. The board chair of Simply Secure (which we’ll be talk­ing about more) and a cease­less advo­cate for tech­nol­o­gy that serves peo­ple and not the oth­er way around.

Whittaker: Thank you so much for the kind intro­duc­tion. I would like to intro­duce Marvin Jordan. He is an edi­tor at DIS Magazine, and the per­son behind their recent data issue, which I imag­ine many of you are famil­iar with. He’s also some­one who works exten­sive­ly the­o­riz­ing data, pol­i­tics, and pow­er. It is a plea­sure to be here with you.

So wel­come. Thank you for being here. What are we doing? Marvin, me, a num­ber of peo­ple in the audi­ence, on the stage, are here because we want to broad­en this dis­cus­sion. We want to broad­en the cul­ture around this top­ic. We want to reach crit­i­cal thinkers, cre­ative peo­ple, and all of those out there who care about the stakes and the impact of net­work tech­nolo­gies but may not have an elite com­put­er sci­ence degree or have spent their child­hood tak­ing gad­gets apart, right?

Ursula Franklin, the great the­o­rist of sociotech­ni­cal sys­tems said, Technology is both dreams and knowl­edge.” I would restate that tech­nol­o­gy is dreams first, and then knowl­edge. We have to know what we want. We have to imag­ine how it looks. We have to under­stand how it feels, how it smells, how it func­tions, before we can design it. Before we can code it. Before we can imple­ment it, and before we can sell it.

So let’s dream. 

What does a tech cul­ture, and a prac­tice born out of con­cerns with social jus­tice and a sen­si­tiv­i­ty to con­text and local needs look like? How can the obser­va­tions, research, prac­tice, engage­ments of the­o­rists, artists, design­ers, con­scious tech­nol­o­gists, define and lead the devel­op­ment of such a cul­ture? Can we cre­ate a space in which the vision and require­ments of those impact­ed by tech­nol­o­gy set the require­ments for devel­op­ment and implementation?

Maybe we can? So we’re going to try. 

Thank you for being here.

Jordan: One more round of applause for Meredith.

With that in mind, I’d like to intro­duce Scout Sinclair Brody, the exec­u­tive direc­to­ry of Simply Secure, and much more, talk­ing about human rights as a design challenge.