15 Items

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Primer: Social Media Recommendation Algorithms

| Fall 2022

The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok is increasingly widespread, currently amounting to billions of users worldwide. Social media companies deploy proprietary recommendation algorithms to automate the selection, ranking, and presentation of content on the platform’s “feed” or recommended content section, every time a user opens or refreshes the site or app. However, social media recommendation algorithms have a range of privacy, security, information quality, and psychological concerns for users. 

A successful approach to the regulation of social media recommendation algorithms will require a combination of government regulation, self governance, and external oversight to facilitate value alignment across these diverse actors and tackle the various challenges associated with this technology. This publication explores the technical components of social media recommendation systems, as well as their public purpose considerations. 

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Differential Privacy

Differential privacy is a safeguard used to protect an individual’s data privacy. It allows for the collection and publication of data patterns and trends, while protecting the privacy of individuals captured in a dataset. Differential privacy is not a tool or method, but rather a criterion or a property that multiple methods can achieve. More specifically, it is a mathematical definition of privacy that quantifies privacy risk. 

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Vaccine Platforms

| Fall 2020

A vaccine platform is a “plug -and-play” physical framework that can be used when developing vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Vaccine platforms use a base carrier or “vehicle,” such as a nucleic acid, viral vector, or liposome, which can be used interchangeably for various diseases. Once designed and licensed for one vaccine, the development of future vaccines using the same platform would simply require substituting the desired antigenic component, or a genetic compound that normally triggers an immune response. This would enable faster and cheaper development, regulatory approval and mass production. 

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Battery Technology

A battery is a device which stores chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. Battery technology is pervasive for individual consumers and in scaled operations, whether that is through the use of smartphone, automotive vehicles, or even large-scale data centers. The most popular battery type currently is lithium-ion, which ranges in application from powering small cellular devices to the electrical grid.

Report - Technology and Public Purpose

Building a 21st-century American Economy

| November 2020

As the world confronts systematic, interrelated challenges from a raging pandemic to devastating climate catastrophes to a growing chasm of inequality, the United States has the opportunity to make deep commitments to new technological foundations that will usher in the next industrial revolution and greater shared prosperity. Or, we can continue along a business-as-usual path, ceding global leadership and the associated economic value creation elsewhere.

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Responsible Investing in Tech and Venture Capital

| September 2020

Historically, venture capital firms have been the first investors in many of the world’s largest and most influential companies. The business model, culture, and values of global companies are often shaped in the early years of a company’s development, and venture capital firms as the first investors and board members play an important role in this process. 

In the last few years, the world’s largest tech companies have run into major challenges in managing societal issues—the result of which has been governments, media, and activists taking a much deeper look how foundational values and cultures were shaped.

This discussion paper highlights several challenges and some potential solutions for advancing the management of societal impacts of venture capital firms and portfolio companies.