Reports & Papers

7 Items

Les Droits de l’Homme, 1947 - a surrealist painting showing an anthropomorphic chess piece standing on a bridge next to a flaming tuba.

Rene Magritte

Report

Whose Streets? Our Streets! (Tech Edition)

    Author:
  • Rebecca Williams
| August 2021

This report is an urgent warning of where we are headed if we maintain our current trajectory of augmenting our public space with trackers of all kinds. In this report, I outline how current “smart city” technologies can watch you. I argue that all “smart city” technology trends toward corporate and state surveillance and that if we don’t stop and blunt these trends now that totalitarianism, panopticonism, discrimination, privatization, and solutionism will challenge our democratic possibilities. This report examines these harms through cautionary trends supported by examples from this last year and provides 10 calls to action for advocates, legislatures, and technology companies to prevent these harms. If we act now, we can ensure the technology in our public spaces protect and promote democracy and that we do not continue down this path of an elite few tracking the many. 

A scene at the national Veterans Day celebration on November 11, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

VA Photo/James Lucas

Paper

Improving Veterans’ Digital Experience Across Presidential Administrations

    Authors:
  • David Leftwich
  • Kelly O'Connor
  • Alex Loehr
| August 2020

The success story of the digital efforts at VA surviving the uncertainties of a cross-party Presidential transition, and thriving despite subsequent substantial VA leadership turnover, presents an interesting case study. What should we take away from this story of growth and transition at VA? How did Marina Nitze, Charles Worthington, and their teams navigate a time of great uncertainty—a time when many initiatives stall or die in a new administration? And what lessons might apply in future Presidential transitions?

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci

AP/Alex Brandon

Paper - Centre for International Governance Innovation

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

| Aug. 24, 2020

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy.

A projectoxford.ai demonstration of emotion recognition software.

Jon Nicholls

Paper - Partnership on AI

The Ethics of AI and Emotional Intelligence

| July 30, 2020

Governments are thinking hard about AI strategy, policy, and ethics. Now is the time for a broader public debate about the ethics of artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence, while those policies are being written, and while the use of AI for emotions and affect is not yet well entrenched in society. Applications are broad, across many sectors, but most are still in early stages of use.

Office workers using sticky notes on a wall

Adobe Stock

Paper

Human-Centered Policymaking

| April 2020

Human-centered design (HCD) is a complementary discipline that has its roots in industrial design, the discipline that crafts physical products like phones, guitars, and potato peelers. It leverages the qualitative research methods honed in the social sciences—such as ethnography, contextual inquiry, and targeted observations and interviews—to better understand people and interactions. HCD also considers environments, processes, systems, and tools outside of the digital realm. Practitioners often map out customer “journeys” to understand customer experiences across an entire system or ecosystem, not merely a single interface or piece of software. As in agile software development, practitioners of human-centered design iteratively develop solutions to the challenges they uncover, and they rigorously test their solutions with real “users.”

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship

Reimagining Investing in Frontier Technology

| June 12, 2019

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) and Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship co-hosted Reimagining Investing in Frontier Technology on May 15, 2019. This workshop convened over 70 investors (Limited Partners and General Partners), entrepreneurs, technologists, and others investing in and building frontier technologies in areas including artificial intelligence, genome engineering, advanced computing technologies, and more. The workshop explored the challenges investors and entrepreneurs face in bringing products to market in ways that maximize their benefits to society while minimizing harms.