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Urs Gasser

  • From Berkman Klein, new resources on inclusion and artificial intelligence

    From Berkman Klein, new resources promoting inclusion in design of AI

    February 27, 2018

    Last week, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University launched, a new website related to preventing bias in algorithms and ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of artificial intelligence.

  • An Open Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System

    November 17, 2017

    An open letter to the Massachusetts Legislature from Chelsea Barabas, Christopher Bavitz, Ryan Budish, Karthik Dinakar, Cynthia Dwork, Urs Gasser, Kira Hessekiel, Joichi Ito, Ronald L. Rivest, Madars Virza, and Jonathan Zittrain. Dear Members of the Massachusetts Legislature: We write to you in our individual capacities¹ regarding the proposed introduction of actuarial risk assessment (“RA”) tools in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. As you are no doubt aware, Senate Bill 2185² — passed by the Massachusetts Senate on October 27, 2017 — mandates implementation of RA tools in the pretrial stage of criminal proceedings...As researchers with a strong interest in algorithms and fairness, we recognize that RA tools may have a place in the criminal justice system. In some cases, and by some measures, use of RA tools may promote outcomes better than the status quo. That said, we are concerned that the Senate Bill’s implementation of RA tools is cursory and does not fully address the complex and nuanced issues implicated by actuarial risk assessments.

  • Berkman Klein Center announces 2017–2018 community

    July 13, 2017

    The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University today announced the incoming and returning fellows, faculty associates, affiliates, and directors who together will form the core of the Center’s networked community in the 2017-2018 academic year.

  • Connecting beyond the classroom

    April 21, 2017

    More than 60 Harvard Law students and 27 HLS faculty members took over the typically quiet tables of the library reading room for the first “Notes and Comment” event.

  • Ruth Okediji to Join Law School Faculty, Berkman Klein Center

    April 3, 2017

    Ruth L. Okediji, an intellectual property lawyer and professor, will join the Harvard Law School faculty as a tenured professor and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center in July, the Law School announced Friday. Okediji, whose scholarship also focuses on global economic regulation, received both her Master of Laws and Doctorate of Juridical Science from the Law School and is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School...Urs Gasser, the executive director of the Berkman Klein Center, wrote in an email that Okediji’s global expertise will benefit the center. “Professor Okediji's thought-leadership in innovation policy, [intellectual property], and international law with a focus on the Global South will bolster our ongoing global research and network-building efforts,” Gasser wrote.

  • Get Smart: The Berkman Klein Center Takes On Artificial Intelligence

    February 23, 2017

    Urs Gasser, director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, is not worried about artificially intelligent deathbots. “We at Berkman Klein are less focused on the longer-term risks of ‘Big AI,’” he says, referring to the human-like intelligent systems seen in sci-fi movies. “[We are] more concerned about autonomous systems, algorithms, and other technologies that have an important effect on people’s lives right now.”

  • Internet firms’ legal immunity is under threat

    February 10, 2017

    Google, Facebook and other online giants like to see their rapid rise as the product of their founders’ brilliance. Others argue that their success is more a result of lucky timing and network effects—the economic forces that tend to make bigger firms even bigger. Often forgotten is a third reason for their triumph: in America and, to some extent, in Europe, online platforms have been inhabiting a parallel legal universe. Broadly speaking, they are not legally responsible, either for what their users do or for the harm that their services can cause in the real world...“The internet is no longer a discrete side activity,” says Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School...The industry would naturally prefer self-regulation. Platforms not only have strong incentives to spot bad actors, but good information to identify them and the means to sanction in response, notes Urs Gasser of the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

  • The Ethics and Governance of AI: On the Role of Universities

    January 23, 2017

    An op-ed by Urs Gasser. Artificial intelligence is everywhere, at times obscured and sometimes fully hidden...In this particular moment, the research, development, and deployment of AI is primarily taking place in the private sector, while governments around the world are increasingly contracting out their own use of these powerful technologies. In this context, the future role of universities emerges as one that is particularly meaningful when it comes to addressing these questions of social impact, ethics, and governance of AI.

  • Harvard, MIT researchers to keep AI in line

    January 11, 2017

    Researchers from Harvard and MIT and philanthropists including the founders of LinkedIn and eBay are teaming up in a multimillion-dollar effort to make sure artificial intelligence is designed and used to make the world a better place...The Knight Foundation, the MIT Media Lab, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar have combined to create a $27 million fund called the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund that will support research and development to make AI beneficial for humans. The Media Lab and Berkman Klein Center are the first “anchor institutions”...“There’s definitely urgency,” said Urs Gasser, executive director of the Berkman Klein Center. The concerns, Gasser said, are less a robot uprising and more about whether AI understands the concept of fairness.

  • ‘Born Digital’ Redux

    December 20, 2016

    Earlier this year Urs Gasser, professor of practice and executive director of the Berkman Klein Center, and John Palfrey, Center director and former HLS professor published 'Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age,' an expansion of their critically acclaimed 2008 book 'Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives.'

  • Lost in the splinternet

    November 4, 2016

    Free-speech advocates were aghast—and data-privacy campaigners were delighted—when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) embraced the idea of a digital “right to be forgotten” in May 2014. It ruled that search engines such as Google must not display links to “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” information about people if they request that they be removed, even if the information is correct and was published legally. ...  In the analogue age, such transnational problems would have been dealt with in the appropriate intergovernmental organisation. On criminal matters, information was exchanged through bilateral mutual legal-assistance treaties (MLATs). But such mechanisms are designed for limited amounts of information in a slow-moving world. Now cross-border data flows are the rule (see chart 1) and technology is evolving fast. Urs Gasser, executive director at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, says that the existing system of international co-operation is becoming overwhelmed.

  • Berkman Klein Center announces 2016-2017 community

    August 11, 2016

    A number of new fellows, faculty associates, and affiliates will join the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University for the 2016-2017 academic year.

  • Michael R. Klein LL.M. ’67 supports future of cyberspace exploration and study

    July 5, 2016

    Harvard Law School and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University have announced that Michael R. Klein LL.M. '67 has made a gift of $15 million to the Berkman Center, which in recognition, will now be known as the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

  • Big ‘thinks’ come in small packages: HLS Thinks Big

    July 1, 2016

    In late May, four Harvard Law faculty — Scott Brewer, Gerald Neuman '80, Esme Caramello '99, and Urs Gasser LL.M. '03 — shared snapshots of their latest research with the Harvard Law School community as part of the HLS Thinks Big speaker series.

  • At the Asian Leadership Conference, Gasser addresses the challenges of cybersecurity in a ‘hyperconnected’ world

    June 21, 2016

    Urs Gasser, Harvard Law School professor and executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, delivered a presentation last month on "The Future of Cybersecurity" at the Asian Leadership Conference, an annual event bringing together leaders across the globe to discuss and provide solutions to Asia's most pressing challenges.

  • Students host mini-symposium on data privacy

    Students host mini-symposium on data privacy

    May 2, 2016

    On April 12, students in Professor of Practice Urs Gasser’s Spring 2016 Comparative Online Privacy Seminar at Harvard Law School hosted a student-led mini-symposium on data privacy in the U.S. and the EU with experts from private companies, law firms, and academia.

  • Cravath fellows travel globally to experience international and comparative law

    April 15, 2016

    Thirteen Harvard Law School students were selected as the 2016 Cravath International Fellows. The fellows traveled to 12 countries for winter term clinical placements or independent research with an international, transnational, or comparative law focus. Below, four of those students are highlighted.

  • Berkman Center launches new internet data dashboard

    September 30, 2015

    Internet Monitor dashboard, a freely available tool that helps identify trends in Internet activity through data visualization, has been launched by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

  • Luce Foundation Awards $400k to Harvard Law for the development of SHARIAsource

    June 30, 2015

    The Henry Luce Foundation recently awarded $400,000 over two years for the development of SHARIAsource, a project designed to be an online portal of resources and analysis on Islamic law and directed by Harvard Law School Professor Intisar A. Rabb.

  • Digitally Connected: New ebook offers global perspectives on youth and digital media

    April 10, 2015

    The Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Youth and Media released a new ebook 'Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media,' a first-of-its kind collection of essays that offers reflections from diverse perspectives on youth experiences with digital media and with focus on the Global South.

  • Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: New Study by Global Network of Internet and Society Centers

    January 15, 2015

    The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University have released a new report on Multistakeholder Governance Groups, which informs the debate about Internet governance models and mechanisms.