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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Media Mentions

A selection of articles, op-eds, TV segments, and other media featuring Center staff.


AP Images - Matt Rourke

Bay Area Experts Weigh in on Facebook Co-Founder's Opinion to Break Up Company

"Large unregulated companies are not necessarily considering the downstream effects of some of the decisions they're making today," said Ann Skeet, Senior Director at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

"Norms are shifting in our society about how we're going to define success, and biggest isn't always best," she said. "And making the most money isn't the only thing we need to be thinking about."

Ann Skeet, Senior Director of Leadership Ethics, quoted in ABC7 News (AP Photo/Matt Rourke).

Wall of Empathy in San Franciso (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu).

The Dilemma of Empathy and the News

In her doctoral work at Stanford University, Anita Varma argues that journalism can fail to reach its potential when it limits itself to evoking empathy by focusing on the plights of individuals. When it comes to constructively addressing issues of social injustice, journalists should shift their frame to one of “moral solidarity”: documenting the societal, systemic causes of disparity, discrimination, and marginalization, by emphasizing the stake we all have in correcting injustice. She documents the rich but obscured history of solidarity in American journalism, and argues that as a journalistic frame, it “calls for people to be concerned not only for their own community’s lived conditions, but also for distant communities’ lived conditions, on the grounds that achieving social justice requires a commitment to a larger good beyond self or intragroup interest”.

Anita Varma quoted in Psychology Today (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu).

Facebook F8 Developer Conference 2019 (AP Photo/Tony Avelar).

Innovation Interrupted: Facebook Lawsuit Diverts Attention From F8 2019

"They have some exposure because one of the things we’re looking for from our executives in leadership in companies is transparency and sort of making timely disclosure on things that could affect the company’s future. Certainly investors have a right to expect that."

Ann Skeet, Senior Director of Leadership Ethics, quoted in KTVU (AP Photo/Tony Avelar).

Al Gore and Tim Cook at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2013 (AP Photo/Eric Risberg).

These Former Government Officials Rake in the Big Bucks From Bay Area Tech

Restrictions on who can sit on corporate boards vary based on which government agency the director is coming from.

“There are cooling off periods in terms of what former public officials can engage in”.

Hana Callaghan, Director of Government Ethics, quoted in San Francisco Business Times (AP Photo/Eric Risberg).

Poster of missing person (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner).

Why a Pennsylvania Woman Started a Facebook Group to Help Find a Missing Indianapolis Baby

"But if they mistakenly identified someone, they couldn’t cause the kind of harm that they can do now. Bad actors have learned how to really misuse the medium".

Irina Raicu, Director of Internet Ethics, quoted in IndyStar (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner).


Query Results

We want ethics to go along with the development of AI more closely than it has with the development of other technologies. We don’t want it to have to catch up.

Irina Raicu, Director of Internet Ethics, feature in Santa Clara Magazine (Santa Clara Magazine).

Google Sign

Hey Google, Sorry You Lost Your Ethics Council, So We Made One for You

"I think this was a great missed opportunity. It left me wondering who, within Google, was involved in the decision-making about whom to invite. (That decision, in itself, required diverse input.) But this speaks to the broader problem here: the fact that Google made the announcement about the creation of the board without any explanation of their criteria for selecting the participants. There was also very little discussion of their reasons for creating the board, what they hoped the board's impact would be, etc. Had they provided more context, the ensuing discussion might have been different.

"There are other issues, too; given how fast AI is developing and being deployed, four meetings (even with a diverse group of AI ethics advisors), over the course of a year, are not likely to have meaningful impact--i.e. to really change the trajectory of research or product development. As long as the model is agile development, we need agile ethics input, too."

Irina Raicu, director of Internet Ethics, quoted in MIT Technology Review.

In this file photo from Oct. 28, 2006, a mock patient is cared for during a drill at the Nebraska biocontainment unit in the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Money in Medicine

"Ann Mongoven thinks that it is 'almost impossible for modern medicine and research' to be conducted without conflicts of interest. But when it comes to inaccurate disclosures, Mongoven said it comes down to three possibilities: 'Sloppiness, deliberate deceit or highly questionable distinction-making.'"

"Mongoven said that disclosures are an acknowledgement that scientists may not be the best judges of distortion when they stand to benefit financially from a published finding. She likened disclosures to a community check on the way financial incentives may cloud concluding judgements."

Ann Mongoven, associate director of Health Care Ethics, quoted in Yale News.

robot hand typing

How AI Will Go Out Of Control


“There are a lot of people suddenly interested in A.I. ethics because they realize they’re playing with fire. And this is the biggest thing since fire.”

Brian Patrick Green, director of Technology Ethics, quoted in CB Insights.

Google sign

Is Tech Development in Sunnyvale Creating a Conflict of Interest?

In reference to Google's agreement to pay nearly $1.25 million to fund two Sunnyvale city staff positions, Hana Callaghan says that the agreement appears to create a conflict of interest given the scale at which Google is growing within the city. When asked if the arrangement was made to buy influence, Callaghan answered, "Even if that wasn't the intended effect, it certainly gives the appearance that that might be what is the motivation behind it." Callaghan added, "Even if they agree that they won't get special treatment, is that actually what in fact is going to happen?" 

Hana Callaghan, director of Government Ethics, quoted on NBC Bay Area.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma