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Leonie Beyrle

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

Latanya Sweeney Photo

Latanya Sweeney

Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology, HKS and FAS


We live in a new kind of technocracy –a society in which technology design dictates the rules that govern daily life. In the race to construct the latest gadget, app and online service, winning depends on rapid uptake and business success. Losing are social norms and democratic values. This course examines the complex interplay between technology design, governance and economic interests and introduces ways to intervene to navigate towards a victorious future where society reaps the benefits of technological innovations without sacrificing critical values.  The course introduces a logic to reason about technology-society conflicts and a model to predict outcomes from conflicts, disruptions and exposed issues. Students learn not only how to spot unforeseen technology consequences but also what to do about them. The course uses a set of historical case studies interleaved with contemporary and timely variations on surveillance and privacy, identity and governance, algorithmic bias, and technology’s erosion of democratic values and historical protections. This course assumes no computer science or data science background. 

Please note, for the second weekly class session students have the option to attend either the scheduled Thursday class or a Wednesday 1:30-2:45PM class at FAS. Both sessions will be held jointly with Gov 1433. Please see syllabus for details.