The Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought presents:

Tech for Social Good?

The rapid rise of tech giants and information networks has had global consequences, from the information-sharing fueled rise of conspiracy-driven populism, to disparate calls for regulatory responses to disinformation and hate speech, to questions on how AI can be used to infringe upon basic human rights. How can the same technological forces triggering disruption be harnessed for social good? What social, legal, and philosophical pathways could pave the way for this paradigm shift? Join the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought for a discussion of the global implications of the rise of big tech and the possible pathways to achieving digital inclusion on a global scale.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights


Jessica Fjeld | Assistant Director, Cyberlaw Clinic, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Jessica Fjeld is a Lecturer on Law and the Assistant Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. She focuses her legal practice on issues impacting digital media and art including intellectual property; freedom of expression, privacy, and related human rights issues; contract; and corporate law. Recently, she has emphasized work with AI-generated art, the overlap of existing rights and ethics frameworks on emerging technologies, and legal issues confronted by digital archives. She is a member of the board of the Global Network Initiative, a multistakeholder organization the protects and advances user freedom of expression and privacy around the world.

Before joining the Clinic, Jessica worked in Business & Legal Affairs for WGBH Educational Foundation, where she advised the American Archive of Public Broadcasting along with numerous WGBH productions. She began her legal career as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP focused in corporate transactions. Jessica is also a poet, the author of Redwork (BOAAT Press, 2018), and the recipient of awards from the Poetry Society of America and the 92nd Street Y/Boston Review Discovery Prize. She holds a JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a Hamilton Fellow, James Kent Scholar and Managing Editor of the Journal of Law and the Arts; an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts; and a BA from Columbia University.

G.S. Hans | Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University

Gautam Hans is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School, where he directs the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic, helping students represent clients on free speech, association, and press matters. An expert on free speech, privacy, and intellectual property, he writes on how individuals, companies, and governments react to the changing nature of information and technology via law and policy. Prior to Vanderbilt, he served as a Clinical Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School, and worked on technology law and policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School; his M.S. in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information; and his B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Mark Hansen | David and Helen Gurley Brown Professor of Journalism and Innovation; Director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute of Media Innovation; Member, Committee on Global Thought

Mark Hansen joined the faculty at Columbia Journalism School in July of 2012 and took on the position of inaugural director of the east coast branch of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Prior to joining Columbia, he was a professor at UCLA, holding appointments in the Department of Statistics, the Department of Design Media Arts and the Department of Electrical Engineering. He was also a Co-PI for Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, an NSF Science and Technology Center devoted to the study of sensor networks. Prior to UCLA, Hansen was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

For nearly three decades, Hansen has been working at the intersection of data, art and technology. Hansen has an active art practice involving the presentation of data for the public. His work with Ben Rubin, Jer Thorp and The Office for Creative Research has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the London Science Museum, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, and the lobbies of the New York Times building and the Public Theater (permanent displays) in Manhattan. “Listening Post” by Hansen and Rubin received the 2004 Golden Nica for Interactive Art.

In terms of his journalistic experience, Hansen has been a long-standing visiting researcher at the New York Times R&D Lab, a late-career intern at the Marshall Project, and a consultant with HBO Sports. Hansen teaches mainly advanced data analysis and computational journalism at Columbia. In 2018, Hansen’s Computational Journalism course at Columbia Journalism School contributed the original reporting for the New York Times’ piece, The Follower Factory, which exposed the bot economy behind the sale of fake followers on Twitter. That article was ultimately cited by Twitter as the reason for its July, 2018 “purge” of tens of millions of suspicious accounts, and was partially responsible for California’s bot law. It was also part of a package of stories from the Times that won the 2019 Polk Award for National Reporting, and was a finalist for a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

Hansen is a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Responsive Politics, and serves on the Council for the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. He is also an Elected Member of The International Statistical Institute.

Hansen holds a BS in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis, and an MA and a PhD in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been awarded eight patents and has published over 60 papers in data science, statistics and computer science.