After experiencing two insightful speeches about digital media and ethics, I decided stay for the final talk on technology and ethics. I took the stairs to Regents Hall and took a seat amongst the audience of students and professors to hear four insightful speakers. The first speaker was Susan Etlinger from Altimeter Group. She brought up some excellent points regarding ownership and stewardship of photos that are posted on the web. Photos that become a meme are no longer owned by anyone- they are out for grabs in the digital world. It was a scary revelation.
The next speaker was Brian Fitzpatrick from Google. He was the main focus out of the four speakers because many are concerned about their information being stored by Google and what they’re doing with it. He stated that he believes policy is not about ethics at all. He mentioned that Google was not legally allowed to say if they got information from the government, but now they can be more transparent with their users. You can now tell Google if you want to export or delete data which is the main reason why thousands and thousands of web links have been recently deleted. Fitzpatrick believes that in the age of internet, good business is not necessarily ethics based. Products are better and Google has to continue to be up to date because there are many up and coming businesses that will come around and succeed and potentially take over Google. He brought up an excellent point that almost everyone uses Google because it’s 1) a good product and 2) users trust it. If no one trusted Google, then they would use another search engine but they don’t. He told the audience that Google does not sell your information to other businesses which was a relief to hear (if it’s true).
The last speaker was Sandee Kastrul from i.c. stars. She did an excellent job finishing up the International Symposium by discussing leadership. She believes that young people need to “change state of mind” for freedom in order to effectively be a leader. Most people don’t associate leadership by making opportunities for others and serving our community, but those are the two critical key parts of a leader. Ms. Kastrul’s organization trains inner-city youth in business skills, leadership and technology. She said that technology and data are used to solve problems. Solving problems allows you to acquire intellectual capital which is pivotal in order to have status. Status is needed in order to make a change. The way to procure status is by having financial stability, connections and most importantly, intellectual capital. Another important piece of information she shared was regarding intelligence. She believes that the more intelligence you obtain, the more responsibility you have to share your knowledge to others. If you hold that knowledge only to yourself, it’s selfish. She ended her speech by asking two key questions: How will I take my element and turn up the heat or allow people to chill when they are heated? Also, How will YOU make a change? These two questions stuck in my mind as I ended my inspiring day at the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy Symposium.