Dialogues & Debates: Highlights from the MozFest Speaker Series


By Mozilla | Oct. 15, 2019 | Mozilla Festival

The Dialogue & Debates (D&D) speakers series at MozFest aims to give participants insight into some of the most topical, critical issues and advances in the internet health space, from the perspective of key players from around the globe. We aim for a broad diversity of voices and disciplines: in the past, we’ve booked internet pioneer Tim Berners Lee and comedienne Ashley Black.

There's a a terrific line-up of speakers and panelists for the Dialogues & Debates series at MozFest 2019, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities of emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

While we're waiting impatiently for this year's Festival, we asked Mozilla’s Editorial Lead Kevin Zawacki, who organizes the series, to highlight a few of his favorite D&D offerings from past years.

image of panel members from 2018's AI's Collateral Damage

In 2018 the MozFest theme was Data Done Right, and the D&D line-up featured a fantastic panel linking this theme to emerging Artificial Intelligence technology. Zawacki says: “In ‘AI’s Collateral Damage,’ we had AI experts from a range of sectors — civil society, industry, law enforcement — discuss that biggest societal threats that AI can pose, like radicalization and automated discrimination. It was both enlightening and frightening.”

Video of the D&D panel "AI's Collateral Damage"

Under the banner of Web For All, the 2017 D&D series included a talk by investigative journalist Julia Angwin, who elaborated on her groundbreaking reporting on biased algorithms. “Angwin revealed how automated decision making systems, when fed bad data, can wreak havoc on a national scale,” says Zawacki.

Julia Angwin D&D video

At the inaugural D&D series in 2016, the Festival theme was One Web. Zawacki highlights a talk by Turkish socio-technologist Zeynep Tufekci. “She kickstarted a conversation at the festival about how social media doesn’t just host the conversation — it actively shapes it.”

Zeynep Tufekci D&D video

Zawacki collaborates to curate each year’s line-up. “Speakers are selected a number of ways. Some are recommended by festival attendees; others are Mozilla collaborators, like fellows; and others still are like-minded thinkers that we run into on Twitter and at other events.” Got a great idea for a panel or speaker for an upcoming MozFest? Send your suggestions to kevin@mozillafoundation.org.

Don’t miss out on this year’s Dialogues & Debates program. Get your MozFest tickets now!