What kind of leadership is needed to respond to the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence and big data, and what role might character play in guiding technology leaders?

On October 28, Dr. Michael Lamb, Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character and Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities, joined Dr. Philip Brey, Professor of Philosophy of Technology at University of Twente in the Netherlands, to explore these questions in a conversation coordinated by Purdue University and moderated by Natasha Singer, a technology reporter for the New York Times who writes about consumer privacy and health technology.

Lamb and Brey offered insight into the unique challenges facing our technology-centered society and shared potential methods for integrating ethics into the design and usage of various technologies. Drawing on his research and experience at Wake Forest, Lamb noted the importance of cultivating ethical leaders in the realm of technology and empowering consumers to think critically about their relationships with technology and how best to exercise their technological freedom. He also mentioned the curricular and co-curricular initiatives that the Program for Leadership and Character uses to equip students with the ethical tools to lead with character, such as the Leadership and Character discussion group on “Technology and the Good Life,” Dr. William Cochran’s course, “The Ethics of Emerging Technologies,” and Dr. Lamb’s first-year seminar, “Commencing Character: How Should We Live?”

“Defining Ethical Leadership” is part of an initiative at Purdue funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. intended to develop curricula focused on character formation in the realm of technology.