TU Wien Informatics

20 Years

Technology Is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering?

  • By Claudia Vitt (edt.)
  • 2021-05-27
  • Digital Humanism
  • Public Lecture
  • Event
  • Social Responsibility

In this year’s Gödel lecture, Moshe Vardi will explain why the ethical lens is too narrow for dealing with technology’s impact on society.

Technology Is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering?
Picture: Rice University

  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

Technology Is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering? From the Vienna Circle to Digital HumanismMoshe Y. Vardi

Note: For a report on and a recording of the 8th Vienna Gödel Lecture by Moshe Y Vardi click here.

The benefits of computing are intuitive. Computing yields tremendous societal benefits; for example, the life-saving potential of driverless cars is enormous. But computing is not a game—it is real—and it brings with it not only societal benefits but also significant societal costs, such as labor polarization, disinformation, and smartphone addiction.

The common reaction to this crisis is to label it as an “ethical crisis”, and the proposed response is to add courses in ethics to the academic computing curriculum. This talk will argue that the ethical lens is too narrow. The real issue is how to deal with technology’s impact on society. Technology is driving the future, but who is doing the steering? Moshe Vardi will show how these issues relate to the Vienna Circle and the recently declared Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism.

Online Event

May 27th 2021, 17:00 - 19:00 CEST (15:00 - 17:00 UTC; other time zones)

Join the lecture via Zoom, or watch it live on YouTube.

17:00: Welcome Address

17:15: 2021 Vienna Gödel Lecture

“Technology is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering?”, Moshe Y. Vardi

18:15: Q&A

Ask Moshe your questions online.

18:45: Closing Words

Gerti Kappel, Dean

About Vienna Gödel Lectures

Named after the famous Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) and introduced in 2013, the annual Vienna Gödel Lectures bring world-class scientists to Vienna. The lecture series illustrates the fundamental and disruptive contribution of computer science to our information society. It investigates how our discipline explains and shapes the world we live in—and thereby our lives as such.

About Moshe Vardi

Moshe Vardi is one of the most-cited computer scientists worldwide. He is the George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and University Professor of Computer Science at Rice University, Texas. His interests focus on automated reasoning, a branch of Artificial Intelligence with broad applications to computer science, including database theory, computational complexity theory, knowledge in multi-agent systems, computer-aided design and verification, and teaching logic across the curriculum.

Prior to joining Rice in 1993, he was at the IBM Almaden Research Center, where he managed the Mathematics and Related Computer Science Department. Vardi received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1981. He is the author and co-author of over 600 articles and two books, “Reasoning about Knowledge” and “Finite Model Theory and Its Applications”, and the editor of several collections.

Moshe Vardi is the recipient of numerous awards, including three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, the 2000 Goedel Prize, the 2005 ACM Kanellakis Award for Theory and Practice, the 2006 LICS Test-of-Time Award, the 2008 ACM PODS Mendelzon Test-of-Time Award, the 2008 ACM SIGMOD Codd Innovations Award, the 2008 Blaise Pascal Medal for Computer Science by the European Academy of Sciences, the 2008 ACM Presidential Award, the 2010 CRA Distinguished Service Award, the 2010 ACM Outstanding Contribution Award, the 2011 IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Award, the 2012 EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award, and the Southeastern Universities Research Association’s 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2017 ACM Presidential Award, and the 2018 ACM SIGLOG Church Award. The 2021 Donald E. Knuth Prize was recently awarded to Moshe Y. Vardi for outstanding contributions that apply mathematical logic to multiple fundamental areas of computer science. He also received the ACM - AAAI Allen Newell Award for contributions to the development of logic as a unifying foundational framework and a tool for modeling computational systems.

He is a fellow of several societies and a member of several honorary academies (US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Europaea). He holds multiple honorary doctorates—one of them commended by TU Wien in 2018—and is a Senior Editor of Communications of the ACM, the premier publication in computing.

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