Ethics In Tech founder Vahid Razavi isn’t alone during the coronavirus pandemic. No, our intrepid leader has plenty of company—and commotion—as he has adopted Furball, a formerly unhoused cat who has provided the inspiration for our next community and comedy night’s theme.

Yes, we’re letting all the cats out of the Big Tech bag. What does that mean? We’re featuring talks by former tech managers and workers, and cat definitely won’t have our tongue. Those of you who know our events will know that we’re not just about informing and education, but also entertaining, and as usual we will follow our discussions with an all-star comic lineup.

Here’s what we’ve got in store for you on Thursday, October 1. And here’s a link to purchase tickets. We hope to see you there!

Speakers:

VAHID RAZAVI a technology veteran of Silicon Valley. Vahid has founded, advised and worked in senior management roles in Silicon Valley. He has published two books, The Age of Nepotism and Ethics In Tech and Lack Thereof. As a lifelong activist and humanitarian he has published hundreds of articles and videos on various social issues including tech industry and social injustice.

He has previously worked for companies such as Amazon Web Services, Fast Search, Exodus Communications, Qwest Communications, and was the founder of the Cloud Computing Company BizCloud.

Abstract: A Critical Review of Amazon Leadership Principles. A first hand critical review of Amazon leadership principles by its former employee. The real life implication of Amazon Leadership principles and its impact on its workers, employees, partners and customers from a perspective of a former employee of Amazon Web Services.

BORIS DEBIC Former Employee of Google and Now Advisor to Ethics In Tech

Boris Debić is a former Google technologist, Chief History Officer who joined the company in 2005. He holds an M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. At Google he has worked in several roles: Release engineering, G+Privacy, Global Infrastructure, Data center site location, Ads serving infrastructure. He has worked with Google.org on analysis and exchange of global climate modeling data sets and agricultural data to provide food security forecasts.

He consults with the Zagreb School of Economics and Management. Prior to Google he held positions in: Silicon Valley startups, most notably E.piphany; the United Nations; the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Zagreb. Boris Debić has been a lecturer, invited keynote speaker and organizer of Computer Science conferences.

Abstract: This headline is from 1993; “Over 500 business-ethics courses are currently taught on American campuses; fully 90% of the nation’s business schools now provide some kind of training in the area. There are more than 25 textbooks in the field and 3 academic journals dedicated to the topic. At least 16 business-ethics research centers are now in operation, and endowed chairs in business ethics have been established at Georgetown, Virginia, Minnesota, and a number of other prominent business schools.”

So what is going on with ethics in Big Tech? I will give a perspective from a few corners of contemporary big tech. The picture is not great, but there are a few glimmers of reason.

BOB CHANDRA has served 20 years in high-technology in Product Management for companies such as Amazon, Twitter, and Walmart Global E-Commerce. Bob served as a senior manager for the largest online marketing channel globally at Amazon. Having worked at several elite tech companies, Bob has seen Big Tech up-close: the good, bad, and ugly. Bob has served as Commissioner of the Saratoga Library and currently serves as Executive Director of the non-profit LiveFree.

Abstract: Challenging Apathy within Tech: Why the Bamboo Ceiling won’t break

We are familiar with the notion of “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.But do we actually take it seriously? Does High-Tech believe it where Asians are concerned? Statistics show that Asian-Americans are the least promoted of all races. Does anyone care? Dreams die; people are prevented from self-actualizing. Yet racism against Asians is greeted by a kind of apathy from even those who prize social justice within tech organizations. The talk will shine a light on the blindspots in racial justice awareness and how to make high-tech culture racially fair for the thousands of Asian-Americans today seen through the lens of stereotypes.

Rev. MARTIN TODD ALLEN, Advisor To Ethics In Technology

Rev. Martin Todd Allen is an Associate Minister at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples. He is scheduled to graduate with a Doctor of Ministry(DMin) at the Pacific School of Religion May 2020. His DMin project trains congregations to demand and demonstrate eco-socialist alternatives to global capitalism. Previously, Rev. Allen worked as a prison, hospital and military Chaplain and currently works as a hospice chaplain in the South Bay. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of The Human Agenda.

DEBI DURST, Comedian and Advisor to Ethics In Tech

Forged in the crucible of improvisational theater at a young age, Debi has performed with every improv group known to Humanity in the Bay Area, beginning with The Committee, Spaghetti Jam, Femprov, The Comedy Underground, The National Theater of the Deranged, Papaya Juice, The Dinosaurs of Improv, The Marsh Jam and currently The Bad Aunties.

She produces San Francisco’s Comedy Celebration Day and The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show.

She is the official emcee of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest and her heart pumps orange and black for her San Francisco Giants.

Comedian JOE KLOCEK

Joe is a square peg in a round hole sort of guy. Raised a midwesterner, so he has manners, but living in San Francisco for 20 years, so he thinks he’s better than you.
Joe does two things great- tells stories and talks to the crowd.

Joe has been invited to give a TEDx Talk in 2020! Joe had a two month “comic in residency” at the first comedy club in Shanghai, China. Joe has been featured on NPR’s, “Snap Judgement” and has also appeared on Comedy Centrals, “Live at Gotham” NBC’s, “Last Comic Standing” and was commentator for the Emmy award winning documentary, “A Bridge so Far”

Joe has performed at every major comedy club in the country, including Alaska and is a regular on the Bay Area Comedy Scene.

Comedian MAUREEN LANGAN is a standup comic and talk show host who has performed on Broadway with Rosie O’Donnell and has opened for Steven Wright, Joy Behar, and Gladys Knight. Her podcast, Hanging With Langan, can be heard wherever you get your podcasts. Jerry Stiller says, “Maureen is to comedy what James Brown is to soul.”

Comedian DAN ST. PAUL

Dan has been a national headlining comedian for over 30 yrs. He has appeared on NBC, ABC, FOX, Comedy Central, A&E, and VH-1. Dan has also opened for such celebrities as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, Hall and Oates, Vince Gill, Chicago, and even the San Francisco Symphony (“I knew them when they were just a garage band.”) His “The First Baseball Game” is one of the most requested comedy pieces on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show.

Photo Credit: Val D’Aquila (Flickr Creative Commons)


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