People & Planet in the Information Era

Leadership for Society
People & Planet in the Information Era

Dr. Brian Lowery dares to ask the questions that demand answers in our provocative speaker series on the information era. Join conversations with leaders from a variety of sectors to learn about the immense opportunity and critical challenges for society presented by the rapid explosion of information in our world.

People & Planet in the Information Era: Winter 2023

Join the Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Leadership for Society Program this winter to explore People and Planet in the Information Era.

Conversations will air on Mondays at 6:30pm PT starting in January 2023 via YouTube.

Session 1

January 9, 2023 6:30 PM PT

When Everything Is Fake News: Knowledge in the Information Era

As polarization, misinformation, and doubt in science rise, what will be the consequences for people and the world? Join us as we explore how technology and the information era have challenged knowledge, and what steps we may take to reclaim it.

Jitarth Jadeja, former QAnon believer and moderator of /r/QAnon Casualties
Mike Rothschild, journalist and author of 
The Storm is Upon Us and The World's Worst Conspiracies

Session 2

January 17*, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Big Tech & the Data Economy

As the era of Web 2.0 grew and came to dominate every aspect of our lives, so too did big tech companies’ access to our data. Our preferences, beliefs, and choices can now all be influenced by the complex algorithms informed by this data collection. Are there upsides to corporate data access? When does convenience for the economy become inconvenient for humanity?

Eric Schmidt, Co-Founder, Schmidt Futures; Former CEO & Chairman, Google; Chair of the Special Competitive Studies Project

*Because of the MLK Day holiday, we will hold this conversation on Tuesday the 17th

Session 3

January 23, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Big Brother is Watching: Law and Privacy

We live in a time of mass data gathering, not just on the part of private corporations, but also by governing bodies the world over. While some governments have expanded data privacy through regulation, others have capitalized on the control granted by gathering massive amounts of data on their citizenry. When does the sacrifice of privacy become too great for the promise of security?

Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU
Susie Alegre Barrister, legal data privacy expert for Doughty Street Chambers

Session 4

January 30, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Tech Monopolies: Promise or Peril?

From news conglomerates to the Big 5 tech companies, monopolies have become a fixture of data and information. These companies are involved in every corner of the economy and in every aspect of our reality. Is there a case for breaking up Big Tech? What happens when so much power is in the hands of so few?

Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04), Ranking Member for the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law

Session 5

February 6, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Free Speech: Where’s the line, Who’s to Say?

In the U.S., online speech has remained mostly unregulated by the federal government, leaving private platforms to determine for themselves the line between appropriate and not, to moderate or not. What happens when we moderate speech online, and who should decide what to censor? Conversely, what happens when we let misinformation and extremism take over the internet?

Melissa Ingle, Former Twitter engineer
Renée DiResta, Technical research manager for the Stanford Internet Observatory

Session 6

February 13, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Can Democracy Survive the Digital Era?

Modern elections have driven historic voter turnout through online communications, viral moments, and digital advertising utilizing sophisticated data targeting. Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring arose and furthered their movements’ ideologies and actions completely online. But are online movements sustainable? Do they ultimately make a difference?

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman (CA-18) and member of the House Judiciary Committee

Session 7

February 20, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Tech, What’s Next?

Through innovations like Web3, blockchain, and cryptocurrency, new movements in technology are shifting how we communicate, the goods we trade, and even our basic financial systems. What will be next in technology and information sharing? How will our society be altered by these changes?

Mercedes Bent, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners

Session 8

February 27, 2023 6:30 PM PT

The Existential Crisis: Addressing Climate Change

The climate science is clear, a transition to a carbon-free economy is direly needed. Yet it’s been difficult for governments and the corporate world to jump into climate action. How are the most important decisions for humanity and the planet made? What information do we need to seek solutions and what's preventing us from taking this critical action?

Ray Mabus, former Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Governor of Mississippi

Session 9

March 6, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Our Sci-Fi Future

With each passing moment, artificial intelligence and machine learning proliferate, furthering the abilities of technology in fields from writing, to finance, to manufacturing. What will these developments mean for creativity, imagination, and the prospects of humanity? What will our future look like in the face of technology that thinks more and more for itself?

Timnit Gebru, Founder & Executive Director of Distributed AI Research Institute

Session 10

March 13, 2023 6:30 PM PT

Me, Myself, and Technology

How Tech Defines Us: In the tech era, every action we take - from the minor to the grand - is tracked and documented. Our data reflects ourselves, but is also used to influence our actions and who we might become. How does tech affect us? How does it shape who we are?

Prof. Kate Eichhorn, Professor and Chair of Culture and Media Studies at The New School


After registering by completing this form, the Leadership for Society Program will send you a calendar invite and reminder email to join sessions live via YouTube.

With any questions, email:

Talk alone will not dismantle a system that has torn at all Americans — body, mind and soul — since this country’s inception. It’s time to educate friends and family, and demand more of leaders. It is time to be more than a cheerleader or ally and find ways to make permanent change.

Subscribe to the Podcast

or your preferred provider