Discover more from Anchor Change with Katie Harbath
My SXSW PanelPicker Picks
Voting is open through Sunday, August 20, for next year’s conference
I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of August. Not sure about the rest of you, but I’m in this weird in-between place where I have a very long to-do list, but it’s also quiet. One would think this would help with said to-do list, but alas, I fear it keeps getting longer as I have more time to brainstorm ideas. 😂
One of the things that is going on right now is the Panel Picker for SXSW. This is an annual tradition where people can submit ideas for the March conference in Austin, and the community can vote on them. These votes make up 30 percent of the selection process.
There are A LOT of panels to wade through. So I thought I would share my favorites from the government and civic engagement track, including some I’m on.
Voting ends this Sunday, August 20 - so take a few minutes these next few days and vote for your favorites. You can find out more about how to do that here. Anyone can vote - even if you don’t attend the conference - so any help is appreciated.
If I missed your panel or one you like, please leave it in the comments!
Before we get to the links, I ask that you support the independent journalism and analysis I’m doing with this newsletter. As a paid subscriber, you make it possible for me to bring you in-depth analyses on the most pressing issues in tech and politics. I’m just short of 200 paid subscribers, and your support can help me reach that milestone!
Weird Flex But OK: The Future of Content Moderation
There is a problematic gap between the pace of technological change and regulatory development. Once policies are agreed and implemented – technology has moved on. That’s why it’s important to design measures that’re both robust and flexible. But as online interactions moves from bulletin boards to multiverses, how can users stay protected? In 2023 these trust & safety experts and industry insiders revealed how independent bodies are addressing sensitive issues in social media. They are reconvening to look into the future at how these content moderation mechanisms are preparing for the future.
Ronaldo Lemos, Board Member, Oversight Board
Jennifer Broxmeyer, Director, Governance, Meta
Charlotte Willner, Executive Director, Trust & Safety Professionals Association
Brittan Heller, Affiliate at Stanford Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University
Tech, Elections and Democracy: Boon or Bust?
From the US to the UK, and India to Indonesia, millions are going to the polls in 2024. Social media has revolutionized elections and political campaigns. We know the story: it's a boon to democracy – expanding access to information and increasing connections between voters and candidates. But it also eases the spread of false information and threatens to undermine the system. So what can be done to protect freedom of speech and civic spaces online? This session brings together civil advocates, industry insiders, and political thought-leaders to discuss how technology is redefining democracy.
Pamela San Martín, Board Member, Oversight Board`
Ellen Weintraub, Commissioner, Federal Elections Commission
Katie Harbath, CEO, Anchor Change
Rachel Wolbers, Head Global Engagement, Oversight Board
The world’s online communities - our internet 'public squares' - have been ravaged by disinformation and abuse. Can we restore civility and elevate truth, even in the face of disagreement? Doing so will require shared responsibility among users, media, and platforms (and maybe a gentle nudge from AI). That’s according to four experts - Yoel Roth, ex-Trust & Safety for Twitter; Katherine Maher, former Wikimedia CEO; Arielle Pardes, tech journalist for WIRED and The Information; and Gabor Cselle, co-founder of the Trust & Safety-first social platform, T2.
Yoel Roth, Tech Policy Fellow @ UC Berkeley, Former Head of Trust & Safety @ Twitter, UC Berkeley (x-Twitter)
Gabor Cselle, Co-founder, T2
Arielle Pardes, Journalist, Prologue Projects. Previously WIRED and The Information, VICE.
Katherine Maher, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
AI is here to stay, and precious few experts with hands-on experience are in the policymaking space to help shape the future AI landscape. With four panelists having made the rare pivot from big tech to civil society, the conversation will focus on lessons learned and lessons needed (on both the industry and civil society side), building bridges to craft more effective and equitable AI policy, and upleveling the type of engagements between the two.
Adam Conner, Vice President, Technology Policy, Center for American Progress
Megan Shahi, Director, Technology Policy, Center for American Progress
Dave Willner, Policy Advisor; former Head of Trust & Safety, OpenAI
Katie Harbath, Chief Executive, Anchor Change
Big internet platforms have been abused to subvert elections, bully dissidents, and carry out ethnic cleansing. What can we do to mitigate these harms in the next five years?
Paul Gowder is a law professor and political scientist who served as the in-house democratic theorist on Facebook's Civic Integrity team. Drawing from his new book, The Networked Leviathan, he will explain why current efforts by both governments and companies to prevent the worst platform disasters continue to fail (tl;dr incentives and information), and how to build direct, global, platform democracy to do better.
Paul Gowder, Professor of Law, Northwestern University
In the context of vitality in film, entertainment, elections, and generative AI, what cross-network data and algorithmic integrity concerns are most relevant, and how are various demographics affected differently by mis/disinformation in virality.
Theodora Skeadas, Deputy Director, State of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Technology Services and Security
Hallie Stern, Founder and Director of Digital Rapid Response and Information Strategy, Mad Mirror Media
Soribel Feliz, Microsoft, Project Manager
Over years of striving to rein in harms on their platforms, big tech companies like Meta and Youtube have built large teams and playbooks to deal with common harms and respond to new threats. Yet startups often face trust and safety challenges before they have the resources and know-how to address them. How should founders and early employees approach emerging integrity problems, and what lessons from large platforms can be applied from the start? Our panel brings together integrity experts and founders at new social platforms to discuss best practices for building “MVP” integrity defenses.
Antonia Woodford, Member and Visiting Fellow, Integrity Institute
Sarah Oh, Founding Team, Trust & Safety, T2
Shug Ghosh, Founding Fellow, Integrity Institute
Michael Dworsky, CEO, Cove
We'll provide an assessment of the most pressing threats to the integrity of the 2024 elections. We’ll discuss how individuals, tech platforms & other sectors of society can work to mitigate them. What have the primaries & elections told us so far? What threats since 2020 still remain? How have they evolved? What new tools & tactics, have AI, have emerged that were not a factor before? How might elections face challenges different from the past? What should voters, officials, journalists, & platforms be paying attention to & how can they make a difference?
Katie Harbath, Founder & CEO, Anchor Change
Eddie Perez, Board Member, OSET Institute
Eric Davis, Trust & Safety, Security, Privacy Consultant
Rebecca Thein, Fellow, Integrity Institute
Social media is evolving rapidly, in ways that can undermine democracy. At the Georgetown Law Center on National Security, we researched the future of critical internet technologies, developed nightmare scenarios of AI misuse, and put those scenarios to a diverse group of global experts in search of solutions. Come hear our predictions for the future of the internet, its implications for free societies, and how each of us can make a difference in the fight for democracies worldwide. We will share insights from our groundbreaking recent reports and our ongoing research.
Jennifer Reich, Fellow and Former Director, Emerging Technology Projects, Georgetown Law Center on National Security
Laura Donohue, cott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law and National Security, Georgetown University Law Center
From reporting on the developments of election campaigns, to educating the public on key issues across the ballot, to counting the vote and declaring winners, the media plays an integral role in the democratic process and America’s elections. As the 2024 presidential election fast approaches, hear from AP on the central and historic role news organizations play in covering and conveying election results, along with the biggest challenges news organizations expect to see this election cycle including misinformation, generative AI, deepfakes and more.
Anna Johnson, Washington Bureau Chief, Associated Press
The 2024 US elections are poised to be a crucial moment in the nation's democratic history. As technology plays an ever-increasing role in the electoral process, many of those in the election space are unaware of the online risks they may face, the resources available to keep their online presence secure, and strategies to mitigate cyber threats.
In this panel, we will bring together stakeholders from civil society organizations, voting rights groups, and technology companies to discuss how to safeguard electoral processes, data integrity, and democratic values.
Michael Kaiser, President & CEO, Defending Digital Campaigns
Alissa Starzak, Vice President, Global Head of Public Policy, Cloudflare
Mary Mangione, Associate Director of Global Communications, Yubico
Grace Hoyt, Responsible Tech Partnerships Lead, Google
Podcasts are more popular than ever–with politicians and candidates increasingly turning to them to get their message out and connect with potential voters. 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy even went so far as to launch a daily podcast for his campaign. As trust in traditional news declines, will voters turn to podcasts and content creators to help them figure out who to vote for? And as celebrities become increasingly unafraid to get political (hello, Taylor Swift!), how do they bridge the gap between these platforms and civic engagement? This panel will address all that and more.
Kara Swisher, Journalist, New York Magazine
Jon Favreau, Co-founder, podcast host, Crooked Media
Raquel Willis, Activist + writer, Self-employed
Hasan Piker, Political commentator + streamer, Self-employed
Generative AI systems are rapidly evolving to provide bad actors capabilities to create fake or misleading content that threaten the integrity of election systems and democracy. These capabilities threaten the upcoming presidential election in 2024 in which disinformation and deepfakes present a challenge to voters in distinguishing facts. The political landscape is entering a new period in which the lines are blurred between what is reality and what was created by a sophisticated generative AI system. On the other hand, Generative AI/AI also brings opportunities to fortify elections.
Rama Elluru, Senior Director for Society and Intellectual Property, Special Competitive Studies Project
Laurie Richardson, Vice President, Trust & Safety, Google
Lindsay Gorman, Head of Technology and Geopolitics and Senior Fellow, The Alliance for Securing Democracy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Artemis Seaford, Product Policy Manager, OpenAI
This fireside chat would tackle the looming question of how to change the technology landscape of government via the workforce. The conversation would revolve around the innovative problem definition and ideas from Jen Pahlka’s new book, Recoding America, and bring in learning from reform underway with the Federal government. Collectively, Office of Personnel Management Director Ahuja and best selling author Jen Pahlka will pose and begin to answer the question: how government can not just hire the tech talent the moment requires, but also realign itself to empower technologists to lead change
Kiran Ahuja, Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Managenent
Jen Pahlka, Board Member and Advisor, U.S. Digital Response
Step into the world of political intrigue and transformative technology with David Pepper, acclaimed author of "Laboratories of Autocracy” and “Saving Democracy," and two trailblazing business leaders: Zoe Wienberg, anti-authoritarian tech fund manager, and Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO of the Leadership Now Project. Understand how AI could destabilize the 2024 election, and how new momentum at a state level could offer a hopeful counter-balance. This session will provide a roadmap for participants -- tech investors, innovators, CEOs, or civic leaders - to do their part to save democracy.
Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO, Leadership Now Project
David Pepper, Author, Author
Zoe Weinberg, Founder and Managing Partner, ex/ante
Emily Lockwood, Women in Political Power Strategy Lead, Pivotal Ventures
The steady disappearance of local news in America is one of the greatest threats facing our democracy. One-fifth of Americans live in news deserts, and tens of millions more live in communities at risk of losing their last reliable local news resource. The news industry has lost 30,000 jobs since 2008. MacArthur Foundation President, John Palfrey, examines the impact of America’s local news crisis and offers a bold vision for reimagining and revitalizing our local news ecosystem inspired by the work of a new generation of diverse and entrepreneurial leaders.
John Palfrey, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
For technologists, joining the Federal government is not just about shaping the future, but transforming how government serves real people right now. The government needs tech talent: only 4% of the IT workforce is under 30 and emerging technologies like Generative AI only make this more urgent. In response, the Federal government is launching a “Tech to Gov” initiative to recruit and empower tech talent. This panel would combine insights from two senior officials, a young innovator in government, and an external executive perspective to discuss the pitfalls and promise of tech in government.
Kiran Ahuja, Director, Office of Personnel Management
Kyleigh Russ, Senior Advisor, Office of Personnel Management
Chris Kuang, U.S. Digital Corps Director, U.S. Digital Corps (General Services Administration)
Jennifer Anastasoff, Executive Director, Tech Talent Project
It's no secret that GenZ is shaking up the status quo. As the most diverse generation ever, we've seen how they have transformed industries and are challenging media and business leaders to evolve or make room for them to lead. Now it's time for our democracy to catch up. From gun violence prevention to fighting climate change and everything in between, GenZ is ready for change and is working to make it happen. This session explores how they are revolutionizing the political space by eschewing political norms and instead rooting themselves in their communities, activism and diverse identities.
Ghida Dagher, President and CEO, New American Leaders
Alabas Farhat, State Representative, Michigan State House of Representatives
Caren Royce Yap, Student in Public Policy, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School
Jennifer Hernandez, Ward 5 Representative, Phoenix Union High School District
Cultivated meat grown directly from cells is now in select restaurants and will soon be available in grocery stores. In 2023, the USDA approved its sale, marking a historic moment for the industry and the planet. Limited resources and a growing population that will double its meat consumption by 2050 demand a much more sustainable way to produce meat. Cultivating meat uses fewer resources, emits fewer GHGs, and prevents pandemic-inducing antibiotic resistance. Join our panel to learn about its availability, emerging products, health benefits, and challenges in this evolving field.
Elliott Swartz, Principal Scientist, Cultivated Meat, The Good Food Institute
Amy Chen, Chief Operating Officer, UPSIDE Foods
Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder & CEO, GOOD Meat
And as a bonus, I found this fantastic list of 54 Panel Proposals For SXSW By Black Women That Need Your Vote by Nikki Porcher on LinkedIn.
Please support the independent journalism and analysis I’m doing with this newsletter. As a paid subscriber, you make it possible for me to bring you in-depth analyses on the most pressing issues in tech and politics. I’m just short of 200 paid subscribers, and your support can help me reach that milestone!