Public Lecture by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar


Thursday, April 18, 2019, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Littauer 140, Harvard Kennedy School

Public Lecture by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Title: Tensions and Trade-Offs in Law, Organization, and the Design of “Ethically-Aligned” Artificial Intelligence 

Description: For well over a century, many societies have relied on complex organizations — from regulatory agencies to private companies to modern police forces — to comply with legal commitments and manage difficult trade-offs involving risk and human values.  Today those organizations and the people within them are increasingly contemplating the use of computer systems deploying “artificial intelligence” to support or undertake decision-making in domains such as finance, health care, criminal justice, and national security. This talk explores some of the interrelated dilemmas and opportunities that arise in modern society as we consider both the role of organizations and our relationship to artificial intelligence — dilemmas made all the more concrete given recent efforts to build ethical artificial intelligence systems. I preview some emerging legal and policy challenges related to how artificial intelligence will affect humans and organizations, and reflect on both the consistency and change in some of the fundamental questions about law, ethics, and collective action that have confronted societies for generations. 

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar began serving on the California Supreme Court in January 2015. Previously he was the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science at Stanford University. A Stanford faculty member since 2001 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cuéllar is a scholar of public law and institutions whose books and articles explore problems in administrative law and legislation, cyberlaw, criminal justice, public health law, international law and security, immigration, and the history of institutions.

While on leave from Stanford, Cuéllar worked at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy (2009-2010). In this capacity, he led the Domestic Policy Council staff responsible for civil and criminal justice, public health law and policy, and immigration; negotiated bipartisan food safety, tobacco, and criminal sentencing reform legislation; expanded support for crime prevention and immigrant integration; and worked to enact the bipartisan repeal of the military's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy. He also led the Presidential Transition Task Force on Immigration (2008-2009), and later, co-chaired the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission (2011-2013). Currently, Cuéllar is on the boards of Harvard University, the Hewlett Foundation, the American Law Institute, and (as chair) the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, AI Now, and Stanford Seed. Within the California judiciary, he leads the Language Access Implementation Task Force.