08 January 2021
“Ethical and Responsible Use of Technology”: A dialogue between William Powers and Chistoph Steck
By: Aspen Institute España

Last December 9th, we held a new session of the Aspen Ideas Program.On this session, William Powers, writer, journalist, technologist and author of the best-seller Hamlet’s BlackBerry and Christoph Steck, director of Public Policies and Internet at Telefónica and Aspen España Fellow, spoke with some 20 participants about ethical and responsible uses of technology with views from both sides of the Atlantic. The session, organized in collaboration with Telefónica, was moderated by Noelia Amoedo, CEO Mediasmart Mobile (Affle Company).

After the debate, the speakers participated in a new dialogue with the moderator that we share with you along with a selection of recommended readings:

Recommended Readings:

William Powers and Iyad Rahwan, We can make surveillance work for us, Boston Globe

José M. de Areilza Carvajal, El algoritmo contraataca, The Objective

Improving confidence by an ethical and responsable use of technology, A Digital Deal to build back better our societies and economices, Telefónica

Frances G Burwell, Europe’s digital sovereignty: From rulemaker to superpower in the age of US-China rivarly: US-EU relations: A post-covid transatlantic digital agenda, Telefónica

Sandra Rilova, De robots éticos a personas éticas con robots, The Conversation

Biographies of the speakers:

William Powers is a writer, journalist and technologist. A former Washington Post staff writer, he wrote Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, one of the first books to call attention to the human downsides of the digital age. A New York Times bestseller, it has been published in many countries and languages. The book launched him on a journey into the technology world and his current work at MIT. He grew up in Rhode Island and graduated from Harvard with a degree in history and literature. He did graduate study in Spain, then moved to Washington, DC, where he was a U.S. Senate aide working on foreign relations, intelligence and military affairs. Next, he joined The Washington Post, initially as researcher for Bob Woodward in the investigative unit. As a Post staff writer, he covered business, media, politics and ideas. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times and many other publications. He created The New Republic’s first media column and is a two-time winner of the National Press Club’s Rowse Award for media criticism. He has given keynote talks at conferences such as South by Southwest and the Aspen Ideas Festival, as well as numerous universities and other organizations. He’s moderated conversations for the Aspen Institute’s Socrates program in Spain, Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia and Japan, as well as the U.S. He has been a media fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and a resident fellow at the MacDowell Colony. He studied the culture of reading in Japan on a fellowship from the Japan Society, and had a Rotary International graduate scholarship in Madrid. In 2014, he joined the MIT Media Lab as a research scientist and has spent the last five years working on projects to ensure that artificial intelligence reflects human values and enables social progress. Home is Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, writer Martha Sherrill, and their son, Will. 

Christoph Steck is Director Public Policy & Internet at Telefonica. In this role, he oversees the strategy and management of Telefonica´s global Public Policy work. He steers the advocacy and defines its positions on Internet Policies and Governance and other policy issues that shape the Digital Economy. He is also Chairman of the Internet Governance workgroup of the European Network Operators Association (ETNO), Vice-chair of the Committee on Digital Economy of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Co-chair of the Organizational Members Advisory Committee (OMAC) of the Internet Society (ISOC). He joined Telefonica in Germany (at that time O2) in 2002 and has managed in various positions since then Regulatory Affairs, Government Relations and Corporate Responsibility for the company, since September 2008 in its global headquarter in Madrid and lately as Chief Regulatory Officer for Telefonica Europe (until March 2013). He is responsible for the advocacy of Telefonica at many key international organisation and business associations (like G20, OECD, ITU, ICANN, ICC, ERT) and is a recognised expert and speaker for digital policies and Internet Governance. In 2014 he was selected to be a member of the ICANN High-level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance and also represented international business at the High-level Committee and inaugural committee of NETMundial, the global multistakeholder conference on the Future of Internet Governance. He has overseen the publishing of the widely recognized and influential Digital Manifesto of Telefonica in 2014. Christoph Steck is a qualified German lawyer and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from IE Business School. He studied Law and Human Rights at the Universities of Cologne, Munich and London (UCL) and is also Associate Professor at the School of Communication of IE University in Madrid.  

Biography of the moderator:

Noelia Amoedo is currently the CEO of Mediasmart Mobile, a technology company in the field of mobile advertising. She is an expert in managing businesses based on mobile technologies, having worked in the industry since 2000. She has gained deep knowledge of the industry across the value chain thanks to her direct experience with multiple business models in more than a dozen international markets.  Noelia has taken several executive roles in the past few years, including VP of marketing and business development for webOS in EMEA at Palm – HP’s subsidiary, VP of Mobile at the social network hi5, back when social networks were starting to succeed, and multiple senior positions with the mobile value added service provider Buongiorno, the last one of which was Managing Director of Buongiorno USA. Prior to her life on mobile, Noelia also worked at iPIN Transaction Systems in San Francisco back in 1999, where she first got acquainted with an internet based business. Noelia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (major in optical communications) by Santiago de Compostela University, and a Master in Electrical Engineering by Stanford University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.  

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