Penn to Hold Teach-In March 18–22

Penn to Hold Teach-In March 18–22

by Lida Tunesi

Starting March 18, Penn students, staff, and faculty will host a reflection on knowledge — how we create it, how we spread it, and how it impacts society.

“There is distrust today in the knowledge production process, and distrust in the people communicating knowledge,” says Santosh Venkatesh, professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering. “We are not going to solve any problems tomorrow or the day after, but we hope to begin building bridges.”

Venkatesh is the current chair of the Penn Faculty Senate, the organizing force behind the Teach-In.

The campus will open its doors to local organizations, schools, policy makers, and the community at large, and encourages all to join in and participate. Five days of panel discussions, workshops, TED-style talks, and movie screenings will be free and open to the public.

Events will cover topics such as climate and the environment, immigration, engineering and health, and the purpose of a Penn education. The teach-in will also feature several family-friendly events such as a walk-through art exhibit on evolution, an augmented reality scavenger hunt, and events in the Penn Libraries and Museum. Spanning all 12 schools, the program harkens back to March 1969, when the University came together to examine its role in society during a “Day of Conscience.”

“Civil rights is still a part of it, but the increasingly rapid, inescapable advances in technology have left segments of the population behind and there is inevitably resentment,” Venkatesh says. “If there is one thing that one can hope will come out of an effort like this, it is this: knowledge, and in particular, technological knowledge, will play a fundamental role in this century; but access to knowledge is not restricted — the doors of education are open to all.”

Events hosted by Penn Engineering

Tuesday, March 20
10:30 AM
The Future of Technology: Engineering and Human Health
Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology

This panel will discuss the ethics and implications of new engineering advances for health care such as imaging, gene editing, and diagnostic technologies.

Jennifer Phillips-Cremins, assistant professor of Bioengineering
David Meany, Solomon R. Pollack professor and Chair of Bioengineering
David Issadore, assistant professor of Bioengineering, and Electrical and systems engineering

Kathleen Stebe, Richer & Elizabeth Goodwin Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Tuesday, March 20
11:30 AM
The Future of Technology: Artificial Intelligence and Society
Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology

Panelists will discuss the ways that artificial intelligence algorithms affect our lives, and whether decisions can, or even should be, made by AI.

Michael Kearns, National Center Professor of Management & Technology of Computer and Information Science
Rakesh Vohra, George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, and Computer and Information Science
Aaron Roth, Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science

Susan Davidson, Weiss Professor of Computer and Information Science

Tuesday, March 20
6:00 PM
AI: An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt
Levine Hall

An augmented reality game meant to introduce the public to artificial intelligence. Prizes will be awarded!

Presented by:
Stephen Lane, Professor of Practice in Computer and information Science
Jonathon Lee, graduate student in Computer Graphics and Game Technology master’s program

Wednesday, March 21
11:00 AM
Lies, Pixels, and Video Fakes
Class of 1955 Conference Room, Van Pelt Library

Explore the state of today’s computer graphics — a world of pictures and videos that are indistinguishable from reality.

Presented by:
 Norman Badler, Rachleff Family Professor of Computer and Information Science

Continue reading about the Penn Teach-In on Penn News. A full schedule is available on the Penn Teach-In site.