Evan Selinger

Thanks for checking out my profile!

Let’s start with the basics. I’m a Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology and an Affiliate Scholar at Northeastern University’s Center for Law, Innovation, and Creativity. Much of my research and teaching focuses on the philosophy of technology, broadly understood. Tech-ethics (including AI) and privacy are my areas of expertise.

You don’t become a full professor without publishing a lot. If you want the full list, please click on CV for my publications.

Re-Engineering Humanity (co-authored with Brett Frischmann, featuring a Foreword by Nicholas Carr, and published by Cambridge University Press) is my latest book. John Naughton selected it as one of The Observer “Best Books of 2018”  and one of “Thirty Books to Help Us Understand the World in 2020.” Zadie Smith told The Wall Street Journal that it was one her favorite reads of 2019.

Since 2003, I’ve taught at a university with renowned engineering and science programs. Working every semester with bright students who are training for careers in competitive technical fields has enabled me to pursue an unusual path. My main professional goal is making philosophical insights accessible and effectively applying them to pressing problems in the real world.

I regularly write for newspapers, magazines, and blogs. My work has been published by The New York TimesWiredThe AtlanticSlateThe Wall Street JournalThe Boston GlobeThe NationThe Guardian, Salon, CNN, One Zero, Bloomberg OpinionThe Daily NewsThe Daily BeastMTV NewsMotherboardThe Christian Science MonitorBBC FutureNew ScientistAeonProject SyndicateForbes, and HuffPost. 

To improve military policy, I’m currently a member of the Institute for Defense on Analysis‘s Legal, Moral, and Ethical Working Group. We’re contributing to a DARPA-funded project that uses artificial intelligence to enhance the autonomy of non-lethal technological systems.

To enhance public policy, I work with legal and advocacy organizations like the ACLU. For example, Woodrow Hartzog and I provided written testimony for the ACLU of Massachusetts in support of “The Face Surveillance Moratorium Act” and “Banning Face Surveillance in Boston,” backed up the ACLU of Washington by providing the Washington State Legislature House Innovation, Technology & Economic Development Committee with a formal endorsement of a moratorium on facial recognition technology, collaborated with other scholars and the ACLU of Northern California in writing an opposition letter to a proposed facial recognition bill addressed to the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, and partnered with The Justice Collaborative Institute to write “The Case for Banning Law Enforcement From Using Facial Recognition Technology.” Relatedly, I worked with Fight for the Future on the campaign to ban facial recognition technology at universities.

I support the good work being done in the non-profit sector and have partnered with organizations like the Stop Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. If you want to learn about a university-NGO collaboration that I’m especially proud of, check out “Cybersecurity Workers Need to Learn From Those They’re Trying To Protect.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, I collaborated with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD), advising how to protect privacy and civil liberties.

I believe it’s important to help governments improve ethics education. My sponsored research includes being a co-PI on a major (approx. $399,000) National Science Foundation project on sustainability ethics education. I also co-authored a report for the New South Wales Department of Education on AI ethics and privacy for their Education for a Changing World initiative.

I also advise companies. Over the years, this has included businesses like Facebook, Microsoft, and IKEA, and work with think tanks, such as The Future of Privacy Forum.

E-mail: eselinger [at] gmail.com