Latanya Sweeney
Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology, Harvard Kennedy School

Latanya Sweeney
As Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School and in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government, my mission is create and use technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and to teach others how to do the same.

The scientific study of technology's impact on humankind, is termed technology science and I am the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Technology Science.

My earliest concern about technology's clash with society was in privacy, and my work first founded the area of study known as data privacy and I am the founding Director of the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard. Similarly, my work was first to demonstrate discrimination in online algorithms, and so, my work first founded the new emerging area known as algorithmic fairness. More recently, my work with Ji Su Yoo and Jinyan Zang was first to demonstrate vulnerabilities in voter websites during the 2016 election. There are other areas too.

I was formerly the Chief Technology Officer, also called the Chief Technologist, at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It was a fantastic experience! One of my goals was to make it easier for others to work on innovative solutions at the intersection of technology, policy and business. Often, I thought of my past students, who primarily came from computer science or governance backgrounds, and who were highly motivated to change the world. I would like to see society harness their energy and get others thinking about innovative solutions to pressing problems. During my time there, I launched the summer research fellows program and blogged on Tech@FTC to facilitate explorations and ignite brainstorming on FTC-related topics.

In 2016, my family and I moved to Currier House at Harvard College, as the X.D. and Nancy Yang Faculty Deans of Currier House. Being a Faculty Dean has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Currier House is a teaching-learning environment for about 300 amazing and exciting Harvard College undergraduates. I am glad to know, work, grow and live with each one of them.