Ben Olsen ’10: Thinking ethically about AI for Microsoft

Ben Olsen ’10

AI & Ethics Learning Leader at Microsoft

BA in Philosophy

Imagining the future is part of Ben Olsen’s job. He’s the AI and Ethics Learning leader at Microsoft, where he helps Microsoft’s 58,000 engineers receive the training and skills they need to keep Microsoft on the cutting edge.

“My role is to empower, accelerate, and enable teams in AI and emerging technology through learning with a focus on ethics education,” he explains.

Olsen often ponders the ethical implications of technology. With regard to facial recognition technology, he asks, “Do we care about privacy and the individual’s right to be offline? Or do we care more about efficiencies and ease of commerce?”

In the past decade, Olsen has built data systems for Juniper Networks, Costco, T-Mobile, and others. He has also lectured at SPU, the University of Washington, and Stanford.

If you want to hear more of his thoughts on the future, check out his podcast, “Ahead Of Our Time,” or listen to one of his favorite podcasts, “Should This Exist?” hosted by Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr.

Ben believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to grapple with the implications of technology. “Buckle up and be ready for all the change,” he says. “Because it’s happening! I’m super hopeful. I think the things that should endure, will endure.”

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