Moshe Vardi to give prestigious annual Vienna Gödel Lecture

Technology is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering?

Moshe Vardi to give prestigious annual Vienna Gödel Lecture

Moshe Vardi, University Professor and the George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering at Rice University, will give the annual Vienna Gödel Lecture. This year’s lecture is titled Technology is Driving the Future, But Who Is Steering? From the Vienna Circle to Digital Humanism. It will be hosted online on May 27, 2021 from 10AM-Noon CDT (5-7PM Austria time (GMT+2)) and is open to the public.

In this talk, Vardi will discuss why the ethical lens is too narrow for dealing with technology’s impact on society. 

As he explains, “The benefits of computing are intuitive. Computing yields tremendous societal benefits; for example, the life-saving potential of driverless cars is enormous. But computing is not a game—it is real—and it brings with it not only societal benefits but also significant societal costs, such as labor polarization, disinformation, and smartphone addiction.”

“The common reaction to this crisis is to label it as an “ethical crisis”, and the proposed response is to add courses in ethics to the academic computing curriculum. This talk will argue that the ethical lens is too narrow. The real issue is how to deal with technology’s impact on society. Technology is driving the future, but who is doing the steering?” 

During the lecture, Vardi will show how these issues relate to the Vienna Circle and the recently declared Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism.

Moshe Vardi is one of the most-cited computer scientists worldwide and is the recipient of three IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, the CONCUR Test-of-Time Award, the ACM SIGACT Gödel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, the Blaise Pascal Medal, the IEEE Computer Society Goode Award, the EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award, the Southeastern Universities Research Association's Distinguished Scientist Award, and the ACM SIGLOG Church Award. 

Vardi's interests focus on automated reasoning, a branch of Artificial Intelligence with broad applications to computer science, including database theory, computational complexity theory, knowledge in multi-agent systems, computer-aided design and verification. He also teaches logic across the curriculum and research ethics.

Prior to joining Rice in 1993, he was at the IBM Almaden Research Center, where he managed the Mathematics and Related Computer Science Department. Vardi received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1981. He is the author and co-author of over 600 articles and two books, “Reasoning about Knowledge” and “Finite Model Theory and Its Applications”, and the editor of several collections.

He is a fellow of several societies and a member of several honorary academies (US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the European Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Europaea). He holds multiple honorary doctorates and is a Senior Editor of Communications of the ACM, the premier publication in computing.

Named after the famous Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) and introduced in 2013, the annual Vienna Gödel Lectures bring world-class scientists to Vienna. The lecture series illustrates the fundamental and disruptive contribution of computer science to our information society. It investigates how our discipline explains and shapes the world we live in—and thereby our lives as such. Learn more about the annual Vienna Gödel Lectures

Join the lecture via Zoom.


Heather Ferreyra, CS Marketing Specialist