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2019 Weizenbaum award

News | 19-01-2019 01:21



Weizenbaum award: We are proud to announce that Herman Tavani, Professor Emeritus of Rivier College is the winner of the 2019 Weizenbaum award, to be offered at CEPE 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Professor Herman Tavani has significantly contributed to the field of information/ computer ethics since the early/mid-1990s – beginning with his comprehensive Computer Ethics Bibliography (published by CPSR Press in 1996, as well as in series of computer-ethics-bibliography installments/updates in Computers and Society (from 1995 to 2002) and later in Ethics and Information Technology (from 1999 to 2013). His early bibliographic work was influential in helping to define and establish the field as a distinct discipline in applied ethics in the mid-1990s. For the past twenty-five years, he has continued to contribute to the field in many capacities, especially in three areas that I believe are relevant for the Weizenbaum Award: publications/research, service in professional societies/mentoring young scholars, and conference chairing/organizing.

In addition to his numerous journal articles, encyclopedia articles, review essays, and book reviews, Tavani has written or edited five books on ethical aspects of information technology. His textbook Ethics and Technology (Wiley) is currently in its fifth edition (and is now being revised for a sixth edition), and his anthology Readings in CyberEthics (Jones and Bartlett; co-edited with Richard Spinello) is in its second edition. With Kenneth Himma, Tavani co-edited the first Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (Wiley 2008).

Tavani’s book Ethics, Computing, and Genomics (Jones and Bartlett 2006) contributed to (and helped define) a new subfield of applied ethics research: “computational genomics” which focuses on ethical issues at the intersection of information/computing technologies and genetics/genomics research. Tavani was instrumental in infusing ICT-ethics-related issues, especially on privacy and data mining, into conferences and publications on population genomics studies and environmental health, as part of his ongoing research as a visiting scholar (applied ethics) at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Tavani was a founding member of INSEIT and served as the society’s first Co-Executive Director (2001-2006) and its third President (2008-2012). After completing his term as INSEIT President, Tavani continued to serve INSEIT in an advisory capacity (i.e., in a more informal role, including his service on some INSEIT subcommittees) to executive directors Elizabeth Buchanan and Maria Bottis. He also served on the Steering Committee for the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP), during that association’s formation, where he was a liaison for INSEIT, and he previously served on the American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on Philosophy and Computers.

On two occasions, Tavani served as President of the Northern New England Philosophical Association (NNEPA), and he was influential in having information/computer ethics papers included in the range of topics covered at NNEPA Conferences. Tavani also served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Association for Computing’s Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (ACM SIGCAS), and was both Bibliography Editor and (later) Associate Editor for the SIGCAS quarterly publication Computers and Society. Currently, he is Book Review Editor for the journal Ethics and Information Technology (Springer), a position he has held since the journal’s founding in 1998. Tavani has served on the editorial, review, and advisory boards of numerous journals and periodicals. He has also served as an evaluator for information/computer-ethics research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Tavani’s professional service also includes his work with young scholars in the field of information/computer ethics, assisting them in developing their academic research skills, as well as their teaching skills. He has mentored younger scholars in both formal and informal capacities, including his role as an official INSEIT Mentor (for a Ph.D. student) in the INSEIT Fellows Program (2009-2011). As a past INSEIT president, Tavani has also served in an (informal) advisory role for the INSEIT Board and the association’s directors. For example, between 2012 and 2017, he worked closely with INSEIT Directors Elizabeth Buchanan and me, and he also served on some INSEIT committees and subcommittee, including the Adjudication Committee for the 2015 INSEIT/ Weizenbaum Award.

Tavani has chaired or co-chaired numerous conferences in applied ethics. He served as Co-Chair for the CEPE 2000, 2003, and 2009 Conferences. (He and I, together with Frances Grodzinsky) co-chaired the CEPE 2009 Conference (Corfu, Greece). Tavani also worked with CEPE conference co-chairs and INSEIT colleagues to select quality papers originally presented at CEPE conferences for publication in journals, including co-guest-editing four special issues of Ethics and Information Technology and six special issues of Computers and Society (of CEPE papers). Tavani has also co-edited four books of CEPE Proceedings, and has edited or co-edited proceedings for other computer-ethics and applied-ethics conferences.

Congratulations Herman! Professor Tavani will give his Weizenbaum address at CEPE 2019.



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