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Event: Wastewater Surveillance Technology: Health, Ethical, and Social Perspectives

Co-Organized by: Khahlil Louisy - ITGH/HKS, Simona Tiribelli - ITGH/ EU Jean Monnet Ethics for Inclusive Digital Europe, Andreas Haupt - MIT CSAIL,

Organizations: Institute for Technology & Global Health, MIT AI Ethics & Policy Group, WHO-ITU Focus Group on AI4Health

When: November 17th, 2022

Where: Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer B-500 Bell Hall

Can AI be a Force for Global Public Health?

From the Covid-19 pandemic to more recent outbreaks of Monkeypox and Poliovirus, wastewater surveillance technology has demonstrated the potential to become a supporting tool used in steering states and governmental efforts worldwide, in predicting and tracking disease outbreaks. These tools are also being used to manage the spread of infectious diseases and their variants, as well as institutional decision-making on the distribution of health resources, including testing and vaccines. However, with the promise of AI comes its associated pitfalls and risks. Not considering these challenges can deeply erode public trust, trigger detrimental societal effects, and violate rights and liberties.

Within the framework of the WHO-ITU focus group on AI for Health - Outbreaks, led by the Institute for Technology and Global Health (ITGH), and in cooperation with MIT AI Ethics and Policy Group, this seminar aims at offering an interdisciplinary overview of major ethical, legal, and social issues, along with in-depth technical and medical insights concerning AI-based wastewater surveillance technology, laying the foundations for the development of the first ethical, legal, and social guidelines for the design and deployment of such systems, as beneficial tools for global public health.

Two Events in One Day

*Please note that only Harvard University HUID and MIT ID holders will be able to attend this event in-person. For all else, we invite you to join us virtually. A zoom link will be sent out prior to the start of the event.

Program at a glance

Morning session

The Seminar: AI Ethics in Practice: The Case of AI-Based Wastewater Surveillance

Insights on the opportunities and pitfalls raised by AI-based wastewater surveillance technology from leading voices across technology, policy, medicine, and ethics.

9:00 am - 9:30 am Breakfast and Opening Remarks

9:30am – 11:00am (Health and Technology Perspectives)

11.15 am – 12:45 pm (Social and Ethical Perspectives)

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm - Lunch

Afternoon session

The Workshop: Guidelines for Trustworthy of AI-Based Wastewater Surveillance

Outlining and developing core ethical, legal, and social guidelines for the design and deployment of trustworthy and public health-driven AI-based wastewater surveillance technology.

1:45pm - 2:45pm (Working groups)

2:55pm - 3:55pm (Roundtable discussions)

* Breakfast and lunch will be provided.


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