THE EQUALITY MACHINE
HARNESSING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY FOR A BRIGHTER, MORE INCLUSIVE FUTURE
Tech presents important challenges to equality and democracy. Digital technology frequently has a comparative advantage over humans in detecting discrimination, correcting historical exclusions, subverting long-standing stereotypes, and addressing the world’s thorniest problems: climate, poverty, injustice, literacy, accessibility, speech, health, and safety. But ought we either criticize big data and automation or steer it to do better? This book argues that while we cannot stop technological development, we can direct its course according to our most fundamental values.
YOU DON'T OWN ME
HOW MATTEL V. MGA ENTERTAINMENT EXPOSED BARBIE'S DARK SIDE
Are your ideas your own or does your employer own them? This is the question that set off the greatest toy war of our time.
When Carter Bryant began designing what would become the billion-dollar line of Bratz dolls, he was taking time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. Later, back at Mattel, he sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA. Law professor Orly Lobel reveals the colorful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.
ORLY LOBEL - AUTHOR | PROFESSOR | SPEAKER
Lobel is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, the Director of the Center for Employment and Labor Law, and founding member of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets at the University of San Diego. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Lobel’s interdisciplinary research is published widely in the top journals in law, economics, and psychology. Lobel’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, La Repubblica, La Presse, The Australian, The Globes, Times Higher Education, Above the Law, Modern Law, Yahoo!LifeStyle (Must-read books), NPR, ABA Modern Law, TechDirt, Vulture, San Diego Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Fire of Genius, National Law Journal, Harvard Magazine, The Sunday Times, Globe and Mail, Marketplace, Huffington Post, CNBC, and CNN Money. Her scholarship and research has received significant grants and awards, including from the ABA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fulbright, and the Searle-Kauffman Foundation. She is a member of the American Law Institute and served as a fellow at Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She serves on the advisory boards of the San Diego Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, the Employee Rights Center, and the Oxford Handbook on Governance.
A world traveler, Lobel has lectured at Yale, Harvard, University of California San Diego, University of San Diego and Tel Aviv University and is a frequent speaker at top research institutions, industry, and government forums throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. A celebrated author and scholar, Lobel’s writing has won several awards including the Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Irving Oberman Memorial Award. In 2013, Lobel was named one of the 50 Sharpest Minds in Research by The Marker Magazine. Lobel lives in La Jolla, California, with her husband and three daughters. Lobel is regularly interviewed featured in the nation’s leading media outlets, journals and radio, such as the New York Times, BusinessWeek,
and NPR’s Marketplace. She is a sought after public speaker and is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Recently, she was invited to speak at leading associations and companies, such as Intel, Samsung, AlphaSights, ERE. Lobel is also active on Twitter and is a regular blogger. Lobel has a fascinating TEDx talk entitled Secrets & Sparks about the expansion of secrecy and intellectual property in contemporary markets.
In 2016 Lobel was invited to Washington DC to present Talent Wants to be Free at the White House, a meeting which resulted in a presidential call for action. In 2020 she was the keynote speaker and advisor to the Federal Trade Commission on labor market competition policy. Her new book The Equality Machine: Harnessing Tomorrow’s Technologies for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future is coming out in the Fall 2022 with PublicAffairs. Lobel lives in La Jolla, California with her husband, three daughters, and her golden English Labrador.
RESEARCH AND OTHER LINKS
TED TALK - Secrets and Sparks
BINA TALK - Talent Wars and High-Tech Miracles
THE EQUALITY MACHINE
San Diego: AALS – January 7, 2023
Boulder: University of Colorado, Boulder – February 4, 2023
Memphis: Leadership Memphis – March 3, 2023
NYC: NYU – March 23, 2023
New Haven: Yale – March 28, 2023
Amsterdam & Tilburg: April 13-14 2023
San Diego: ASU Summit – April 18
Washington DC: Georgetown – May 2023
Northeastern (virtual): Northeastern – October 4, 2023
San Diego: IAPP Privacy. Security. Risk. 2023 – October 5, 2023
"[Lobel] agrees with those who fear artificial intelligence can be biased. But, in a brilliant act of intellectual jiu-jitsu, she argues that the answer is not to slow the technology, but to speed it up to solve those defects and achieve social progress."
The Economist (Best Books of 2022)
"What’s right with technology and artificial intelligence? Outside Silicon Valley, few people ask the question that way. Lobel, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, does, beginning by recounting her daughter Elinor’s type 1 diabetes—and the smartphone apps that help safely track her blood-sugar level and insulin pump. She then crafts a sweeping call for designing technology and AI with quality and social benefit in mind."
Legal scholar Orly Lobel's The Equality Machine is a masterful analysis of the many "inequitable dimensions of digital existence." The book consists of 10 substantive chapters wherein Lobel expertly describes both the opportunities and the discrimination engendered by new artificial technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI)... "Progress supersedes perfection," insists Lobel. Rather than perpetuating the idea that technology must meet unattainable measures of fairness before we can move forward, she directs us to leverage the imperfect technologies we already have to make the world a better place."
An "enthusiastic yet measured argument for technology’s potential to promote equality across many facets of culture and industry" and a "A compelling, hopeful, potentially divisive look at the future of technology and its ability to positively shape human life."
"Lobel sets out to counter the conventional wisdom that technologies like AI offer more threats than benefits. The book traces a range of examples where the principled and ethical use of big data analysis and AI are being utilized for progressive aims... Some of the most powerful examples of the potential for digital technologies to improve well-being described in The Equality Machine come from the domain of health and health care. Lobel describes the efforts of pioneering physicians and researchers to pair clinicians with algorithms for earlier diagnosis and individualized treatments."
Inside Higher Ed
IN THE NEWS
Forbes – Digital Technology Provides More Tools To Shatter Racial And Sexist Barriers To Management
The Economist – Best Books of 2022
WIRED – The Overlooked Upsides of Algorithms in the Workplace
TIME – The Problem With Too Much Data Privacy
The San Diego Union-Tribune – Our top books picks this season
The Economist – Two new books explore the upside of big data and AI
Medium – 25+ Books for Transforming Work & Our World
The Boston Globe – Is digital privacy overrated?
TechRadar – Is an AI Bill of Rights enough?
S&P Global Market Intelligence – Biden administration AI policy efforts to be complex balancing act in 2023
The Legally Speaking Podcast – Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future
The Modern Customer Podcast – 3 CX Opportunities In The Future Of AI And Automation
RADIO & TV
"California laws protect [a worker’s] right to moonlight or to work a second job, or a gig. That's as long as there is no legitimate business interest by their company to try and limit that."
"If you're an architect, an attorney, or a graphic designer, online marketplaces allow you to get gigs rather than a full-time job. These aren't just lower-skilled jobs, they're just not full-time employment."
While noncompetes are most common in high-skilled fields like engineering, they’ve also become increasingly prevalent in lower-wage work like “camp counselors, yoga instructors, warehouse employees.”
"We have seen this in the past where Cal/OSHA has been more stringent, where Cal/OSHA has had higher thresholds of what it deems safe and healthy environments and in fact, we do have empirical work and empirical evidence that it has done a better job in protecting employees."
IN THE PRESS
Op-ed in The Hill on the business case for a nationwide ban on noncompetes
Interviewed by Forbes about noncompete clauses
Interviewed by The Boston Globe about new perspectives on digital privacy
Quoted by CNN in article about the ramifications of the Supreme Court leak probe
Featured in Wall Street Journal debate on noncompete clauses
Quoted in The Seattle Times, Politico, Bloomberg Law and The Wall Street Journal about NDAs and noncompete clauses
Quoted in The Marker on Patent Protection and Coronavirus Vaccines
For media, research, and consulting, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
For review copies of The Equality Machine, photographs, press materials or to schedule an event, please contact Margaret Rogalski, email@example.com
For review copies of You Don't Own Me please contact at Norton, Erin Lovett, firstname.lastname@example.org
For rights inquiries about my book, please contact my agent at Levine Greenberg Rostan, Lindsay Edgecombe LEdgecombe@LGRLiterary.com
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