FIPA 98/07/15
Source: L. Chiariglione  workshop.htm


The Impact of Agents on Communications and Ethics: What do and don’t we know?

Doyle Burlington Hotel, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4, IE 98/07/15


Program Plan

09: 00  Abe Mamdani Introduction  20 minutes
09:20  Tom Cooper Overview   40 minutes
10:00  John V. Pavlik New Technology Perspective  50 minutes
10:50    Break  20 minutes
11:10  Tara Kalagher Giunta International Legal Perspective 50 minutes
12:00    Lunch  90 minutes
01:30  Abraham Santibañez South American Perspective  50 minutes
02:20  Adam Clayton Powell III Global Perspective  50 minutes
03:10    Break  20 minutes
03:30  Panel  Down to Cases  90 minutes
5:00 Leonardo Chiariglione Closing  10 minutes

From the press:


Tom Cooper 

Emerson University

Dr. Thomas Cooper, former assistant to Marshall McLuhan, former spacebridge producer (between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), former assistant White House speechwriter, has taught at Harvard, the University of Hawaii, the University of Maryland, Temple and now Emerson College. He is co-puslisher of MEDIA ETHICS magazine, has published over sixty scholarly articles about issues in communication and technology ethics, and his books include COMMUNICATION ETHICS AND GLOBAL CHANGE, TELEVISION AND ETHICS, A TIME BEFORE DECEPTION and MEDIA FAST/FAST MEDIA (forthcoming). 

Cooper was the founding editor of MEDIA ETHICS magazine, which has had such co-sponsors as the TIMES MIRROR COMPANY, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, GROUP W BROADCASTING, and many universities. He has raised over $150,000 in grants, been a guest lecturer worldwide, and is invited to be a guest scholar in Chile and South Africa this summer. He is also a playwright, musician, and martial arts practitioner and lives with his wife and daughter near Boston, Massachusetts. 

Abe Mamdani  

London University 

Abe Mamdani has been a professor at colleges of London University for over 30 years. He is best known for his work on "Fuzzy Control". Today Fuzzy control is in widespread use from Cameras to Automobiles to Cement Kilns. He was the instigator and motivator of one of the largest publicly funded projects on Multi-agent Systems in Europe called ARCHON. Currently he occupies a chair funded by Nortel and the Royal Academy of Engineers at Imperial College in London.  

The research promoted by his chair is aimed at convergence of Telecommunications, Computers and Content. Within that convergence he projects three layers of concern: Plumbing, Platforms and People. Plumbing is about transport infrastructure and technology enabling communication of information. Platform is the middle layer that provides for the location of storage and intelligence that supports the overall framework. Finally, People are the ultimate creators and consumers of information and who will have to cope with the complexity brought about by the digital age. 

Abe Mamdani is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers.   

John V. Pavlic 

Columbia University

Dr. John V. Pavlik is the executive director of The Center for New Media at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he is also a professor. Pavlik is a senior fellow at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, one of two national supercomputer centers supported by the National Science Foundation. 

Pavlik’s most-recent publications include "The Future of Online Journalism: 

  • "Bonanza or Black Hole?" published in the July/August, 1997 issue of Columbia Journalism Review,
  • "Competition: Key to the Communications Future?" and "Television News: A Crisis of Opportunity," published inTelevision Quarterly (Volume 28, Numbers 1 and 2), the journal of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and ,
  • "New Media Offer Growing Job Prospects," Nieman Reports, Summer, 1996.

His books include

  • Video on Demand Systems: Technology, Interoperability and Trials (co-edited by Shih-Fu Chang, Dimitris Anastassious and Alexandros Eleftheriadis), published in 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers,
  • New Media Technology: Cultural and Commercial Perspectives, 2nd edition published in 1998 by Allyn & Bacon, Simon and Schuster Education Group,
  • The People’s Right to Know: Media, Democracy and the Information Highway (with Frederick Williams; translated into Japanese by Sangyo-Tosho),
  • Demystifying Media Technology (with Everette E. Dennis) and Public Relations: What Research Tells Us.

Pavlik has also authored more than a dozen computer software packages for education in journalism and communication, including "Fire!" and "Fatal!" 

He is also a Faculty Research Fellow, The Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (C.I.T.I.), Columbia University School of Business, and a Faculty Associate, Institute for Learning Technologies, Teachers College. He chairs the Columbia University Web Advisory Committee. 

Pavlik’s M.A. and Ph.D. in mass communication are from the University of Minnesota, and his B.A. in journalism is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   

Adam Clayton Powell, III 

The Freedom Forum 

+1 703-284-3553 fax+1 703-284-2879,,

Adam Clayton Powell, III, is Vice President of Technology and Programs at The Freedom Forum, supervising conferences and programs on new media and information technologies for audiences that include journalists, media managers, educators, policy makers and researchers. Powell served as Director of Technology Studies and Programs at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University from 1994 to 1996. Prior to that, he was a consultant and lecturer at the Center from 1985 to 1994 and twice served as a Center Fellow, in 1990 and 1993. He also coordinated a series of South Africa media projects, analyzing journalism in southern Africa and supervising an exchange of journalists between the U.S. and South Africa. 

In the past, Powell was an executive producer at Quincy Jones Entertainment, where he produced Jesse Jackson’s weekly television series in 1990-1991. He has also served as vice president of news programming at National Public Radio, a manager of network radio and television news for CBS News, and news director of all-news WINS in New York. Powell is the co-author of "Lethargy ‘96: How the Media Covered a Listless Campaign," and he has contributed to four recent books, "The Internet for Broadcasters," "Demystifying Media Technology, " " Radio: the Forgotten Medium," and "Death by Cheeseburger: High School Journalism in the 1990’s and Beyond." Articles by Powell have appeared recently in Wired, Media Ethics Quarterly, Reason and RTNDA Communicator magazine, and he has appeared as a media analyst on NBC News, on the CNN, CNN FN, CNBC, Fox News Channel and MSNBC cable networks and on ABC’s World News Tonight.   

Tara Kalagher Giunta 

Coudert Brothers

Tara Kalagher Giunta is a partner in Coudert Brothers' Telecommunications and Technology Practice located in the Washington, D.C. office. Ms. Giunta represents a broad range of both domestic and international clients, including both entrepreneurs and established companies developing new products and services in the telecommunications and technology areas. Ms. Giunta advises on the structuring and financing of such business ventures. 

Ms. Giunta has written and spoken on a variety of topics including treatment of intellectual property between developing economies of East Asia and the developed world, the scope and legal treatment of electronic commerce and the legal treatment internationally of varying types of content over differing transmission networks, such as the internet. Ms. Giunta works closely with the firm's intellectual property and patent attorneys to protect, value and optimize commercially the intellectual property inherent in these ventures. 

Ms. Giunta is an active member of the International Practice Committee of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA). She is also a member of the American Bar Association; the Women's Bar Association, including its Communications Law Forum and the District of Columbia Bar Association. Ms. Giunta earned her law degree from the Columbia School of Law at Catholic University, and her Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, cum laude. While at law school, Ms. Giunta was a member of the law school's Institute for Communications Law Studies. Ms. Giunta was born in Cape Code, Massachusetts, and lives in North Potomac, Maryland, with her husband, daughter and son.   

Abraham Santibañez 

Diego Portales University 

Abraham Santibañez is a journalist (Universidad de Chile, 1966) and a professor, now at the Diego Portales University, a private institution. He is married, with 2 children. He was Managing Editor of Hoy weekly newsmagazine, 1987-1990, and Mananging editor of La Nacion daily newspaper. He has been teaching journalism at different universities for the last 30 years. His fields are related to newsmagazine journalism, opinion and also Introduction to Journalism. 

He has written several books on journalism including: Periodismo Interpretativo (edited both in 1974 and 1995); Introduccion al Periodismo (1996) and Generos Periofdisticos (1997). He has also written books on South Africa (Tiene futuro Sudáfrica? 1990) and Chile (Auge y Caída de Salvador Allende, 1973; y Cazado en su propia trampa, el plebiscito de Pinochet , 1989). 

Now he is a permanent member of the Ethics Council created by the Chilean Media.As responsible for the Media Studies Center at Diego Portales University during 1996 he had to deal with ethical and academic issues.



Introduction: The Social Impact of Software Agents

Abe Mamdani

This presentation provides some of the motivation for the workshop and asks questions rather than providing answers. He suggests that software agents may be viewed from two points. On the one hand, the Artificial Intelligence pedigree of this technology may point us towards an anthropomorphic view. On the other hand, they may be viewed as a new paradigm of network based co-operative automation. In each case we need to look at the nature of the relationship between the software agent and its owners.

New Technology Perspective: The Implications of Intelligent Agents for Journalism

John V. Pavlik

In the age of the Internet, ubiquitious information has become both a blessing and a curse. For journalists as well as anyone who is a news consumer, this is especially true. With more than 3,600 newspapers and other news sources online, it is possible to enjoy more access to information than at any other time in history. But at the same time, information overload has become an ever-present fact of life. This presentation examines the rise and role of intelligent agents as filters, personal editors and news summarizers in the digital age. One technology using advanced natural language processing, the Columbia Digital News System, is examined as a case study in how such technology may transform journalism and news--for better or for worse. Although intelligent agents have the potential to serve as valuable tools in reducing information overload, they raise a variety of ethical concerns as well. Paramount among these concerns are implications for privacy.

International Legal Perspective: How to Control HAL, or A Legal Perspective on the Use and Applications of Intelligent Agents.

Tara Kalagher Giunta

Remember HAL? He was the 1960's version of DATA -- an android with lightening intelligence and functionality, who had been programmed with human traits -- and who learned even more. When "2001 A Space Odyssey" was released, HAL appeared to be the product of a science fiction aficionado's wild dream. Purportedly named after the forefather of the computer age, IBM (the name HAL representing the letters in the alphabet preceding IBM), HAL was intended to represent the result of the Computer Age run amok. Fast forward to 1998: leaders in the computer and information industry have developed software that thinks for you, learns from you and acts on your behalf. HAL has been reborn! Too melodramatic, you say? Well, let's take a look. Intelligent Agents are changing the way in which people interact. Through the use of Intelligent Agents, people can delegate work to software, to help solve problems and engage in activities previously conducted on a personal basis, even if done electronically. Taught the desires or preferences of their creator, Intelligent Agents act and transact on behalf to those creators. Intelligent Agents find, filter and customize information, and automate the handling of tasks. They make judgments about information, sources of information and communicating that information. This delegation of responsibility gives rise to a myriad of legal issues, such as: what are the potential consequences of permitting these cyberspace androids to transact business on behalf of individuals? Can a software agent legally assume the contracting authority it is asked to undertake on behalf of a user? Can the current legal frameworks covering electronic commercial transactions handle issues arising out of the use of Intelligent Agents? In addition to the legal liability issues which arise from use of Intelligent Agents,their use also raises questions of privacy and security. In a fully interconnected society, justifiable concerns arise regarding ensuring that Intelligent Agents do not do jeopardize the well-being of people making use of or exposed to such agents, and that a sufficient level of trust is established to ensure that information provided to, or collected by, agents is not misused or mishandled to the detriment of others. We will focus on the legal issues surrounding the use of Intelligent Agents and will identify certain international precedents which may provide insight and guidance as to how Intelligent Agents may be viewed and treated legally.

Ethics and new technology: the vision from Chile

Abraham Santibañez

Chile is a developing country, growing at an extraordinary speed after the deep transformation of its economy under the military dictatorship from 1973-1990. General Pinochet took out our freedom, left at least 2,000 missing people and a deep wound in our society. At the same time, through a group of economists known as the ³Chicago boys², his government put the foundations of a modern economy - open and competitive.

This may help to understand the paradoxes of our country. In certains fields we are a very developed society and in others we are still very restrictive.

We know historical studies on the social impacts of new technologies and cultural values in some remote islands in the Pacific or isolated tribes in Africa or the Amazon. But these were small groups and what happened to them was not important on a world scale.

Things are different now. Think, for instance, on the Enlaces -links- program, started some years ago in Chile. Its ambitious goal is to prepare students belonging to the public school system, usually poor children, for the use of computers and networking. Enlaces, a nationalwide program now, was started at La Araucania, one of the poorest regions in Chile, and inhabited mainly by mapuches. Still you can see in the fields there, 800 kilometers from Santiago to the south, more oxen than tractors. Today, those poor children, from ignorant families, have the same possibility of getting in touch with the rest of the world that the sons of the rich people have in Santiago, the capital, which is a modern city, full of skyscrapers, cable TV, a subway (the metro) and lots of smog.... in other words: civilization. They almost never see the local newspaper... but they can follow, on the Internet, the news through CNN, The Washington Post or El Mercurio, La Tercera and La Epoca, which are periodicals edited in Santiago.

You don¹t need to have much money to get in touch with new technology. In an open market society, like mine, with a modern digital telephone system, students in isolated areas, have the same opportunities in education than those luckier ones. But learning, getting in touch through e-mail or newsgroups is not enough, and that is the point. Having access to the Internet enables you to have the world at your computer screen. But there, what do you have? Of course, news. But also pornography, tragedies, misinformation, political, religiuos or philosophical ideas you may consider undesirables. And the same refers to cable TV.

This is not a theoretical problem. In Chile it is a very practical matter these days, because one big TV cable provider has undertaken the responsibility of changing (generally by supression) the international programming according his own values. Many people are against this, but there is also a strong reaction in its favor. The argument is that people are not prepared to see crimes, violence, sex et al...

We have to ask ourselves about other, deeper and more important effects, not well understood, not even studied at all.


Global Perspective: Issues Associated with a Broader Diffusion of Agents and On-line Resources

Adam Clayton Powell, III

The need for agents has grown as the Internet and its associates information resources have grown. In addition to spreading to almost every country, the Internet has spread to neighboring technologies, enabling agents to have access to resources that are not considered part of conventional on line technology. With the launch later this year of the ITN Information Channel in the U.K. and of similar services in the U.S. this winter, the depth and interactivity of the Internet will be fully connected to the power and reach of broadcast television and radio. ITN, for example, is building an architecture for the fall that will combine access to all-news television, video on demand, all-news radio, audio on demand, preformatted teletext, interactive text, and the Internet, all reached via a single platform, which could either be PC or a television set equipped with a set-top converter which includes a PC. In this environment, the use, power and scope of agents will expand across technologies. And with the ease of use and familiarity of television as an access point, the use, power and scope of agents will penetrate nations and population groups that have scant experience to date with the Internet. The issues raised by this level of connectivity and raised by the use and abuse of agents will have a far more global application than might have been considered even a few years ago.


Down to Cases: The Case of Stan McGregor


Stan McGregor is confused. As senior research engineer for a major telecommunication and computer company, he is on the leading edge of developing important new technology called "choreographed intelligent agents." His synthesis of several types of software would allow his company to sell "need-fulfilling" services to clients over the Internet. Stan’s invention would, for example, enable a client to tell his computer that he is lonely, and the choreographed intelligent agents would automatically produce a long list of options for the customer to relieve loneliness. Everything from a list of phone numbers of friends and relatives to a list of phone numbers of escort services and on-air psychologists would appear on the computer screen-and lots more-all within one minute. Now Stan McGregor is facing a serious list of ethical issues such as. These issues will be presented to the panel, with a lively format of exchange and questions from the audience. This forum will then be opened for any questions raised by the workshop. Number of visitors to this Page since 03 July 199