News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Michael Brennan: Tech Expert Takes on Social Ills

Ford Foundation

Michael Brennan, 33

Program Officer, Ford Foundation
New York

Michael Brennan might be the first person with a Ph.D. in computer science to serve as a program officer at a top foundation. The Ford Foundation hired him because it believes technologists are critical to solving tough social problems.

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Take body cameras for police officers. Yes, they might promote greater accountability, says Mr. Brennan. But someone who understands facial-recognition software can point out the potential privacy and surveillance implications.

"If you don’t have people who have the knowledge of where the technology is going," he says, "you may end up with an answer that one or five or 10 years down the line you regret." 


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