Event Recaps | 22 February 2024

Maryana Iskander – The Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture

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On February 22, 2024, Maryana Iskander gave the annual Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture entitled, “Humans in the Loop: Wikipedia’s Future in the Age of AI.”

What role will humans play in shaping the future of the internet, especially given the meteoric rise of generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT?

Wikipedia is tech-enabled, but very human-led. Each month, it receives more than 15 billion visits as people search for information online. Maryana Iskander– The CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia, discussed how Wikipedia is doubling down on humans in a world of machine-generated content, and shared how we should prepare for the future of knowledge.

Maryana Iskander is the Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation. She has dedicated her career to breaking down systemic barriers of access to opportunity and education. Previously, she spent ten years as the CEO of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, a non-profit social enterprise focused on building African solutions to tackle the global crisis of youth unemployment, and received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2019. Maryana also served as the COO of Planned Parenthood, the Advisor to the President of Rice University, and a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Maryana holds a BA magna cum laude from Rice University, an M.Sc. from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a JD from Yale Law School, where she received a Distinguished Alumna Award.


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Photography by Crystal Birns

The Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture Series is a lively forum for the discussion and exploration of ethics-related challenges in human endeavors. The Ethics Lecture is made possible by the Peggy Downes Baskin Humanities Endowment for Interdisciplinary Ethics which enables the Humanities Division to promote a dialogue about ethics and ethics related challenges in an interdisciplinary setting. The endowment was established in honor of Peggy Downes Baskin’s longtime interest in ethical issues across the academic spectrum. This lecture series is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute.