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With Robyn Caplan (Researcher, Data & Society), Nir Eyal (Author), Jess Brown (Dir. UX, VICE).
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 07:00 PM    Cost: $8
Peoples Improv Theater, 123 E 24th St

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In this live show, comedy & tech come together at last. Each month, the tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar & the comedian Joe Leonardo invite a wide range of guests to pick apart & laugh about such matters as algorithms & artificial intelligence. -The New York Times

Do tech companies have an ethical responsibility to design their products differently? Should algorithms be more transparent to reduce bias? Are we headed towards a Black Mirror future?! Funny as Tech, a live panel show & studio podcast that tackles the thorniest issues in technology, has assembled a diverse panel of experts to have a freewheeling conversation on the complicated, nerve-wracking, & sometimes absurd issues regarding TECH ETHICS.

This live panel show, with audience Q&A, happens on Tues, March 13th from 7 to 8 pm at the Peoples Improv Theater (123 E. 24th Street, NYC). Reservations for this nerdy night out of laughter & learning (and debate) can be made at All shows are taped for podcast, with audio & video made available on & elsewhere.

The panel for Let's Discuss Tech Ethics! Robyn Caplan (Researcher at Data & Society), Nir Eyal (bestselling author), & Jess Brown (Director of UX at VICE). [Bios listed below.]

What Is Funny as Tech?

Funny as Tech is a NYC-based monthly live panel show & weekly podcast that tackles the thorniest issues in tech! Co-hosts David Ryan Polgar (tech ethicist) & Joe Leonardo (comedian) invite a diverse range of experts to unpack our absurd present & uncertain future. The aim is to have a freewheeling conversation that is informative, accessible, & entertaining. Topics have included diversity in tech, trolls, tech addiction, cryptocurrency, the future of work, & the future of conversation (chatbots, etc). Previous guests have included CNN's Laurie Segall, comedian Chuck Nice, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, WNYC's Manoush Zomorodi,'s Dennis Mortensen, design researcher Pamela Pavliscak, cyber psychologist Dr. David Greenfield, diversity advocate Tracy Chou, & futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston. Live shows are held monthly at the Peoples Improv Theater in Manhattan, while weekly podcasts are recorded at Grand Central Tech.


Robyn Caplan is a Researcher at Data & Society Research Institute-a research institute based in New York City focused on the social & cultural issues arising from data-centric & automated technologies. She has written several white papers & academic journal articles on topics related to fake news & media manipulation, media policy & platform governance, open government, & the use of data in the context of policing. She is the co-author of the paper Why Media Companies Insist They're Not Media Companies, Why They're Wrong, & Why That Matters, published by First Monday in 2017. Prior to joining Data & Society, Caplan was a Research Fellow for the GovLab at New York University, where she researched open data policy & ethics. Her work has been covered by multiple media outlets, including NBC, The New York Times, Associated Press & TechCrunch.

Outside of Data & Society, Caplan is also currently a PhD Candidate at Rutgers University at the School of Communication & Information. She is originally from Canada, & due to this, maintains a stubborn belief in the power & responsibilities of good governance.


Nir Eyal writes, consults, & teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, & business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.

Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 & has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business & the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

In addition to blogging at, Nir's writing has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, & Psychology Today.

Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include: (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Eventbrite, Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Presence Learning, 7 Cups, Pana, Kahoot!, Byte Foods,, & Symphony Commerce

Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business & Emory University.


Jess Brown is the Director of UX at VICE, where she leads the product design team in creating digital experiences that showcase VICE's distinct storytelling. Since joining VICE, she's managed the design for five initiatives-a network-wide web redesign, VICE mobile apps, VICE Video, VICELAND digital, & a brand new CMS.

Previously, she was the first UX practitioner at Rent the Runway, where she established UX & research practices that brought users' stories to the heart of the product. In the Bay Area, she co-founded a startup called Threadflip, & consulted with other startups to better understand users' problems & find product-market fit.

She studied math & computer science at Stanford, & couples her techie sensibilities with a humanistic approach to design. She's fascinated by the co-evolution of culture & technology, & remains an optimist.

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