The Quantum Age

law and policy in the quantum age

Quantum technologies have provided capabilities that seem strange, are powerful, and at times, frightening. These capabilities are so different from our conventional intuition that they seem to ride the fine border between science fiction and fantasy. Yet some quantum technologies can be commercially purchased today, and more are just around the corner.

In Law and Policy for the Quantum Age (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Chris Hoofnagle, Professor of Law in Residence at UC Berkeley and Faculty Director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and Simson Garfinkel, Senior Data Scientist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, explain the genesis of quantum information science and the development of related technologies: quantum sensing, computing, and communication.

This seminar will feature Professor Hoofnagle discussing the book, which uses scenario analysis to consider four futures for quantum technologies. It then considers how policymakers might anticipate the benefits and risks of quantum technologies.

Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley School of Information’s Information Access Seminar and the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity.

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The Invention of Humanity, East and West

Part of the "In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics" series, presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities

Ming Dynasty Painting

Watch the Livestream Here

An academic commonplace has the early 5th-century Greeks inventing the first theories of consciousness, the polis, and the self, in what used to be dubbed “the Greek miracle.” This conversation considers a still more fundamental question: which civilizations gave rise to the notion of a shared humanity, and why? As panelist Siep Stuurman writes in his book The Invention of Humanity, “common humanity and equality are not primeval facts” that simply awaited discovery by people in one specific time and place. Instead, such ideas were “novel and potentially disruptive ways” of perceiving a broad range of human relationships.

This conversation focuses on two early masterworks by two celebrated historians, Herodotus and Sima Qian, who somehow came to imagine that all inhabitants of the known world — regardless of ethnic origin, native place, or status — constitute a single human community whose contours must be explored if people are to learn how to prosper and flourish. The impact of their ruminations on Western and Chinese culture has arguably been as profound and enduring as that of any religious leader.

This event is part of a yearlong series grounded in the conviction that for the United States to engage in dialogue with China has become essential. If we are not simply to challenge but to co-exist with China, we need a better understanding of the country’s complex contemporary reality — which in turn requires engagement with the longstanding historical and cultural roots from which today’s reality has sprung.

Complicating this project is the fact that over the past thirty years, much of what we thought we knew about China’s past and present has changed dramatically. From ancient trade routes, to the role of classical learning, to the May Fourth Movement, to the notion of democracy in a Chinese context, many of the major phenomena in Chinese history and society have been significantly reconceptualized by scholars.

Presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, “In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics” brings together Chinese and Western panelists to engage in cutting-edge dialogue on the history and current state of Chinese art, culture, and politics. Offering innovative, thoughtful approaches to the study of China, the conversations aim to provide rich intellectual resources as the US and China chart an unknown but surely entangled future.

Participants:

Siep Stuurman is emeritus professor of the history of ideas at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His panoramic book The Invention of Humanity (2017) traces evolving ideas of human equality and difference across continents, civilizations, and epochs to argue that the notion of a common humanity was counterintuitive and thus had to be invented. He is also the author of François Poulain de la Barre and the Invention of Modern Equality, which was awarded the George Mosse Prize by the American Historical Association.

Li Wai-yee is the 1879 Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University and an expert on the work of ancient historian Sima Qian, considered the father of Chinese historiography. Her books include The Readability of the Past in Early Chinese Historiography (2007); Women and National Trauma in Late Imperial Chinese Literature (2014), which won the Joseph Levenson Prize from the Association of Asian Studies; and, most recently, Plum Shadows and Plank Bridge: Two Memoirs About Courtesans (2020).

 

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On Chinese Democracy

Part of the "In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics" series, presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities

A cluster of hands

Click Here to Watch the Livestream.

Presented as part of the series, “In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics,” presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, this conversation considers the groundbreaking work of University of Hong Kong political philosopher Ci Jiwei, author of Democracy in China: The Coming Crisis (2019). One of the leading thinkers to envision a realistic path to democracy for the People’s Republic of China, Ci aims to provide a distinctive model of “democracy with Chinese characteristics,” based on the country’s own traditions — for example, its impressive track record of meritocratic social mobility.

Ci argues that four decades of reform have created a readiness for democracy among the Chinese people, resulting in a disjunction between popular expectations and political reality. The inherent tensions in a largely democratic society without a democratic political system will, he asserts, trigger an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy for the current government.

Taking Ci’s work as their starting point, panelists ask how essential democratic values — such as the acknowledgment of intrinsic human diversity as the basis for creating democratic institutions, checks and balances among branches of government, and voluntary and open political participation — can be adapted and deployed within a Chinese context.

This event is part of “In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics,” a yearlong series grounded in the conviction that for the United States to engage in dialogue with China has become essential. If we are not simply to challenge but to co-exist with China, we need a better understanding of the country’s complex contemporary reality — which in turn requires engagement with the longstanding historical and cultural roots from which today’s reality has sprung.

Complicating this project is the fact that over the past thirty years, much of what we thought we knew about China’s past and present has changed dramatically. From ancient trade routes, to the role of classical learning, to the May Fourth Movement, to the notion of democracy in a Chinese context, many of the major phenomena in Chinese history and society have been significantly reconceptualized by scholars.

“In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics” brings together Chinese and Western panelists to engage in cutting-edge dialogue on the history and current state of Chinese art, culture, and politics. Offering innovative, thoughtful approaches to the study of China, the conversations aim to provide rich intellectual resources as the US and China chart an unknown but surely entangled future.

Participants

John Pomfret, an author and journalist, has worked at the Washington Post for several decades, including as Beijing bureau chief and, currently, as a contributing writer for the Global Opinions section. He is a recipient of the Osborne Elliot Award for the best coverage of Asia, and the Shorenstein Award from Harvard and Stanford for his lifetime coverage of Asia. For his work on the Congo, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. His books include Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China.

Shoufu Yin is a faculty member in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. His research on Chinese and Inner Asian political thought brings together cultural history and comparative philosophy in an effort to create new global intellectual histories. His current book project traces the history of early modern political thought through a study of the rhetorical curriculum that flourished in schools in East Eurasia between 1250 and 1650.

Information about online viewing will be posted several days before the event.

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The Promise and Perils of Media

Part of the "In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics" series, presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities

bas relief dragon

Click Here to Watch the Livestream

What role do new and emerging forms of media play in shaping our perceptions of China’s complex contemporary reality? This conversation features panelists who have lived successful lives as academics publishing thoughtful books and essays, while also producing newer forms of media, including nuanced documentaries and influential websites. Speakers explore how the formats, origins, and conventions specific to various media platforms affect public opinion about China, both within and outside the Sinosphere. They also offer cautionary tales about the facile analyses, attention-grabbing stories, and truncated sound bites and posts that drive today’s media.

This event is part of a yearlong series grounded in the conviction that for the United States to engage in dialogue with China has become essential. If we are not simply to challenge but to co-exist with China, we need a better understanding of the country’s complex contemporary reality — which in turn requires engagement with the longstanding historical and cultural roots from which today’s reality has sprung.

Complicating this project is the fact that over the past thirty years, much of what we thought we knew about China’s past and present has changed dramatically. From ancient trade routes, to the role of classical learning, to the May Fourth Movement, to the notion of democracy in a Chinese context, many of the major phenomena in Chinese history and society have been significantly reconceptualized by scholars.

Presented by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, “In Dialogue with China: Art, Culture, Politics” brings together Chinese and Western panelists to engage in cutting-edge dialogue on the history and current state of Chinese art, culture, and politics. Offering innovative, thoughtful approaches to the study of China, the conversations aim to provide rich intellectual resources as the US and China chart an unknown but surely entangled future.

Participants

David Ownby is professor of Chinese history at the University of Montréal. He is the editor and translator of Xu Jilin’s groundbreaking 2018 book, Rethinking China’s Rise: A Liberal Critique (2018). Ownby is well-known for his website Reading the China Dream, which explores intellectual life in contemporary China and spotlights areas of resistance in the Sinosphere.

Documentary filmmaker Carma Hinton grew up in Beijing and has co-directed thirteen documentary films on China. Her works include The Gate of Heavenly Peace, on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests; Morning Sun, on the Cultural Revolution; and Small Happiness, on the sexual politics of rural China. Her numerous honors include two Peabody Awards, the American Historical Association’s John E. O’Connor Film Award, and a National News and Documentary Emmy.

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Defending Against the Ravages of Disinformation

Presented as part of the Berkeley Conversations event series

Woman holding "Trump Won" sign

As the nation struggles against confusion and discord linked to an epidemic of disinformation, a panel of pre-eminent UC Berkeley scholars will convene next week to explore how to defend democracy from false information without compromising core American principles.

The online Berkeley Conversation, “Defending Against Disinformation,” will be held on Tuesday Sept. 21 from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. The event will be streamed live on YouTube and on Facebook.

“Defending Against Disinformation” features a panel of elite scholars who specialize in democracy, law, racial justice, communication and technology: Geeta Anand, dean of the School of Journalism; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley Law; Hany Farid, associate dean and head of the School of Information; Susan D. Hyde, chair of the Department of Political Science; and john powell, director of the Othering & Belonging Institute. The panel will be moderated by Henry Brady, former dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy.

Disinformation — the intentional dissemination of false information to shape political and social outcomes — is increasingly a feature of the U.S. political landscape. The effects are pernicious: By causing confusion, disinformation amplifies division and aggravates discord. By creating a false but widely accepted alternate reality, it can destabilize a society. Just in the past year, disinformation has had direct, harmful effects on efforts to check the spread of COVID-19, on initiatives for racial justice and on the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath.

Clearly, disinformation costs lives and erodes democracy. That raises a critical question: How can we counter and neutralize disinformation without compromising freedom of speech, freedom of the press and other core American values?

“Defending Against Disinformation” is open to the campus community, and to policymakers, journalists and the general public, without cost.

The event is sponsored by the Goldman School of Public PolicyBerkeley Law, and the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, with support from the Social Science Matrix.