Steven Weber – How to make Machine Translation a Force for Liberalism in Global Trade and Communications

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

12:30 pm - 1:50 pm, ASC 236

(Gregory Urquiaga/ Freelance)

Join us on Wednesday, February 12th at 12:30 in ASC 236 for Steven Weber’s talk about “How to make Machine Translation a Force for Liberalism in Global Trade and Communications”

This work-in-progress explores the hypothesis that human language has now become a central barrier to ‘interoperability’ in communication and trade. I argue that machine translation technologies will become the 2020’s analogy to container shipping in the second half of the 20th century. But as with container shipping (or the railroads in the 19th century), this new boundary-breaking technology does not reduce all boundaries equally, and it creates new challenges. How we develop, ‘license’, commercialize, and deploy it will be a critical determinant of its impact on trade, political coalitions, diversity of thought and culture, and the distribution of wealth.

About Steven Weber: 

Steven Weber, a 2020 Berggruen fellow, is a professor in the School of Information and Dept. of Political Science, UC Berkeley. His work focuses on the political economy of knowledge-intensive industries, with special attention to finance, health care, and global political economy issues relating to competitiveness. He directs the Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity, a research and collaboration hub on emerging digital security issues at the intersection of new technologies, human behavior, and risk calculations by firms and governments.  His recent 2019 book Bloc by Bloc: How to Organize a Global Enterprise for the new Regional Order explains how economic geography is evolving around machine learning, and the consequences for multinational organizations in the post-financial crisis world.

Lunch will be served. For any questions, email