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Cybersecurity, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies / Generative AI / AI, Robotics & Automation / Metaverse / Emerging Technology / Executive Education / Must-Read Books


  • Authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter Discuss New Edition of Gamification Book, "For the Win"
    Authors Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter Discuss New Edition of Gamification Book, "For the Win"
  • The Rise of Govcoins & What’s Next for Crypto
    The Rise of Govcoins & What’s Next for Crypto
  • Bitcoin
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Digital Asset
    Digital Asset
  • Wharton Great Question: Prof. Kevin Werbach – Cryptocurrency & Fintech
    Wharton Great Question: Prof. Kevin Werbach – Cryptocurrency & Fintech
  • The Blockchain and The New Architecture of Trust | Kevin Werbach | Talks at Google
    The Blockchain and The New Architecture of Trust | Kevin Werbach | Talks at Google
  • 'For the Win': How Gamification Can Transform Your Business
    'For the Win': How Gamification Can Transform Your Business
  • Kevin Werbach: Trustless Trust?
    Kevin Werbach: Trustless Trust?
  • Penn Wharton Budget Model’s First Spring Policy Forum: Afternoon Sessions
    Penn Wharton Budget Model’s First Spring Policy Forum: Afternoon Sessions
  • Professor Kevin Werbach on Gamification: Wharton Lifelong Learning Tour
    Professor Kevin Werbach on Gamification: Wharton Lifelong Learning Tour

Learn More About Kevin Werbach

The world has entered a new phase – one in which AI, algorithms and big data hold sway over large parts of the economy and our lives. Blockchain technology is still in its infancy but looms on the horizon as a potential disruptor in many industries. Yet, our laws, regulations and ideas about trust and accountability have not kept pace. Naïve optimism has given way to concerns about harm to democracy, market competition and even human freedom. When it comes to understanding both the opportunities and threats of new technology, Kevin Werbach is a leading authority. Drawing on his extensive experience in tech, government and academia, Werbach helps organizations navigate technological change and harness its opportunities in trustworthy ways.

Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Werbach is a pioneer in emerging fields of algorithmic accountability, wireless communications, gamification (applying digital game design principles to business processes) and blockchain governance. Werbach approaches the most pressing issues in tech from a realist standpoint, skeptical of both “techno-utopians” seeing inevitable benefits and pessimists warning that technology will undermine the core values of humanity. Broadly, Werbach communicates a framework in which organizations can leverage technological innovation and effective governance to promote trust. More specifically, he identifies the implications of such technologies as AI, 5G wireless and blockchain, their current states of development and where they can help (and harm) organizations’ goals.

Werbach combines a tech/business background with direct experience in crafting the regulations and policies that helped to shape the internet age. He heads the cryptoregulation initiative of the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, serves as faculty advisor to the Penn Blockchain Club, and teaches one of the first interdisciplinary courses on blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology. An award-winning teacher, he also created Wharton’s course on “Big Data, Big Responsibilities: The Law and Ethics of Business Analytics,” and was named Wharton’s first-ever “Iron Prof” for his research.

In addition to serving as expert advisor to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Commerce, Werbach was a member of the Obama Administration’s Presidential Transition Team. His books include “The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust” (MIT Press, 2018), “For the Win: The Power of Gamification and Game Thinking in Business, Education, Government, and Social Impact” (Wharton School Press, revised and updated 2020, with Dan Hunter) and “After the Digital Tornado: Networks, Algorithms, Humanity” (Cambridge University Press, July 2020).

Prior to joining the Wharton faculty, Werbach was the editor of Release 1.0, a renowned technology report for senior executives, and co-organizer with Esther Dyson of the annual PC Forum conference. Before that, he served as Counsel for New Technology Policy at the FCC during the Clinton Administration. Called “one of the few policy wonks who really got it” by Wired, he helped develop the U.S. government’s e-commerce policies and authored “Digital Tornado,” the first comprehensive analysis of the implications of the internet on telecommunications.

A 2021 recipient of the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Worth Teaching award, Werbach is a sought-after commentator who has appeared frequently in print and broadcast media, including CNN, PBS NewsHour, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Economist. His writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Wired, Fortune, Slate, IEEE Spectrum, and numerous academic journals, and he has testified before the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the FCC. He is an affiliate of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy; a fellow of the Global Institute for Communications in Japan; treasurer of Public Knowledge; and an editorial board member of Wharton Digital Press, Info, The Journal of Information Policy and I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society.

Werbach is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served as publishing editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Kevin Werbach is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Kevin Werbach was last modified: March 13th, 2024 by Justin Louis

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Big Data, Big Responsibilities: The Ethics of AI

AI and related technologies are transforming the business landscape in virtually every industry. But in addition to offering enormous new opportunities for growth and innovation, these technologies can also produce abuses of privacy, unethical manipulation and new forms of discrimination. In turn, such challenges have resulted in more political scrutiny and regulation of the firms that develop and employ these emerging technologies or utilize the data of millions of consumers. These actions create potential pitfalls ranging from public backlash to extensive fines and even outright bans. Organizations seeking to benefit from big data and analytics must consider their limitations, as well as the emerging legal and technical mechanisms of algorithmic accountability. In this presentation, Kevin Werbach draws on his Wharton course, “Big Data, Big Responsibilities,” to outline the legal and ethical challenges posed by AI and the data economy, and discuss how organizations can benefit from these technologies while respecting their consumers’ privacy and autonomy.

The Metaverse: Uncovering Opportunities and Dispelling Myths

Companies are promoting sparkling visions of what the metaverse can offer. While there are tremendous opportunities for business and society, the virtual land rush is based on a myth, says Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach, a leading authority on the business, legal and public policy implications of emerging technologies. In this talk, he cuts through the metaverse hype, situates the metaverse as the convergence of four streams of technology — online communities, video games, virtual reality, and digital assets — and identifies where the real opportunities lie. He also explains how the metaverse connects to the trust revolution of cryptocurrencies, digital assets and decentralized blockchains.

The Rise of Blockchain: Myths, Realities and Opportunities

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are wildly overhyped. Some experts (as well as non-experts) tout the coming triumph of the blockchain-enabled cryptocurrency over all existing forms of money. But the digital currencies that do exist are frequently used for illegal activity or bubble-inducing speculation that tends to end in catastrophe for investors who fail to sell at the right time. And yet, says Kevin Werbach, it would be wrong to dismiss these technologies. Separate from cryptocurrency investment activity, organizations and communities around the world are starting to deploy blockchain-based systems – in a less dramatic fashion – to address real business needs and create new financial instruments. These include shoring up transparency and accountability in global transactions and supply chains, and creating alternative, decentralized financial structures that combine reliability with wider accessibility. Ultimately, blockchain can reinforce and build trust between organizations in an era when digital technology is more likely to harm rather than help confidence in institutions. In this presentation, Werbach demystifies blockchain and identifies its real-world value propositions, along with the remaining challenges before it reaches its full potential.

The Future of Technology: The Convergence of Cyber and Physical

AI, blockchain and 5G are each touted as the “next big thing” that will change the world and disrupt business. Yet, even relatively tech-savvy executives admit they do not really know what these technologies are or why they are important. These three seemingly unrelated trends are actually elements of a common mega-trend: automation of the world. In fact, augmented reality (AR), the Internet of Things (IoT) and gamification are part of the same process: the convergence of cyberspace and physical space. To leverage the power of the digital world in the “real” world, we need a brain (AI), a nervous system (5G) and memory (blockchain). Furthering the analogy, IoT is the sensory apparatus, AR is the visual field and gamification is the emotions. They are all mutually reinforcing. In this presentation, Kevin Werbach shows audiences how to leverage investments for maximum benefit by seeing this “big picture” opportunity. Only by understanding the cumulative impact of these emerging technologies will organizations truly realize their value and transformative power.

After the Internet: The Worldwide Web in 10 Years

Today, we take for granted that the majority of humanity is connected in real-time to the global internet, which was the stuff of science fiction 30 years ago. Yet, there is no guarantee there will still be an internet as we know it even 10 years from now. How might the internet fragment, or conversely, how might cyberspace become indistinguishable from the real world? What would be the implications, and how can organizations plan for these scenarios? In this presentation, Kevin Werbach, who has been an active practitioner since the internet’s early days, takes a look at where the web is going over the coming years and decades, and how organizations can remain ahead of the curve.

From Good to GREAT: How to Build Trust in the Digital Age

We are experiencing a global crisis of trust. Technologies such as e-commerce, social media, AI and the sharing economy are increasingly seen as means of exploitation that undermine, rather than reinforce, trust. Many organizations aspire to be ethical and socially responsible, says Kevin Werbach, and yet, good people and companies still frequently wind up doing bad things. How many Silicon Valley giants, for instance, profess to believe in privacy, security and human rights, but are then revealed to be routinely exploiting personal information, allowing data to be compromised or stolen, or aiding authoritarian governments? We need to start focusing less on values than on the ways to act on and implement them. GREAT—Governance, Responsibility, Accountability and Trust—is an integrated framework for organizations that takes advantage of emerging digital technologies. In this presentation, Kevin Werbach shows how organizations can re-establish authentic trust through emerging technologies of blockchain, accountable algorithms and digital identity.

Bitcoin Dreams

August 20, 2019

Praise for “After the Digital Tornado”

“An important collection of diverse perspectives on the legal, ethical and social challenges of the information age. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past and future of Internet policy.”

Bruce Schneier, Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and author of “Click Here to Kill Everybody”

“Kevin Werbach assembles some of the world’s best thinkers to analyze the transformations wrought by code, data, and silicon. A masterful meditation on what is next for digital life and how policy might be able to harness technology for good.”

Ellen P. Goodman, Professor, Rutgers Law School and Co-Director, Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law

“This book is destined to be as vital to the debate over the future of the Internet as Werbach’s ground-breaking white paper Digital Tornado. It examines how much the Internet has changed over two decades and looks ahead with concrete recommendations about how to ensure a vibrant and open Internet ecosystem from some of the world’s top experts in Internet law and policy.”

Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy, and Benton Senior Fellow

“Some of the sharpest thinkers about technology and society examine where we have come from, what has changed, and what the future may be. Old models, antitrust, new power centers, dehumanized humanity, blockchain, and more are explored and explained with an eye to what we can and should do next.”

Deven Desai, Associate Professor, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business