Authors: 
Abstract: 

Some people enter the technology industry to build newer, more exciting kinds of technology as quickly as possible. My keynote will savage these people and will burn important professional bridges, likely forcing me to join a monastery or another penance-focused organization. In my keynote, I will explain why the proliferation of ubiquitous technology is good in the same sense that ubiquitous Venus weather would be good, i.e., not good at all. Using case studies involving machine learning and other hastily-executed figments of Silicon Valley’s imagination, I will explain why computer security (and larger notions of ethical computing) are difficult to achieve if developers insist on literally not questioning anything that they do since even brief introspection would reduce the frequency of git commits. At some point, my microphone will be cut off, possibly by hotel management, but possibly by myself, because microphones are technology and we need to reclaim the stark purity that emerges from amplifying our voices using rams’ horns and sheets of papyrus rolled into cone shapes. I will explain why papyrus cones are not vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks, and then I will conclude by observing that my new start-up papyr.us is looking for talented full-stack developers who are comfortable executing computational tasks on an abacus or several nearby sticks.

James Mickens, Harvard University

James Mickens is an associate professor of computer science at Harvard University. His research focuses on the performance, security, and robustness of large-scale distributed web services. Mickens received a B.S. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan. Before coming to Harvard, he spent six years as a researcher at Microsoft. He is also the creator of Mickens-do, a martial art so deadly that he refuses to teach it to anyone (including himself).

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BibTeX
@conference {218395,
author = {James Mickens},
title = {Q: Why Do Keynote Speakers Keep Suggesting That Improving Security Is Possible? A: Because Keynote Speakers Make Bad Life Decisions and Are Poor Role Models},
year = {2018},
address = {Baltimore, MD},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
}