With the 27th Annual Webby Awards season kicking off this week, and Call For Entries now open, we wanted to shine a light on the jurors who make it all possible by highlighting a few Executive Webby Judges. Meet Tracy Chou, the CEO of Block Party.
For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your background.
I’m the founder and CEO of Block Party, a digital safety company that helps users set their own boundaries online, starting with anti-harassment tools for Twitter. I started my tech career as an early engineer for social platforms like Quora and Pinterest. I’ve also been very active in the fight to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.
What particular expertise are you bringing to the Academy?
Building on my startup and platform experience, my expertise sits at the intersection between product, engineering, and ethical technology.
What emerging trend or technology are you most excited about in your industry?
Broadly, that the potentially negative impacts of new technology are no longer always an afterthought. We’re starting to see more accountability and a growing recognition that tech is not neutral. I’m very heartened by the rise of the ethical AI movement, for example.
“ Good vibes or intentions are not sufficient. You need the theory of change, too.”
Do you think technology as a whole should have a “responsibility” to be responsible?
Yes 🙂 The analogy that comes to mind is physicists in the nuclear age who had to come to terms with the ethical consequences of the applications of their research. We’re having our nuclear moment in computer science.
What do you believe is the most pressing issue that technology can help solve right now?
The issues that technology created. I’m specifically thinking about the harms of the big platforms, including the weaponization of misinformation and disinformation.
What does it take for technology to create real-world impact for social good?
Successful nonprofits have more than just a mission— they have a theory of change. We often miss that critical component in the technology industry. Good vibes or intentions are not sufficient. You need the theory of change, too.