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®.