For twenty years Sam Gregory has enabled people to use the power of the moving image and participatory technologies to create human rights change. He is Program Director of WITNESS, which supports anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. An award-winning technologist, media-maker and advocate, he leads the WITNESS Program team and from 2010-2018 taught the first graduate-level course at Harvard on harnessing the power of new visual and participatory technologies for human rights change. He is currently also the Co-Chair of the Partnership on AI’s Working Group on Social and Societal Influence.
At WITNESS, he has led a series of strategic program shifts that respond to complex and changing political and technological realities around technology, social media, and human rights, as well as supported his team to achieve lasting human rights impact. As well as overall strategic direction on the organization’s programs, he currently supervises the WITNESS Media Lab’s work around innovation in eyewitness video for human rights as well as work on citizen media and trust, authenticity and evidence. Additionally, he supervises WITNESS’ Tech + Advocacy work, advocating to technology companies on human rights and developing tools such as ProofModefor better authentication of contentious video. Within his work, he also focuses on emerging threats and opportunities including the areas of livestreaming and co-presence, VR, and misinformation and disinformation. This includes a current focus on identifying solutions () to the foundational challenges to trust posed by advances in AI and faked video and audio such as malicious ‘deepfakes’. He co-founded the global Video4Change network, as well as helped launch WITNESS’ work to shape the emerging field of citizen media as evidence.
He has worked on impactful campaigns worldwide, particularly in Latin America and Asia, and advocacy he has supported has engaged decision-makers in the U.S. Congress, the U.K. Houses of Parliament, and the United Nations and contributed to changes in policy, practice, and law. As well as publishing widely in academic settings he has created innovative training programs and teaching texts and was lead editor on “Video for Change: A Guide for Advocacy and Activism” (Pluto Press, 2005) and co-editor of WITNESS’ 2011 report Cameras Everywhere: Current Challenges And Opportunities At The Intersection Of Human Rights, Video And Technology.
He has spoken at Davos, TEDx, WIRED and the White House as well as many other festivals and universities. In 2010 Sam was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident on the future of video-based advocacy, from 2012-17 a Young Global Leader of the WEF and in 2013 a Knight News Challenge winner and a ‘Future for Good’ Fellow at the Institute for the Future, and in 2016 a WIRED Innovation Fellow and a New Media Innovation Fund awardee. He is currently a UBS Global Visionary, and a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and the WEF Global Future Council on Human Rights.
Sam has an MA in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, attending as a Kennedy Memorial Scholar, and a BA from the University of Oxford. He speaks Spanish and English and tweets at @samgregory.