A lot of folks probably weren’t expecting to see the Mother Monster of pop music, Lady Gaga, among the attendees of this year’s CES. And yet, Gaga sashayed her way into the convention to not only conduct a surprise, private performance, but to announce her latest partnership with Intel for an initiative called Hack Harassment. This initiative will work to create safer and more inclusive experiences for online communities and users.
“Online harassment is pervasive and can be vicious,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement. “We need to remember that behind every device, game, sensor or network is a real person with real feelings and real needs for safety.” This sort of zero tolerance for bullying, hatred and discrimination (on or offline) is very much on brand for Gaga, who has built a philanthropic career out of standing up and fighting back against bullying, culminating with the launch of her Born This Way Foundation in 2011, which is a co-sponsor of the initiative along with Re/Code and Vox Media.
Gaga officially announced her teaming up with Intel and the launch of the Hack Harassment initiative after showing up and putting on a surprise, hour-long performance at a private party held in honor of CES. Singing jazz standards such as “New York, New York,” “La Vie En Rose” and “Bang Bang,” Gaga brought down the house with both her initiative and her pipes, joking that she “got a gig at CES singing for a bunch of tech nerds.” With her Intel partnership, Gaga is looking to “showcase technology through creativity at the highest level.”
So, just how did this initiative come about? Gaga’s foundation, along with Intel and the other partners, conducted various surveys in order to better comprehend the relationship between the tech industry and harassment. The results found that 84 percent believe there are real-life risks and consequential emotional turmoil for victims of online harassment. Additionally, the survey found that 60 percent of professionals in the tech industry believe not enough is being done to combat and prevent online harassment.
Hack Harassment hopes to conduct a series of “hackathons” that will promote awareness of online harassment and increase accountability for one’s actions online. More efforts and details from the initiative are expected to come soon, but as for now, this partnership represents a shining example of a tech outsider working with tech insiders to hold our wonderfully advanced tech accountable and liable for the harm it can cause, proving that tech has the power to change the world in more than one way.