Samuel Gregory

Executive Director, WITNESS

Sam Gregory is an internationally recognized, award-winning human rights advocate and technologist and expert on smartphone witnessing, deepfakes, media authenticity and generative AI. He has over twenty years experience at the forefront of practices, impact and innovations in video, technology, human rights, civic participation and media.

In 2018, Sam initiated the first globally focused effort to 'Prepare, Don't Panic' ( around deepfakes and generative AI images/video and is widely known and consulted as an advocate, researcher and speaker on deepfakes, Generative AI's promise and perils, innovation in how to understand media authenticity and provenance, and emerging forms of mis/disinformation.

Sam specializes in foresight and strategic innovation with a track record in anticipating and proactively responding to pivotal shifts in use of cellphones and social media, citizen journalism, live-streaming, and AI. For the past twelve years he has worked on emerging technologies as they impact grassroots media and democratic accountability.

He is currently the Executive Director of WITNESS, a global human rights and civic journalism network which helps people use video and technology to defend human right. As an organizational leader he has overall responsibility for a team of 50 and over $6million budget. He has successfully led WITNESS through a series of strategic shifts and major growth in staff and budget.

Sam has testified to the US Senate on AI, spoken at Davos and the White House and was a 2012-17 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. From 2018-21 he co-chaired the Partnership on AI’s Expert Group on AI and the Media. Sam has served on the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court, Twitter Trust & Safety Council and led the Threats and Harms Taskforce within the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). Among other fellowships/affiliations are Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident and IFTF Future for Good Fellow.

Quoted regularly in major media worldwide, he has written for WIRED and The Hill and been interviewed by NPR, BBC, Al-Jazeera, The New York Times, Washington Post, MIT Tech Review, and The Economist, among other media. Sam was the lead editor of Video for Change: A Guide for Advocacy and Activism (Pluto Press).

An experienced trainer and facilitator, Sam has led workshops around the globe, worked with community-based human rights groups on campaigns in Asia and Latin America. From 2010-2018 Sam taught the first graduate level course at Harvard on participatory media and human rights.

Sam has co-produced a wide range of advocacy videos with WITNESS partners and supported more than 20 impact campaigns that have screened at the UN, US Congress, and UK Parliament, and which have secured advocacy goals in multiple countries and policy contexts. He helped co-found the global field-building Video for Change network and collaborated with colleagues to initiate WITNESS’ work on the emerging field of citizen media as evidence.

Sam has co-created pioneering and innovative approaches for how technology can better serve activists including the curation of civilian witnessing efforts through the YouTube Human Rights Channel and the WITNESS Media Lab, and the award-winning ObscuraCam and ProofMode projects with the Guardian Project. These efforts have contributed to impactful outcomes such as the introduction of a ‘visual anonymity and blurring’ function on YouTube and the development of responsible standards for media authenticity at the C2PA.

He ​has published in Journalism, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Information, Communication and Society, Fiber Culture, NECSUS and American Anthropologist. A current PhD student at the University of Westminster, he is a graduate of Oxford University and the Harvard Kennedy School.

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