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2021 Futures Forum: The Future of Information
March 4, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Over the past 75 years, the information landscape has seen some of the most dramatic changes in human history with the advent of the internet and world wide web as major disruptive innovations that emerged during the last decades of the 20th century.
Nearly every aspect of our lives–from how we stay informed of current events, to how we learn and work, to how we connect to our social communities–has been touched by these innovations. This forum will look briefly at the history of this highly complex and rapidly evolving technology landscape before projecting ahead to anticipate the next big thing in the future of information.
Rebecca MacKinnon is Founding Director of Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), a research program at New America that sets global standards for corporate respect for freedom of expression and privacy online. The RDR Corporate Accountability Index ranks the world’s most powerful digital platforms and telecommunications companies on their respect for users’ rights, based on international human rights standards. Author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (2012), she is co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices, serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and is a founding member of the Global Network Initiative. Between 1998-2004 she was CNN’s Bureau Chief in Beijing and Tokyo. She has taught at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Pennsylvania, and held fellowships at Harvard, Princeton, the Open Society Foundations, and the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working as a software engineer at CERN, the large particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Sir Tim understood the unrealized potential of millions of computers connected together through the Internet and envisioned the Web as a global information sharing space. Sir Tim proposed what was to become the World Wide Web with a proposal specifying a set of technologies that would make the Internet truly accessible and useful to the world.. Despite initial setbacks and with perseverance, by October of 1990, he had specified the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web: HTML, URL, and HTTP.
He also wrote the first Web page editor/browser (“WorldWideWeb”) and the first Web server (“?httpd“). By the end of 1990, the first Web page was available. By 1991, people outside of CERN joined the new Web community, and in April 1993, from much encouragement from Sir Tim and his colleagues, CERN announced that the World Wide Web technology would be available for anyone to use on a royalty-free basis. Since that time, the Web has changed the world, arguably becoming the most powerful communication medium the world has ever known. Whereas only just over one half of the people on the planet are currently using the Web, the Web has fundamentally altered the way we teach and learn, buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate, meet and love, and tackle problems ranging from putting food on our tables to curing diseases. In 2009, Sir Tim recognized that the Web’s potential to empower people to bring about positive change remained unrealized by billions around the world. Announcing the formation of the World Wide Web Foundation, he once again confirmed his commitment to ensuring an open, free Web accessible and to all where people can share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance and communicate in creative ways. In 2012 Sir Tim co-founded the Open Data Institute with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, which seeks to show the value of open data, and to advocate for the innovative use of open data to affect positive change across the globe. A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) andin the Computer Science Department at Oxford University.
Asta Zelenkauskaite is associate professor of communication at Drexel University. Her research focuses on the ways in which communication occurs through computer network environments as well as mobile telephony. She is interested in the changes that social media bring to mass media landscape by studying these phenomena from a multi-method approach to analyze changing understanding of content, audiences, and media companies. Most of her work bridges disciplinary boundaries methodologically and conceptually through her collaborative work with computer scientists and information science scholars. Dr. Zelenkauskaite is also affiliated with the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication at Indiana University. earned her PhD in Mass Communication from Indiana University, Bloomington with two minor specializations in Information Science and Linguistics.
David Danks is L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy & Psychology, and Head of the Department of Philosophy, at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also the Chief Ethicist of CMU’s Block Center for Technology & Society; co-director of CMU’s Center for Informed Democracy and Social Cybersecurity (IDeaS); and an adjunct member of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, and the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute. His research interests are at the intersection of philosophy, cognitive science, and machine learning, using ideas, methods, and frameworks from each to advance our understanding of complex, interdisciplinary problems. Danks has examined the ethical, psychological, and policy issues around AI and robotics in transportation, healthcare, privacy, and security. He has also done significant research in computational cognitive science, culminating in his Unifying the Mind: Cognitive Representations as Graphical Models (2014, The MIT Press). He received an AB in philosophy from Princeton University, and a PhD in philosophy from University of California, San Diego.
Accessing the Program
This free, online program will take place via Zoom. Registration is currently open and will remain open until the event has ended. Your link to join the program will be included in the confirmation email and on the confirmation screen after you complete your registration.
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The program will also be livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page.
Further reading at the Linda Hall Library
- Ankerson, Megan Sapnar. Dot-Com Design: The Rise of a Usable, Social, Commercial Web. New York: New York University Press, 2018.
- Berners-Lee, Tim, and Mark Fischetti. Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by Its Inventor. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.
- Evans, Claire Lisa. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. New York, New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2018.
- McCullough, Brian. How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone. New York: W.W. Norton, 2018.
This program is funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Its content is solely the responsibility of the Linda Hall Library.
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