Upcoming Events: You, me, and my computer (5/20); The Social Machine Book Launch (5/20); Post Arab Revolutions (5/27)

May 14, 2014

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berkman luncheon series

You, me, and my computer

Tuesday, May 20, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.

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Can we use technology to help us be more human? To smile more, to touch and to listen to each other? What if a computer could understand and make decisions about our social relationships better than we could ourselves? Would our interactions be improved by computationally determining what to do and say? What happens if we crowdsource our dating lives and actually find love? This is a discussion of attempts to understand these questions through an artistic practice involving hacking, design and self-experimentation.

Lauren McCarthy is an artist and programmer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is adjunct faculty at RISD and NYU ITP, a researcher in resident at ITP, and recently a resident at Eyebeam. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

book launch

The Social Machine

Tuesday, May 20, 6:00pm ET, Harvard Law School. Free and Open to the Public. Reception to follow.

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Online, interface designs fashion people's appearance, shape their communication and influence their behavior. Can we see another’s face or do we know each other only by name? Do our words disappear forever once they leave the screen or are they permanently archived, amassing a history of our views and reactions? Are we aware of how public or private our surroundings are?

In “The Social Machine”, Judith Donath addresses topics such visualizing conversations and networks; portraying identity with data and history; delineating public and private space, and bringing the online world's open sociability into the face to face world. “The Social Machine” is a manifesto for balancing legibility, social responsibility and innovation -- and a manual for designing radically new environments for social interaction.

Judith Donath synthesizes knowledge from urban design, evolutionary biology and cognitive science to design innovative interfaces for on-line communities and virtual identities. A Harvard Berkman Faculty Fellow and formerly director of the MIT Media Lab's Sociable Media Group, she is known internationally for her writing on identity, interface design, and social communication. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Post Arab Revolutions: What Social Media is telling us

Tuesday, May 27, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.

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Since that fateful Youtube video of Mohamed Bouazizi started circulating in Tunisia, people started labeling the 2011 revolutions that sparked across the Arab World as the Facebook and Twitter revolutions. While that is not the case, it is undeniable the role that social media played in those and other revolutions that are emerging across the world. Taking a social networked analysis approach, I will talk about the initial findings of ongoing research being conducted on the Arab Blogosphere and Twitter maps from various countries in the region. This analysis has helped identify key actors in the region (and in some cases the absence of certain actors) in addition to the links between them. It is a fundamental step and a foundational one that will support building a knowledge base and that will help understand the flow of information and conversations -if any- between different activists in the region, while offering a position to study the tactics used by activists in the region to support their cause.

Dalia Othman is a Berkman Fellow and Visiting Scholar at MIT's Center for Civic Media. At Berkman, Dalia has been looking at online civic engagement in the Arab World, focusing on analyzing the Arab Blogosphere and Twitter maps of various countries within the region. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

video/audio

RB213: The Public Spectrum

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Most of the spectrum of frequency that exists in the US is occupied or owned by large wireless corporations, cable companies, by the government. But at least one small chunk of spectrum — “low-band spectrum” wireless, or TV white spaces (so-called because it is the space between the television dials) — has been somewhat open to the public. There are thousands of devices on the market that take advantage of this spectrum without paying a license fee, allowing consumers to transmit bits without interference from walls, trees, or radiation from devices like microwaves. But the Federal Communications Commission is now deciding whether to auction off this spectrum to the highest bidder, putting at risk not only billions of dollars in economic activity, but also very fundamental concepts of affordable public access to information spaces. And on May 15th, just a couple days away from this podcast, the FCC will be holding an open meeting to discuss whether auctioning off this spectrum would be a good idea. Harold Feld, senior vice president for Public Knowledge, recently sat down with David Weinberger to talk about why we should be concerned about auctioning off this spectrum. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

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See our events calendar if you're curious about future luncheons, discussions, lectures, and conferences not listed in this email. Our events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

Last updated May 14, 2014

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