Wired for Change:
The Power and the Pitfalls of Big Data
October 23, 2012
Big Data presents enormous challenges and opportunities for social change makers. How can we ensure that vast data sets are tapped for the common good? How do we protect the right to privacy? And how do we build a transparent framework for data collection and analysis that allows us to create a better and more equitable future for all?
In its second year, Wired for Change brings together social innovators, technologists, entrepreneurs, government leaders and philanthropists for provocative conversations about the critical issues facing our hyper-networked, hyper-public society.
Registration and Continental Breakfast
Luis A. Ubiñas President, Ford Foundation
Big Data, Big Challenges and Big Opportunities
Big Data has the power to transform. It offers us a new lens on the world—and with it, new ways to innovate and create, analyze and identify, strategize and achieve. Big Data has revolutionized how we plan and build cities, conduct business, run political campaigns and report the news. So what does it mean for social change makers? With access to an ever-growing number of data sets, how might public interest groups take advantage of data to further their work? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion of hopeful ideas and pragmatic concerns about our hyper-networked, hyper-public society.
Moderator: Ethan Zuckerman Director, MIT Center for Civic Media
The End of Privacy?
How Big Brother is Big Data? With data increasingly becoming a valued currency, in the corporate world in particular, the rush is on to collect as much as possible. How is that information mined, and how deep does the digging really go? How do we strike a balance between the need for data to fuel innovation, build markets and increase competitiveness, and the need to safeguard fundamental privacy principles? How can social change makers ensure they take into account both the day-to-day risks and the long-term implications of a data-run world?
Moderator: John Palfrey Head of School, Phillips Academy, Andover
Bringing a New Lens to Old Data
Through the smart use of Big Data, we can identify areas of economic opportunity, track growth and productivity and visualize what a healthy economy looks like. And, says César A. Hidalgo, visualizing data in creative ways can lead to fresh insights and more effective strategies.
Speaker: César A. Hidalgo, Assistant Professor, MIT Media Lab
Lunch Discussion: The Human Face of Big Data
Since March 2012, approximately 100 of the world's leading photographers in over 30 countries have been searching out and capturing images that illustrate The Human Face of Big Data. Project creator Rick Smolan will share some of the stunning images from this globally crowdsourced media project focusing on humanity's new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in real time.
Moderator: David Kirkpatrick Founder and CEO, Techonomy
Speaker: Rick Smolan CEO, Against All Odds Productions
Big Data and the Media
The ability to access reams of data at the click of a mouse has opened up new ways for the media to tell stories and support narratives. But it has also added new pressures and challenges. We look at how journalists and media outlets are handling data: when it works, when it doesn’t and when it’s just plain complicated.
Moderator: Sewell Chan Deputy Editor, Op-Ed and the Sunday Review, The New York Times
Tracking Progress: What the Media Cloud Can Do For You
The brainchild of Harvard's Berkman Center and MIT's Center for Civic Media, Media Cloud can store and index hundreds of thousands of articles a day from tens of thousands of blogs and conventional news sources, allowing us to see and understand the way stories morph, mutate and gain traction in local, national and international media. MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman illustrates the power of this new tool and what it means for organizations driving social change.
Speaker: Ethan Zuckerman Director, MIT Center for Civic Media
First Do No Harm: Changing the Human Rights Landscape
Now more than ever, our data rich world enables us to build networks, grow movements, collectively build new public records, bring together the voiceless and marginalized, and identify abuse and shame the perpetrators. But the same tools that connect and reveal can also be used to quell dissent, censor, spy and punish. For legacy human rights organizations whose reputations are built on strategic expertise, controlled messages and careful research, these crowd-sourced tools present a difficult challenge. How do they incorporate the new while preserving the tried and true? How do they collaborate with tech developers to meaningfully seize the opportunities of Big Data without creating vulnerabilities that undermine their legacy?
Moderator: Yvette Alberdingk Thijm Executive Director, WITNESS
Big Data and the Just City
Whether we are conscious of it or not, Big Data has changed the way we live, travel and co-exist in urban settings. It has been used to transform metropolitan development plans, identify areas of need and opportunity, and galvanize local movements seeking improvements to community services. We offer three vignettes of what’s new in the networked city, highlighting bold ideas for using data to create the just and sustainable urban environments of the future.
Moderator: Rick Karr Journalist and Educator
Life, the Internet and Everything
Whether personifying the Swine Flu on Twitter, treating a Foursquare mayor battle as legitimate politics or live-blogging his experience clearing an exit ramp on Lakeshore Drive during Chicago's epic blizzard of 2011, Baratunde Thurston has used social media to do much more than post photos and beg for followers. Beyond delivering comedy and shock value, he has also engaged communities and delivered results. His riff on living online concludes our day.
Speaker: Baratunde Thurston Author, "How to Be Black"
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