I’ve been meaning to post that I’m visiting this year at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). I’m thrilled and privileged to be part of such a dynamic group of scholars and policy wonks who integrate a deep understanding of computing technology with policy analysis and advocacy. As I wrote on my first blog post for CITP: “Every CITP scholar that I’ve gotten to know over the past several years have become friends and influenced my work in areas ranging from voting machine code access to international lawmaking processes. I’m delighted to be a part of CITP’s dynamic team and environment and look forward to an exciting year.” I’ll be working on my research involving input processes in technology policymaking, trade secret reform, and access to proprietary technological information.
Of even more relevance to my wonderful listeners, I’ll also be conducting interviews while at Princeton. Because I’m physically present there on and off, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity to do “in studio” interviews with the range of Princeton’s faculty and affiliated scholars when I’m there. Appropriately, I’ll do my first interview with CITP’s Ed Felten in November, but look for interviews with others. And if you’re nearby and want to stop by and say hello, or have suggestions about people I should meet while I’m there, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks, as always, for listening! You’re why I do the show.
I’m pleased to post Show # 218, July 23, my interview with Julia Lane of the American Institutes for Research and Prof. Victoria Stodden of the iSchool at Illinois, co-editors of Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement. Julia and Victoria, along with their co-editors Stefan Bender and Helen Nissenbaum (who were not on this show), have collected an impressive array of scholars to study the creation and use of “big data” — massive data sets — by government. Covering not only policy but the economics and statistics considerations of application of big data to decision-making, Julia and Victoria put together a wonderful resource on the challenges and opportunities of big data on a going-forward basis. I greatly enjoyed our discussion, and am a big fan of their work.
Today begins what I hope will be posting of several backlogged shows over the coming few days. My apologies for the delay, but I can assure you that its been for good reasons involving students, advocacy, writing deadlines and a deep desire to maintain contact with my wife and children.
So here we go. I’m pleased to post Show # 217, July 16, my interview with Alex Wright, author of Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age. Alex, who was previously on the show back in 2008 discussing his terrific book Glut, has written a fascinating biography of the heretofore forgotten information utopian named Paul Otlet. Otlet’s vision for a catalog of all of the world’s information is both inspiring and admirable, given his efforts spanned the first half of the twentieth century. In our interview, we discussed Otlet and his relevance to today’s issues involving information access, filtering and systems. As before, I greatly enjoyed our discussion and Alex’s work.
I’m pleased to post Show # 216, July 9, my interview with Prof. David Schanzer of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency (NSA). It was a bit over a year ago that Edward Snowden appeared on the scene as the source of a seemingly-endless array of information about the NSA’s legal and illegal spying. Snowden has since become a household name for his willingness to expose this behavior despite significant personal risk, which has caused scholars, policymakers and others to weigh in on how Snowden should be viewed. In my interview with David, we discussed David’s views on Snowden as a felon, and whether the “whistleblower” label is appropriate. In the process, we also discussed some of the NSA’s activities and how policymakers might approach reform of the NSA. David’s experience in the counter-terrorism and law enforcement world is vast, and I greatly enjoyed the discussion.
For the first show of the summer quarter, I have the privilege of posting Show # 215, July 2, my interview with Carl Oechsner of Croton Friends of History, and my middle school social studies teacher, mentor and inspiration, on children, teaching and technology. I am thrilled to interview Carl for the show, which was in-part inspired by my continued attempt at emulating Carl’s passion for teaching outside of the classroom.
As I noted in the schedule, Carl’s influence and teaching brilliance inspired me to pursue law, government and history. Carl discusses that passion for teaching in the interview, as well as his reflections on 30+ years as a truly legendary public school teacher. It was a wonderful discussion that I greatly enjoyed.
One personal note: As a society, we don’t do enough to show thanks to our teachers. The intrinsic rewards of teaching are primarily measured in the impact that one teacher can have on the lives of the students with whom that teacher interacts. But it is the rare teacher that can display the excitement, inquisitiveness and intelligence necessary to alter a generation of students’ lives permanently for the better. I was fortunate to draw Carl as a teacher, and ultimately, this show is my way of saying thank you Carl — Mr. O — for all that you did and continue to do. May this interview be one token of my appreciation and respect.
As I finalize the schedule for the summer quarter (to be posted on July 4th!), I’m pleased to post Show # 214, May 28, my interview with Prof. Evan Selinger of Rochester Institute of Technology on technology and the human experience. Evan’s work spans the range of technology, ethics and philosophy, an unusual but critical intersection as we consider the ramifications of algorithms, robotics, drones, 3D printers and social media, among many other innovations, on our lives. In our discussion, we focused on Evan’s concern about “outsourcing” our humanity to computers and technology and how it has and will impact our humanity. Evan is an insightful and original commentator and scholar, and I greatly enjoyed our discussion!
Last in the current barrage of shows is Show # 213, May 21, my interview with Ryan Calo of University of Washington School of Law and Woodrow Hartzog of Cumberland School of Law on robotics law. Although robotics and drones have come up occasionally on Hearsay Culture, they have never been the primary topic. It was arguably past the time to end that drought. Ryan and Woody are two scholars leading the discussion of the law and policy that should guide the mass entrance of robotics into everyday life (closely related to the emergent concept of the Internet of Things). We discussed everything from their We Robot conference to whether robotics will be the downfall of society (the latter sounds like typical Internet hysteria, but that is indeed the focus of the linked article). As expected, I greatly enjoyed the discussion, and fully expect that this will be the first of many discussions of robots and the law!
I’m pleased to post Show # 212, May 14, my interview with three-time Hearsay Culture guestLarry Downes, co-author of Big Bang Disruption, on disruptive technology and business strategies. Larry and his co-author Paul Nunes (who was not on the show) have written an insightful and enjoyable book looking at both the causes of and reaction to disruptive technologies by new and traditional businesses alike. Like the book, which is bifurcated between descriptive and proscriptive analysis of rapidly-disruptive technologies, we talked about the meaning and impact of “big bang” distruptive technologies and how companies can both react to and create environments that create disruptive technology. As always, I greatly enjoyed our discussion!
Hearsay Culture has been interviewing communications scholars since its founding, but in recent years there’s been a greater focus on political science. The primary reason for the increasing focus is the emerging offloading of complex intellectual property and technology policymaking to international institutions. Enter Ben and Laura’s excellent book focusing on how framing plays a critical role in modern international relations. Thus, as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) wind their way through largely secret negotiations, this conversation can help Hearsay Culture listeners understand the communications and diplomatic angles on substantive policy. In that way, we may have a better grasp on why we get the policy that we do. I greatly enjoyed the discussion!
I’m pleased to post Show #210, April 22, my interview with Mary Wong, Senior Policy Director at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on the move towards international administration of the Internet. Over the past three months, there has been much discussion about the move from US to ICANN administration of domain names. Mary, a former law professor, is at the center of this issue at ICANN, and I wanted Mary to come on the show to answer questions and dispel myths about this important procedural issue. In our discussion, we discussed the role of ICANN and what their increased role in administering domain names means and doesn’t mean. I enjoyed the discussion.