Hello, Brooklyn.

Thank you all for com­ing. It’s real­ly won­der­ful to be here and to be on a stage with such an illus­tri­ous group of prac­ti­tion­ers and con­cep­tors of won­der­ful things. 

We’re here to dis­cuss a num­ber of pro­found con­cepts. Art, design, futur­ism, pri­va­cy…most of which as a hum­ble tech­nol­o­gist I feel entire­ly under­qual­i­fied to even start to talk about, so I’m glad that I’m backed up by such a great crew of peo­ple here.

While it is daunt­ing to think about these big con­cepts, it is also essen­tial because you know, tech­nol­o­gy is not just com­put­ers. But today that’s what we usu­al­ly mean when we say tech­nol­o­gy. And com­put­ers have gone from being these sort of spe­cial­ist tools that were used in gray rooms by peo­ple who devel­oped eye prob­lems because they were focus­ing on them, to things that we car­ry around with us every day.

Meredith men­tioned sociotech­ni­cal sys­tems. The sociotech­ni­cal sys­tems that we have today are inte­grat­ed so thor­ough­ly into our lives that it’s real­ly become impos­si­ble for most of us to extri­cate the tech­nol­o­gy from the soci­ety. The way in which we com­mu­ni­cate, the way in which we relate to one anoth­er as human beings is through these dig­its, through these ones and zeroes that are fly­ing through the air.

I am priv­i­leged, as a tech­nol­o­gist, to have an under­stand­ing of what those dig­its mean, how they’re con­struct­ed. But that is not some­thing that every­one has access to, and it is some­thing, how­ev­er, that you need right now in order to make sense of the way in which your data is used, the way in which your data is accessed, and it’s some­thing that we as humans have on some lev­el a right to know. You have your data, it belongs to you. It does­n’t belong to the per­son who is man­ag­ing it. It does­n’t belong to the per­son who made your phone. It does­n’t belong to the peo­ple who own the cell tow­ers that are mov­ing the data around. 

So how do we take this right that you have to your data and put it back in your hands, and give you con­trol over it? And how do we do this not just from a tech­no­log­i­cal per­spec­tive (and not just from the per­spec­tive of a pol­i­cy­mak­er who lives in Washington DC or what­ev­er cap­i­tal in what­ev­er coun­try you hap­pen to be in) but how do we do it from a human perspective? 

And that’s what we’re here to talk about tonight. How do we take it out of the pol­i­cy and out of those ones and zeroes, and how do we put it into the emo­tion­al? Into the evoca­tive­ly con­cep­tu­al. Into the creative. 

So, we’re going to tack­le this bun­dle of human­i­ty from frankly a dizzy­ing num­ber of per­spec­tives. We’ve got a lot of peo­ple here who are going to talk to you about it with a lot dif­fer­ent voic­es. But some­thing that I want you to remem­ber is that the con­ver­sa­tion that we’re about to have is only begin­ning here on the stage. We’ve got lots of time after for you, the com­mu­ni­ty that actu­al­ly showed up for an event like this, to con­tin­ue that con­ver­sa­tion with us, with each oth­er, to do it this evening, to do it tomor­row, to do it next week, to do it in the Twittersphere, because this is some­thing that we as a soci­ety need to be address­ing, and some­thing that I’m real­ly thrilled to have you here to be talk­ing about with us tonight.

Thank you very much.

Help Support Open Transcripts

If you found this useful or interesting, please consider supporting the project monthly at Patreon or once via Cash App, or even just sharing the link. Thanks.