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.


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