2017 Keynote

2017 Keynote Speakers

Title: The Reckoning for Social Media

Abstract: Lee Rainie will discuss new research about how citizens are trying to navigate the  challenging world of “fake news” and “truthiness” on social media. He will look at how people are trying to adjust to the turmoil over the impact of social media on political deliberation and what this means about the concepts of “expertise” and “trust.”we don’t need to do for each paper.

Lee Rainie is the director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which has studied the social impact of digital technologies since 2000. He gives several dozen speeches a year to government officials, media leaders, scholars and students, technology executives, librarians, and non-profit groups about the changing media ecosystem. He also regularly interviewed by major news organizations about technology trends. Rainie is a co-author of Networked: The New Social Operating System and five books about the future of the Internet that are drawn from Pew Internet research. Prior to launching the Pew Internet Project, he was managing editor of U.S. News & World Report.

Title: War in the World Brain

Abstract: In 1937, H.G. Wells wrote an essay entitled the “World Brain,” in which he forecast a permanent encyclopedia accessible to all citizens of the earth simultaneously.  Should such a permanent encyclopedia every come to fruition, Wells predicted, it would dissolve all human conflict into unity.  Clearly, Wells’ assumptions were misguided.  While we have indeed created the basis for a world encyclopedia accessible by most everyone on Earth, the foundation for it is under assault.  Governments now routinely censor access to Internet resources using sophisticated censorship and deep-packet inspection systems. A vast architecture of planetary-wide surveillance has been constructed, borne out of the complementary interests of big business and Big Brother. Civil society organizations face an epidemic of targeted digital attacks from their adversaries. Heavily financed and well resourced resourced state-backed “influence operations” poison the well of the public sphere with propaganda. Drawing from the research of the Citizen Lab (https://citizenlab.org/), I outline why and how digital technologies are contributing to and reinforcing human conflict and division, and then suggest some strategies to mitigate these trends.

Ron Deibert, (OOnt, PhD, University of British Columbia) is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research and development laboratory working at the intersection of the digital technologies, global security, and human rights. He was a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and Information Warfare Monitor (2003-2012) projects. Deibert was one of the founders and (former) VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon, one of the world’s leading digital censorship circumvention services. 

Past #SMSociety Keynotes

  • Helen Kennedy
    2016 Keynote Speaker
    Professor of Digital Society, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Susan Halford
    2016 Keynote Speaker
    Director, Web Science Institute, University of Southampton, UK
  • William H. Dutton
    2015 Keynote Speaker
    Professor of Media and Information, Director Quello Center, Michigan State University
  • John Weigelt
    2014 Keynote Speaker
    Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Microsoft Canada
  • Keith N. Hampton
    2014 Keynote Speaker
    Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University.
  • Sharad Goel
    2013 Keynote
    Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research
  • Gilad Lotan
    2012 Keynote
    Chief Data Scientist, Betaworks
  • Caroline Haythornthwaite
    2011 Keynote
    Director & Professor, The iSchool, University of British Columbia.
  • Barry Wellman
    2010 Keynote
    The S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, Director Netlab, University of Toronto

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