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American Academy Hosts Workshop on the Next Generation of the Internet


Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On November 13–14, 2008, the American Academy hosted the first in a series of workshops exploring scientists’ understanding of the public. The objective of the series is to broaden the interaction between scientists and citizens beyond a “one-way educational lecture” to a “two-way conversation” that explores public concerns about science and technology. The Scientists’ Understanding of the Public Project is support by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

This first workshop explored the complex interplay between experts who shape the Internet and the citizens who use it. Chaired by David D. Clark, a leader in Internet development, former Chair of the Internet Architecture Board, and Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a diverse cross-section of scientists and public representatives explored key issues such as safety, trust, and reliability that shape the user experience and thus inform the potential conversation between citizen-user and expert.

As part of the workshop, the participants investigated a number of case studies to better understand citizens’ reactions to rapid future innovations on the Internet. Topics included issues of identity; attribution and the provenance of information; rights and ownership of personal data; and child protection.

Other workshops in this series include Public Perception of Nuclear Waste Repositories, the Spread of Personal Genetic Information, the Risks and Benefits of Emerging Energy Technologies.


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