June 2012

John Palfrey on interoperability

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John Palfrey of the Berkmann Center at Harvard Law School, discusses his new book written with Urs Gasser, Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems. Interoperability is a term used to describe the standardization and integration of technology. Palfrey discusses how the term can describe many relationships in the world and that it doesn’t have to be limited to technical systems. He also describes potential pitfalls of too much interoperability. Palfrey finds that greater levels of interoperability can lead to greater competition, collaboration, and the development of standards. It can also lead to giving less protection to privacy and security. The trick is to get to the right level of interoperability. If systems become too complex, then nobody can understand them and they can become unstable. Palfrey describes the current financial crises could be an example of this. Palfrey also describes the difficulty in finding the proper role of government in encouraging or discouraging interoperability.

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Andrew Keen on the negative effects of social media

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Andrew Keen, a journalist and author, discusses his new book Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us. Keen believes that social media is causing us to lose our private lives and turning us into what he calls “the cult of the social.” Keen discusses the growing power of companies like Facebook and his concern about the future of privacy and data ownership; as well as possible market and government driven solutions to this problem.

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