We are the Web: The Rise of the Social Machine

Jim Hendler, Tetherless World Chair of Computer and Cognitive Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

Although the read/write world of Web 2.0 is now commonplace (even your parents use Facebook) the promise of massive scale human computing has barely begun to be exploited. New technologies, including the Semantic Web, mobile computing, and open data, suggest ways that far more powerful systems than those we have today could be created, empowering humanity to help address some of our key problems. The potential for the sharing of data and knowledge, among willing participants, makes it possible to envision declarative models for creating and evolving new Web technologies that would more open and distributed systems. Further, by explicating the social, not just the technical, protocols, new models of information control that encourage, rather than prohibit, sharing can be explored. In this talk we explore the potential for next-generation social machines, look at some current online/offline systems (such as the so-called "human flesh search" phenomenon in China) and explore some of the challenges, and look at promising technologies for the future.

About the Speaker

Jim Hendler is the Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and the Assistant Dean for Information Technology and Web Science, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Experimental Multimedia Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), serves as a Director of the international Web Science Research Initiative, and is a visiting Professor at the Institute of Creative Technology at DeMontfort University in Leicester, UK. One of the inventors of the "Semantic Web," Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, and the IEEE. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002. He is the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science.