Transparency and Boundaries
November 17, 2011
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
This program explored both the promise and peril of an era in which free-flowing information raises issues of security, privacy, ownership, in which the response of governments has included both improved access and obstacles to transparency, and in which the use of social media has been been able to breach the walls erected by repressive regimes in some places but not in others.
The program featured a panel of accomplished faculty members with expertise ranging from e-government to mobile computing to the role of social media in the unfolding “Arab Spring.” They were joined in discussing the issues of transparency and boundaries by our “Visiting Future-ists” — leading innovators from Google, Microsoft and Twitter — with an eye to identifying transdisciplinary research opportunities that may lie ahead.
The faculty panelists were:
- Ben Bederson, Professor, Computer Science, and former director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab;
- Sahar Khamis, Assistant Professor, Communication, and co-author of Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace;
- Paul Jaeger, Assistant Professor, Information Studies, and Co-Director of the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC).
The “Visiting Future-ists” were:
- Dan Russell, Google’s “director of user happiness,” who leads efforts to improve the effectiveness of web searching;
- Mary Czerwinski, who manages the research on human-computer interaction at Microsoft and focuses on information visualization, group awareness and lifelogging;
- Abdur Chowdhury, former chief scientist at Twitter, who has been working toward improving the ability to separate “signal” from “noise” in the explosion of information on the Web.
Sheri Parks, Associate Professor of American Studies, served as the panel’s moderator.
This program was open to University of Maryland faculty, staff and students, who were encouraged to ask questions, offer ideas, and take part in brainstorming around the challenges raised by the panel and the “Visiting Future-ists.”