what="official Computers and Society announcement by Evan Korth"
hour="class meets at 3:30 pm"
edits="pdf attachment removed">

Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 00:32:35 -0500 (EST)
From: Evan Korth
To: Computers_and_society_announcements@cs.nyu.edu,ACM chapter ,women-in-computing ,discuss@isoc-ny.org,colloq@cs.nyu.edu
Subject: [Computers_and_society_announcements] Douglas Rushkoff, Wednesday, November 5th, 3:30

The next Computers and Society talk is on Wednesday, November 5th from
3:30-4:30 in room 109 Warren Weaver Hall (251 Mercer). It will feature
author, thinker and professor Douglas Rushkoff. His talk is entitled,
"Open Source Democracy." A flyer is attached.

Following is the foreword, by Douglas Alexander, to his paper on the same
topic:

The internet has become an integral part of our lives because it is
interactive. That means people are senders of information, rather than
simply passive receivers of 'old' media. Most importantly of all, we can
talk to each other without gatekeepers or editors. This offers exciting
possibilities for new social networks, which are enabled - but not
determined - by digital technology.

In the software industry, the open source movement emphasises collective
cooperation over private ownership. This radical idea may provide the
biggest challenge to the dominance of Microsoft. Open source enthusiasts
have found a more efficient way of working by pooling their knowledge to
encourage innovation.

All this is happening at a time when participation in mainstream
electoral politics is declining in many Western countries, including the
US and Britain. Our democracies are increasingly resembling old media,
with fewer real opportunities for interaction.

What, asks Douglas Rushkoff in this original essay for Demos, would happen
if the 'source code' of our democratic systems was opened up to the
people they are meant to serve? 'An open source model for participatory,
bottom-up and emergent policy will force us to confront the issues of our
time,' he answers.

That's a profound thought at a time when governments are recognising the
limits of centralised political institutions. The open source community
recognises that solutions to problems emerge from the interaction and
participation of lots of people, not by central planning.

Rushkoff challenges us all to participate in the redesign of political
institutions in a way which enables new solutions to social problems to
emerge as the result of millions interactions. In this way, online
communication may indeed be able to change offline politics.

e.