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20 Great Talks on the Future of Information


Even if you've grown up in a world where computers and the Internet were around, you likely remember a time when they weren't such a big part of business, personal and educational life. Over the past 20 years, how information is managed and shared has changed completely in the face of new and ever more powerful technologies. Today, students can even earn entire degrees online in any state. These lectures will show young college students like yourselves what changes in information management you can expect for the future — a great way to plan out a career or just to get a peek at what life will be like in the years to come.

Freedom of Information

These lectures address information accessibility issues, especially those involving open media and the web.

  1. Open-source economics: Yochai Benkler: Learn about the impact of technologies like Wikipedia and Linux that allow free exchange of information and how they're affecting the way business is conducted.
  2. Future of the Digital Commons: Music, writing, and images are all up for discussion in this talk on the world of free information on the web.
  3. Brewster Kahle builds a free digital library: This lecture will give you a chance to learn more about Kahle's project to build the largest free digital library ever constructed–provided he isn't blocked in doing so.
  4. Jimmy Wales on the birth of Wikipedia: Hear from the founder of Wikipedia on why the collaborative source of information has been so successful.
  5. Richard Baraniuk on open-source learning: This lecture will let you learn about Connexions, an online learning site that lets students and educators freely share educational information.
  6. The Future of America's Libraries: A library is a great place to find information of all kinds, and in this lecture you'll be able to see how new technologies and the changing needs of patrons will shape the library of the future. The lecture may be of interest to students earning master’s degrees in library science as well.
  7. The Promise of Open Media in Iran: Learn how tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are making it easier for people to share information quickly and accurately over the web, something that becomes especially relevant in tumultuous situations like the recent protests in Iran. This lecture may also be of interest to students pursuing journalism degrees who are interested in international journalism.
  8. Internet Censorship and the Giant Firewall of China: This lecture will ask you to think carefully about what it means that one of the largest economies in the world doesn't have open access to the web–perhaps the greatest repository of information available.

Information Technology

Learn more about the technologies being developed to manage information through these lectures.

  1. Erik Hersman on reporting crisis via texting: The story in this lecture will inspire you as you learn about new technologies that allowed individuals to track and share information about violent uprisings in Kenya.
  2. Information Technology and Intellectual Property: With greater access to information comes more concern about how to control intellectual property, something this lecture addresses head on.
  3. Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos Photosynth: Be dazzled by this video that shows off the Photosyth technology–allowing users to share photos and build an image of just about every place on Earth.
  4. Transformation: From Newspapers to the New Newsmakers: This lecture is actually a discussion between several experts on the disappearance of the newspaper and what new technologies are replacing how we get out daily news and information about the world.
  5. Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology: Here you'll be able to see some amazing new technologies that let people interact with their data in incredibly exciting new ways.
  6. Stunning data visualization in the AlloSphere: Check out this lecture to learn about the AlloSphere technology and the ways it lets researchers approach scientific data in new and possibly very revealing ways.
  7. New Technologies Serving Educational Goals: In this course you'll learn more about how the information on the web and the technologies it uses are being utilized in the classroom.

Information and the Web

Learn what a big role the Internet will play in the future of information sharing, security and management from these talks.

  1. Information Security: Why Cybercriminals are Smiling: Learn why the easy availability of information on the web has a dark side as well in this lecture that addresses the growing problem of cybercrime.
  2. The Past, Present and Future of Google: This lecture will showcase of the best technologies that Google has to offer and explain just how they make it easier to attain the information we need and want.
  3. Tyranny of E-mail: The 4,000 Year Journey to Your Inbox: This lecture takes a different point of view, arguing against the newest technologies like email, instead encouraging individuals to return to older forms of correspondence.
  4. Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web: The inventor of the web himself gives this lecture on where it can be expected to head in the future and how data may be shared and managed using it.
  5. Blogosphere: Who's Talking?: Like it or not, blogs have become a major source of information, news and commentary in everyday life. This lecture talks about the future of this technology and the impact it will have on more traditional sources of information.

February 15th, 2010 written by Site Administrator

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