Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about MIT Media Lab

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • MIT Media Lab: Making Connections

    by Joichi Ito, Andy Bardagjy, Yadid Ayzenberg, Catherine Havasi and Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

    The MIT Media Lab is a place for making connections: connecting peopleand technology, connecting researchers across diverse disciplines, andconnecting the physical and local to the digital and remote. Mostimportantly, though, the Lab is about connecting people to oneanother. Our kickoff panel is centered on what is fresh and exciting at the MediaLab and how the Lab and its projects connect to the world. We’ll tell you what cool stuff is happening under our new director Joi Ito, demo some exciting projects on the boundary between business, open source,and academia, show how we navigate the benefits and challenges along this boundary, introduce you to all the other activities and events we’ll be hosting at SXSW, including our ongoing hacking and demo area,and get you started on the Making Connections Installation, our platform for hooking conference attendees and distant onlookers into our digital-physical games, art, and silliness.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Salon FG, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Investigating Social Mechanisms with Mobile Phones

    by Nadav Aharony

    Imagine an imaging chamber placed around an entire community. What if we could, with permission, record and display nearly every facet of behavior, communication, and social interaction among its members as they live their everyday life? This potential would afford rich insights into humanity - how societies operate, how real world relationships form and change over time, and how behavior and choices spread from one person to another. We could diagnose the health of a community, and of its individuals. We could even measure the effects of feeding this information back to them.

    At the MIT Media Lab, we have built the beginnings of what we call “The Social MRI.” You don’t need a huge chamber – just a bunch of modern smartphones. Using our mobile sensing software, we transformed a residential community into a living laboratory for over 15 months. Many signals were collected from each participant, altogether comprising what is, to date, the richest real-world dataset of its kind. As part of our continuing research, we are developing new tools to realize "the quantified self", and architectures to do all of this from a user centric perspective – where individuals own their data, and privacy is embedded into the framework.

    This talk will highlight surprising results from the study, introduce our open source tools developed for data collection, and discuss how the lessons learned could extend to improve the consumer and business worlds.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • Interface Technology: Gesture Systems and Beyond

    by Alex Olwal, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Brandt Westing, Karla Vega and Henry Holtzman

    In 1963 Douglas Englebart invented the first mouse prototype. Unfortunately for him, the devices took so long to become widely used that he didn’t get the recognition he deserved and received no royalties for his contribution. Can you imagine using a computer without a mouse these days? Well, if you think about it, maybe you can - you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people that use touch-pads on laptops and desktops.

    This is just the beginning of what is possible today. Better yet, the bright future in computer interfaces lies beyond touch; space-based gestures made possible with computer vision is a reality and will be featured in future operating systems. We’re seeing the beginning of this trend with the Microsoft Kinect, but if you think that all that can come from this is dancing in front of your computer to make the mouse cursor move, you might be surprised. This panel session will discuss current technologies in computer interfaces from touch tables to high-resolution visualization environments, and what is possible now in research environments.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Salon H, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • Data Is the New Oil: Wealth and Wars on the Web

    by Michael Fertik, DJ Patil, Owen Tripp and John Clippinger

    Oil has an unnerving ability to blow up the economy, cause wars and disrupt ecosystems. It’s a paramount resource and industry creator, spurring trillion dollar economies mining, refining and managing the asset. In the 21st century, we’re experiencing the dawn of a new fuel, also poised to create opportunity and turmoil: data. Multibillion-dollar industries, from search engines to social networking to online advertising, have been built on the aggregation of personal data, information the World Economic Forum likens to a “new type of raw material … on par with capital and labor.” We’re fighting a war on oil now. Will an entirely different war on data soon break out? We believe so.

    The “Data is Oil” project is the brainchild of two personal data experts, Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com and World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and John Clippinger, Research Scientist at MIT Media Lab. The project’s mission is to encourage mainstream awareness and create a profitable, user-centric ecosystem around the new asset of personal data. This is not just a question of privacy and harm, but an inversion of the web as we know it. Past fortunes were claimed brokering our keystrokes and clicks, but a paradigm shift is eminent. It’s time individuals assert control over their own data. Join Michael Fertik and John Clippinger as they explore the new resource of personal data and the trillion dollar implications for today’s data-dependent world.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 616AB, Hilton Austin Downtown

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Light and the Unexplored Communications Frontier

    by Travis Rich

    Free-space optical communications stand to fundamentally change how humans use wireless networks. Whereas fiber-optic communications enabled the formation of the global network, free-space optical communication will facilitate the explosive growth of local, infrastructure-free networks. Leveraging LED bulbs, displays, phone screens, and other ubiquitous light sources, we can create scalable, local networks. These networks will not be used simply to gain Internet access, but rather, will be used to facilitate communication between humans and devices in an interactive way that cannot be achieved with RF. Light (and thus data) can easily be covered, focused, diffused, and directed - allowing the user a unique level of control regarding where and how data is sent. The shift from RF to optics is not an evolution, but rather a revolution in the way we think about wireless networking and device interaction.

    At 9:45am to 10:00am, Monday 12th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Designing Creative Online Communities for Kids

    by Andrés Monroy-Hernández

    In this presentation I will tell the story of the Scratch Online Community, a website where kids from around the world learn to program, share, and remix their own video games and animations. Today, the community has more than one million members, and two million projects. I will describe the design decisions, experiments, successes, and failures, that went into building and supporting this online community, and present a framework for the design of systems that support social creativity. I will end by connecting this framework to the social components of Kodu, a new programming language for kids. *The Scratch Online Community is a project I created as part of my work at the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Kodu is developed by FUSE Labs at Microsoft Research.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 12th March

    In Classroom 203, AT&T Conference Center

    Coverage audio clip