The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

  • Engaged Communities

    Building a smarter future for cities

    May 20, 2015, 10:24 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

    Susan Crawford, Co-Director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, during the closing lunch presentation at the Knight Foundation's Media Learning Seminar 2015, held at the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel. Photo by Patrick Farrell. 

    Think of a smart city, only smarter. A city where a deluge of data generated from sensors, smartphones, and economic reporting pulse through fiber-optic cables to open platforms where they can be sliced, diced and displayed publicly.

    Author Susan Crawford calls it “The Responsive City,” in a book by the same name. Such cities, besides being economically agile, help democracy function by making government more transparent and steering citizen debates away from ideology and toward data-centric problem-solving.

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  • Engaged Communities

    Amy Webb's fantastical (or is it crazy?) media future

    May 19, 2015, 10:02 a.m., Posted by Steve Outing

    Digital futurist Amy Webb at the 2015 Media Learning Seminar in Miami. Photo by Patrick Farrell. 

    When digital media futurist Amy Webb gives a presentation on what's about to impact the media world, the audience often is split: Some folks are inspired by the possibilities of technologies disrupting our lives, while others don’t want to bother with them.

    Webb opened her talk Monday at Knight’s Media Learning Seminar acknowledging that common reaction – and proceeded to make her point: She demonstrated Crystal, a new web app that predicts personality traits based on a person’s web footprint. Some in the audience squirmed.

    Perhaps they aren’t for everyone, but then many of Webb's tech trends to watch are already impacting the way we consume information.

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  • Engaged Communities

    Taking institutions digital: lessons from The Met

    May 18, 2015, 5:27 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

    Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the 2015 Media Learning Seminar in Miami. Photo by Patrick Farrell. 

    Metropolitan Museum of Art has a 175-year history, three locations, a storied collection – and now a 70-person digital team thinking of new ways to connect the physical with the virtual.

    In fact, the museum spends “as much time thinking about and appreciating our visitors who come in person as well as those who come online,” Sree Sreenivasan, the museum’s chief digital officer, told the crowd at Monday’s Knight-sponsored Media Learning Seminar. “That’s a huge step for a physical space.”

    In his current job, he focuses on seeking out and shaping the future of culture, which means engaging more people in art online. So far, he joked, his greatest achievement at the museum was creating a hashtag for every exhibit. Why? Because the audience of museum-goers demanded it. Clearly, though the museum is doing much more to experiment with new technologies and digitally push the envelope.

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