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“Revealing Errors” / “Why the Soviet Internet Failed” / “Global Voices, One World"

“Revealing Errors” / “Why the Soviet Internet Failed” / “Global Voices, One World"

Tuesday, October 21st, 6 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
Dinner served - RSVP required (

“Revealing Errors” - Benjamin Mako Hill (MIT)

Those talking about free and open source software or digital civil liberties have often struggled to make their case to "normal users” and have, for the most part, failed to do so. Technically skilled people understand the power, importance, and limitations of technology and technological mediation because they understand technology. Most users, meanwhile, don't even realize that many technologies exist at all.  Errors offer an incredible opportunity as points where "invisible" technology is thrust into view of even the least technical user. With a tour of errors, this talk will paint a picture of how certain technologies frame and mediate our experience and interaction. By revealing errors, it will reveal previously invisible technologies and their effects. It will reveal the important power relationships behind technological design decisions by revealing technologies revealed by errors.

“Why the Soviet Internet Failed” - Ben Peters (Yale ISP)

Ben Peters will present preliminary findings of a dissertation chapter examining why the Soviets did not succeed in building an ARPANET-equivalent. In particular, he examines Soviet bureaucratic and social structures as decentralized networks, compares them to conventional critiques of centralized power, and speculates on the chapter's relevance for modern-day practices of power distribution. 

“Global Voices, One World: Towards a Hospitable Public Sphere by Global Citizen Media” – LokmanTsui (Berkman Center)

How does the news shape the way we see the world? And how is global citizen media changing the way news is produced? I address these questions by examining the strategic case study of Global Voices ( to gain a better understanding of the production of news that is more in tune with today's differentiated media ecology while offering media hospitality as a normative theoretical framework that can help us think through the twin challenges of the internet and globalization.

Benjamin Mako Hill  (MIT) is a technologist, programmer and free software and free culture activist.

Ben Peters is a visiting fellow at Yale's ISP and a doctoral candidate in Communications at Columbia University, New York. Ben Peters studies how the concept of information changes over time, technologies, and societies, with special emphasis on Eastern Europe and America.

Lokman Tsui is a student fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation examines institutional changes of journalism, driven by the internet, in a globalized world.

Those attending may request working papers for review and limited circulation from the session organizer, Joris van Hoboken, at jvanhoboken [at] cyber (dot) law (dot) harvard (dot) edu, beginning the week of October 13th.

Download media from this event here.

Past Event
Oct 21, 2008
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM