This page features 15 years of conversations with leading cyber-scholars, entrepreneurs, activists, and policymakers as they explore topics such as: the factors that influence knowledge creation and dissemination in the digital age; the character of power as the worlds of governance, business, citizenship, and the media meet the Internet; and the opportunities, role, and limitations of new technologies in learning.

Most Berkman events, including conferences, luncheon series talks, and many meetings, are webcast then archived on this website.  Starting in 2015, webcasts are now archived on specific events pages and are no longer listed here.  Please consider this page an incomplete archive, while we transition how we display multimedia on our site. Many of these talks are also available on the Berkman Center's YouTube channel.

Subscribe to our updates!

In iTunes: Radio Berkman, Video, Audio

On Soundcloud: Radio Berkman

RSS: Radio Berkman, Video, Audio

Visit MediaBerkman for more.

berkman interactive

Larisa Mann on Decolonizing Copyright: Jamaican Street Dances and Globally Networked Technology

Jamaican music-making practices present an interesting case study in the relationship between culture, copyright law, technology and power. In this talk Larisa Mann — a DJ, journalist, and student of Berkeley Law School's Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program — shows how the street dance, the explosively creative heart of Jamaican musical practice, suggests several ways that technology can help or hinder people currently excluded from formal systems of power.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 175: Lessig and Zittrain Take On…the Kill Switch

In recent months citizens of the Middle East and North Africa have experienced widespread shutdowns of internet access, coinciding with revolutions to overthrow national leadership. The seeming ease with which the Internet has been silenced in Libya, Egypt, and other countries has raised questions about ethical issues behind an Internet “Kill Switch,” the idea of a single point of access by which any nation’s leadership could shutdown their internet access. In the United States, debate over so-called “Kill Switch” legislation has focused on the free speech aspect. If it were technologically possible to shutdown internet access singlehandedly who is to say that power wouldn’t be exploited as it has been abroad? But on the other side of the coin is the question of cyber security. With so much commerce, communication, and security dependent on a loose and non-standardized network infrastructure, it could actually make sense to have an easy way to quarantine a bug or massive cyber attack. Today, hosts Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain are joined by Andrew McLaughlin — a former Berkman Fellow and White House Deputy Chief Technology Office — and Brett Solomon — Executive Director of Access, a global movement promoting digital freedom. Together with an audience Lessig and Zittrain take on the Kill Switch.

berkman interactive

Sasha Costanza-Chock on Transmedia Mobilization

Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock — Berkman Fellow and Assistant Professor of Civic Media at MIT — introduces the theory of transmedia mobilization and invites us to rethink the relationship between social movements and the media opportunity structure. Based on five years of research within the immigrant rights movement in Los Angeles, the theory of transmedia mobilization involves engaging the social base of the movement in participatory media making practices across multiple platforms. This marks a transition in the role of social movement communicators from one of primarily content creation to aggregation, curation, remix, and recirculation of rich media texts through networked movement formations.

berkman interactive

Siva Vaidhyanathan on The Googlization of Everything

The Internet is not as wild and ungoverned as we might have naively assumed back at its conception. But overall, no single state, firm, or institution in the world has as much power over Web-based activity as Google does. Is Google's dominance the best situation for the future of our information ecosystem?

Siva Vaidhyanathan — professor of media studies at the University of Virginia — discusses key points from his most recent book "The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Be Worried)."

berkman interactive

Eszter Hargittai and Aaron Shaw on The Internet, Young Adults and Political Participation around the 2008 Presidential Elections

How are online and offline political activities linked? Berkman Fellows Eszter Hargittai and Aaron Shaw collected data soon after the 2008 presidential elections on a diverse group of young adults from Obama's home city of Chicago. In this presentation Hargittai and Shaw look at the relationship of online and offline political engagement based on this data, and consider the relative importance of numerous factors in who was more or less likely to vote and engage in other types of political action.

berkman interactive

Dorothea Kleine on ICTs for “Development” and the Lives People Value

Information and Communications Technologies are powerful tools for shaping people’s everyday lives, but understandings of development differ and too often remain implicit and removed from participatory processes involving the intended users.

In this talk Dorothea Kleine — Lecturer in Development Geography at the UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London — explores potential technological and process innovations which could lead to more participatory decision-making on policy and technology design — an area where all countries can be classified as “developing.”

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 174: The Neverending Concert (Rethink Music III)

Musicians are increasingly becoming their own managers, promoters, bookers, and agents. And with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, BandCamp, and dozens of other ways of staying in touch with their audience, the concert never stops. There’s no way to put a dollar value on this engagement, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile. How are artists building an audience, completely outside of their music, simply by opening up online? Nancy Baym — author of the recent book Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Professor of Communications at University of Kansas, and all around music aficionado — joined me this week to talk about how fans are building genuine relationships online and how artists are able to thrive because of them.

berkman interactive

Brian Kernighan on Why (In)numeracy Matters

Technology has buried us in an avalanche of numbers and graphs and charts, many of which claim to present the truth about important issues. At the same time, our personal facility with numbers has diminished, leaving us at the mercy of quantitative reasoning and presentation that is often wrong and sometimes not disinterested.

Brian Kernighan — author, Berkman Fellow, and Computer Science Professor at Princeton — discusses the idea of numeracy: how to assess the numbers we are presented with every day, and how to produce sensible numbers of our own.


berkman interactive

Andy Oram on Making Cloud Computing Truly Free and Open

The various trends known as cloud computing have spawned serious critiques about vendors' reliability, security, privacy, and liability. In this talk, Andy Oram — editor at O'Reilly Media — melds cloud computing with the principles of free and open source software to find solutions or mitigating factors for the concerns about cloud computing, and suggests a comprehensive architectural approach for the cloud.

berkman interactive

Book Talk: Lewis Hyde on Common as Air

Lewis Hyde — Berkman Center Faculty Associate & Professor at Kenyon College — discusses his new book, "Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership." Robert Darnton — Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library at Harvard — responds.

This event was co-hosted with the Humanities Center at Harvard University.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 173: The Portrait of the Self-Published Artist (Rethinking Music II)

Big music publishers may be worried about declining CD sales and the inability of digital purchases to make up the difference. But independent artists have continued to create, innovate, connect with fans, and even make a pretty decent living on their own, without big budget promotions — or even physical copies of their albums in stores. For today’s show we were lucky to be joined by two amazing artists: Amanda Palmer sat down with David Weinberger to talk about her latest self-release, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, and her mission to redefine what success as a musician means. And Donald Glover chatted with us about the wonder of his quintuple threat career — star of NBC’s Community, writer, standup comic, remix artist, and rapper — his most recent release, and how he makes a living making music that is free as in beer, and free as in speech.

berkman interactive

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, & Jillian C. York on Independent Sites and Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an increasingly common Internet phenomenon capable of silencing Internet speech, usually for a brief interval but occasionally for longer.

A recent paper released by the Berkman Center sheds light on DDoS attacks on independent media and human rights organizations, seeking to understand the nature and frequency of these attacks, their efficacy, and the responses available to sites under attack.

Co-authors Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York discuss the recently released report: "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites."

berkman interactive

John Palfrey on The Path of Legal Information

On the occasion of his appointment as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law, John Palfrey delivers a lecture proposing a path toward a new legal information environment that is predominantly digital in nature.

A new, digitally optimized legal information environment can be the key to a world of improvements, but such a revolution in information can also carry risks.

Here, Professor Palfrey discusses the benefits, risks, and obstacles of facing a new system of legal information.

berkman interactive

Tim Wu on the Master Switch

Tim Wu is a policy advocate, a professor at Columbia Law School, and the chairman of media reform organization Free Press. Wu was recognized in 2006 as one of 50 leaders in science and technology by Scientific American magazine, and in 2007 Wu was listed as one of Harvard's 100 most influential graduates by 02138 magazine.

Here he discusses themes and ideas from his most recent book "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires."

berkman interactive

Jim Lucchese on Application Developers and the Future of Music

In a few short years, app developers have already changed music's role in our lives with new solutions for music discovery and recommendation, blog and news aggregators, music games, location-based listening, interactive remix apps, social music sharing, and countless other new music experiences.

However, most music application developers are locked out of the commercial music industry, unable to navigate the licensing maze, or to hire one of a few very well-connected deal makers necessary to launch a licensed service comprised of the same popular music available to larger players.

Jim Lucchese — CEO of Echo Nest and a former music lawyer — discusses the specific needs and vast potential of the growing music app development community, citing examples of new and innovative music applications, illuminating the licensing challenges holding back innovation in music, and offering a new way forward: the use of open developer APIs to forge a stronger digital music industry.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 172: The Evolutionary Biases of the Technium

The idea that technology could want something seems kind of outlandish, almost like science fiction. But journalist Kevin Kelly is proposing a kind of technological self-determination in his new book What Technology Wants. It’s not exactly robots with souls that Kelly is suggesting. It’s more of an evolutionary theory of technological development, the idea that one technology naturally evolves from another. That the mobile phone, for instance, was an inevitable evolution from the telephone, or that the internet we know today was an inevitable next step from the spread of the networked PC. Well, not exactly inevitable. Best listen to David Weinberger’s interview with Kevin Kelly to hear him explain it himself.

berkman interactive

Wayne Marshall on The Unstable Platforms and Uneasy Peers of Brave New World Music

Public culture is being remade in the wake of user-generated content. The ever curious category of "world music" is a case study in how culture has been changed by the proliferation of music and video production software and the connective possibilities of the web. With these innovations, a multinational network of grassroots producers, DJs, and bloggers are able to renegotiate and redefine the term category.

In this talk Wayne Marshall — an ethnomusicologist, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, and DJ — discusses how the bottom-up revision of world music can be seen as a valuable development, though queasy connections with its earlier incarnation, also persist.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 171: Wikileaks and the Information Wars

Our emails have been dinging off the hook here at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, with notes from journalists and concerned citizens trying to make some sense of the story-in-progress that is Wikileaks. So today we pull together some of the brightest minds at the Berkman Center to talk about Wikileaks, with Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig moderating. Zittrain, Lessig, and the Berkman Center Fellows explore many facets surrounding the Wikileaks imbroglio, including the values of transparency and freedom of speech; the legality and ethics of the Wikileaks data dump; the role of the news media; and the involvement of government and private tech organizations to take Wikileaks down. Thanks so much to all the journalists, commenters, and tweeters who sent in their questions. See this link for a full transcript:

berkman interactive

Jon Udell on Rethinking the community calendar: A case study in learning and teaching Fourth R principles

The real challenge of community calendaring isn't technical. It's conceptual. Most people don't know how they could (or why they should) be the authoritative publishers of their own data. This comes from a lack of understanding of some of basic concepts of computing, including:

The pub/sub communication pattern
Indirection ("pass-by-reference" vs "pass-by-value")
Structured versus unstructured data
Data provenance
Service composition

Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, these "Fourth R" principles will empower an informed and engaged 21st-century citizenry. As Jeannette Wing argues in her computational thinking manifesto, computer and information scientists are no longer the only ones who need to understand and apply these principles.

Jon Udell—senior technical evangelist for Microsoft—draws from the experience of developing elmcity—a project for publishing community calendar events in a simple, structured, subscribable format—to explore Fourth R principles, why they're hard for most people to understand, how we can teach them, and why we should.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 170: Zittrain & Lessig Take On…Corruption!!

With the November elections behind us here in the US Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig take on the issue of money in politics, and investigate how campaign contributions sway candidates for office and influence policy. In the face of a campaign finance system struggling to find a more ethical framework, Larry suggests a new basis for citizen funded elections, Democracy Vouchers. Jonathan inquires as to what a Democracy Voucher is and just how the heck such a system would work.

berkman interactive

Mica Pollock on Building OneVille: Understanding and Improving a Communication Ecosystem in Education

In order to support youth in a community, who needs to communicate what information to whom, through which media? Which barriers are in the way of such communication, and how might these barriers be overcome? And what are the devil(s) in the details of just “adding tech”?

In the OneVille Project, students, teachers, parents, mentors, techies, and researchers are co-designing and pilot-testing a toolbox of open source “community communication tools” supporting students individually, across schools, and citywide.

Mica Pollock—an anthropologist of education and Somerville parent—shares her early thoughts on this collective effort to understand and improve a city’s ecosystem of communications.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 169: Wiki’d

Wikipedia is now likely the top return on almost any web search you do. But how did it get to be that way? The collaboratively edited online compendium of human knowledge is at once reviled by highbrow scholars who make strict rules about its use as a cited resource, and at other times lauded as the greatest example of the power of human cooperation and the web. Joseph Reagle has just completed an exhaustive study of the resource entitled Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia. The book sheds light on how tens of thousands of volunteers overcame great obstacles—lack of scholarly experience, and nearly insurmountable differences in viewpoint—to build a culture that, in spite of all reason, works. Joseph, a Berkman Fellow, sat down with David Weinberger to share some key insights from his research.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 168: Rethinking Music, Part I – Creativity, Commerce, and Policy

A lot of e-ink has been spilled about how the Internet has fundamentally altered content industries. TV, film, news, books; all are still experiencing growing pains. But, no other industry has experienced more trauma and volatility than music. One of the first victims of the electronic piracy epidemic, music companies, along with artists and policymakers, have been scrambling to find new solid strategies for success. Meanwhile, innovation has flourished in the form of new means of delivering content, new ways of connecting artists with fans, and evolving models for digital music sales and touring, all of which present countless opportunities and risks. Next spring, the Berklee College of Music and MIDEM, in association with the Berkman Center, are hosting the Rethink Music Conference, bringing together artists, industry representatives, policymakers, educators, and innovators to discuss this very issue: the future of creative works, their distribution, and the laws that regulate them. Berkman and Berklee have also announced a Call for Papers seeking innovative proposals to amend US policy regarding creation and distribution of musical works. And, Berklee and the Harvard Business School are offering a $50,000 award for the best new music business model. We sat down with two people who have been very involved in preparing for the event—Allen Bargfrede, a digital music lawyer and Assistant Professor in the Music Business Department at Berklee, and Chris Bavitz, Assistant Director of the Berkman Center’s Cyberlaw Clinic and Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School—to discuss what the Rethink Music Conference is all about. This is just the first installment in our Rethinking Music podcast series, which will cover the entire spectrum of music and the music industry! Check back, or subscribe, to catch all of our upcoming interviews running through next spring.

berkman interactive

Juliet Schor on Using the Internet to “Save the Planet”

We are witnessing escalating evidence of human destabilization of the climate and biodiversity loss. In the sustainability community, both activists and practitioners are increasingly turning to the internet to foster new lifestyles, consumption patterns and ways of producing. There has been an explosion of web-enabled innovations around consumption sharing and extra-market exchange in order to reduce footprint.

In this talk Juliet Schor—Professor of Sociology at Boston College and author of the new book "Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth"— discusses these innovations, highlighting cutting-edge examples where peer production and open-source practices accelerate the spread of sustainable practices in agriculture, consumption and manufacturing.

berkman interactive

Kim Dulin & David Weinberger on the Meta-Library

As more and more content moves into the cloud libraries are decreasingly the single place to go to find the material you need for your research (except for rare books and special collections). But libraries know a huge amount about their contents. This metadata is becoming even more valuable as research moves online, since now it can be deployed to help scholars and researchers discover, understand, and share what they need to know. The co-directors of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law School—Kim Dulin and David Weinberger—along with members of the Lab will demonstrate their lead project (ShelfLife) and talk about the Lab's proposed multi-library metadata server (LibraryCloud).

berkman interactive

Barbara van Schewick on Internet Architecture and Innovation

Barbara van Schewick—Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, an Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford’s Department of Electrical Engineering and the Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society—discusses her new book, Internet Architecture and Innovation.

This book analyzes how the Internet's internal structure, or architecture, has fostered innovation in the past; why this engine of innovation is under threat; why the "market" alone won't protect Internet innovation; and which features of the Internet's architecture we need to preserve so that the Internet continues to serve as an engine of innovation in the future. Whether you are tired of or confused by the network neutrality debate, or simply wondering what is at stake, van Schewick's talk is refreshing and illuminating.

berkman interactive

Radio Berkman 167: The Ghost of Video Future

The future of video lies within our grasp, people. Powerful new technologies and web services are available that not only make video available anytime, anywhere, but also make sharing and creating easier than ever, all over the world. Think of the smartphone revolution; the explosion in high bandwidth connectivity; and the millions of channels available to make your video available to your friends, or the world. But this future is still elusive at best. Think of remixers sued for using copyrighted content; the fact that most networks in the world are still choked or filtered; and a simple, but threatening lack of media literacy. Today we report back from a conference meant to redefine the future of video for the good. The 2nd Annual Open Video Conference brought together filmmakers, students, thinkers, inventors, hackers, businessfolks, and lawyers for panels, screenings, performances, and exhibits, all focused on the future of video. We talked with Tiffiniy Cheng and Holmes Wilson, co-founders of the Participatory Culture Foundation, about some technologies in the works to make video more accessible. We spoke with keynote presenter Adam Chodikoff, senior producer of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, about the value of the mainstream media. And we put together our own ad hoc panel to help us define what Open Video means and how we can get it.

berkman interactive

Dave Rand on The Online Laboratory: Taking Experimental Social Science onto the Internet

The internet provides an unprecedented opportunity for social scientists to recruit a large pool of subjects quickly, cheaply, and virtually effortlessly. Online labor markets, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), is one place where social scientists can easily find subjects to participate in unique cooperation studies in exchange for cash (where pay depends on choices in the study, rather just a flat rate). These labor markets also facilitate field studies, where 'subjects' are unaware they are in an experiment, but instead think they are just completing normal work tasks.

Dave Rand—a Cooperation Fellow at the Berkman Center, as well as a Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics—describes designing and running experiments using MTurk, some successful experiments, and the lessons learned thus far.

berkman interactive

John Chory on Legal Issues for Startups

Founders of companies often experience early sins of omission or commission which decrease the probability of ultimate success.

John Chory—chair of the WilmerHale Venture Group and a member of the Corporate Practice Group—focuses on the representation of early-stage and venture-backed technology and life sciences companies. In this talk he discusses issues affecting startup companies, and some of the more common mistakes made by startups, many of which are not at all obvious.

berkman interactive

Joseph Reagle on Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s style of collaborative production has been lauded, lambasted, and satirized. Despite unease over its implications for the character (and quality) of knowledge, Wikipedia has brought us closer than ever to a realization of the century-old pursuit of a universal encyclopedia.

Joseph Reagle—a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society—discusses insights from his new book Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, a rich ethnographic portrayal of Wikipedia’s historical roots, collaborative culture, and much debated legacy.