Cloud Intelligence Symposium

Foto: rubra

Foto: rubra

Sat, 5.9.2009
10:30 AM – 5:50 PM

Brucknerhaus, Mittlerer Saal

Curatorial Statement by the Guest Curators Isaac Mao (CN) & David Sasaki (US)

For 80 days the world will come to Linz. Inspired by Jules Verne’s epic 19th century journey “Around the World in 80 Days”, we too shall take advantage of the latest technologies of our day in order to explore and experience some of the most remote and fascinating locations on our planet; from the ship-wrecking yards of Gadani, Pakistan to the skyscrapers of Dubai to the bustling markets of Bangladesh, and far beyond.  For 80 days, from June 17th until September 4th, digital artists based around the world will take us on a tour of what our world has become. On September 5th, the 81st day of our voyage, we will chart new maps of where our world is heading.

Jules Verne published his novel at the dawn of industrialised globalisation, when the steam engine and the colonial conquests of Europe made it possible for the first time to circumnavigate the planet in relative comfort, and in less than three months. In the 125 years since, the pace of globalisation has accelerated exponentially. Our cars, clothes, computers, and cupboards all depend on vast international networks of manufacturing, finance, and trade.  This flood of globalisation has carried the economic and environmental crises to almost every corner of the world. Are these crises an inevitable part of human nature? Or is it possible to shape a new connected consciousness to tackle global problems collectively and equitably?

Welcome to the cloud. Welcome to new the social ecology of the 21st century. Welcome to mobile banking from a New York taxi cab direct to rural Kenya. Welcome to the wild wondrous web of blogs, podcasts, mailing lists and streaming video from camera phones the size of credit cards. All instant and all the time. The world has changed. We have changed.

Local solutions must be global in scope. How will we avoid the violent wars and genocide that defined the 20th century? How will we stay objective when our local newspapers go bankrupt? Who owns the limitless depth of online information and knowledge and who is granted access to it? The answers to these questions and thousands like them are being discussed this instant, in real time, on social networks, mailing lists, mobile phones and the ever-expanding blogosphere. The bits and bytes that will dictate our future live in the cloud.

As more and more information and individuals filter into our lives, how will we find the time and the capacity to care? Will new connections lead to unthinkable solutions, or is the avalanche of information, conversations and connections leaving us less satisfied? Will subculture and language become more influential than geographic distance in how we shape society? How will we decide our priorities in the 21st century?

We need new a new type of intelligence; new art to imagine possibilities, new science to evaluate solutions, and new technologies to implement them. Commercial globalisation has led to a marketplace of goods and services, while new technologies such as social networking enable people to share ideas and feelings. The next stage of globalisation, cloud intelligence, will empower us to instantly share new solutions and act on them.

We see the explosive growth of digital communities and digital nomads, social networks and social clusters. Hierarchies are flattening. Any idea can be shared quickly and spread through networks of reputation. Communities that were once marginalised and ignored can now take advantage of new tools to make themselves heard. Traditional media have realised that they must adapt to fit in to the new world order.

People are not only reshaping their social identities, but also strengthening the links of knowledge and their existence. In the cloud of connections, we each become social neurons, mimicking the biological human brain but on a giant scale. The collective knowledge is far beyond anything a single search engine could index and archive. Intelligence is spreading everywhere, every minute, and cloud computing can draw new links across new ideas. We think together but remain independent in our identity. If we could foster co-thinking to reach consensus about new solutions, we may be able to find a new direction for the future. Hope can emerge from new collaborative models based on a new paradigm; science and art will act gracefully to match human nature, and to shape the future of humanity.

We are experiencing a new way of travelling around the world, not in 80+1 days, but in 80+1 minutes. Speed matters. Because crises spread quickly, social intelligence must spread quickly as well. Today, every one of us can use different tools to create and share mountains of information. But how can we manage the rhythm of our lives? How can we keep our digital properties safe and long-lasting? How can we define new rules to maximise creativity in our rapid social evolution?

Such challenges remain unsolved, creating space for new ventures and new opportunities. We are just at the beginning.

Welcome to the new social ecology. Welcome to our shared intelligence, networked anxiety, and collective future. Welcome to the cloud.


10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
David Sasaki – Introduction to cloud computing and brief mention of cloud intelligence

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Cloud Intelligence “Those enable us and encourage us”

Stephen Downes – Cloud Intelligence (Encouraging collaboration)
Ethan Zuckerman – Cloud Cartography (Mapping the flow of information and interaction)
Anders Sandberg – Distributed superintelligence

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

2:00 PM – 5:50 PM
Cloud Activism “What should we do”

Isaac Mao – Introduction to cloud activism
Hamid Tehrani – Review of Iran protests
Xiao Qiang – Activism without organization
Evgeny Morozov (Remote) – Activism, not Slacktivism
Kristen Taylor – The social future of food
Teddy Ruge – Diaspora-based development
Pablo Flores – Enabling cloud education
Andrés Monroy-Hernández (Remote)– Cloud programming for children
Juliana Rotich – Cloud environmentalism in Africa

Round table: Q&A with speakers around “constructing alternatives”
Isaac Mao – Looking toward the future


Stephen Downes (CA) works for the National Research Council of Canada where he has served as a Senior Research, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, since 2001. Affiliated with the Learning and Collaborative Technologies Group, Institute for Information Technology, Downes specializes in the fields of online learning, new media, pedagogy and philosophy. Downes is perhaps best known for his daily nesletter, OLDaily. He has published numerous articles both online and in print, including The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), and E-Learning 2.0 (2005).

Pablo Flores (UR/IT). International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, working on a research with DESEM Foundation about projects in 1:1 modality (one computer per child) in Latin America and the Caribbean. Universidad de la República – Proyecto Flor de Ceibo.

Juliana Rotich (KE) is a blogger, digital activist and environment editor of Global Voices Online with particular focus on technology, the environment, renewable energy, and digital expression in Africa and the developing world. Juliana is also the Program Director of, an innovative non-profit web startup that is creating a tool and mashup for mapping crises. Prior to joining global voices online and Ushahidi, Juliana spent several years as an IT professional working in Kansas City as a Database Administrator then later as a Data Analyst at Hewitt Associates, Chicago. She is also a contributing author on where she highlights African ingenuity in everything from children’s toys to wind powered cell phone base stations. Juliana is particularly proud to be one of the TED Fellows and bloggers who covered the first ever African TEDGlobal conference in Arusha June 2007.she holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Information Technology from the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Teddy Ruge (UG) is the co-founder of Project Diaspora – an organisation aimed at connecting the African Diaspora to socially-relevant development projects in Africa. Project Diaspora’s mission is to engage Africa’s 50 million-strong diaspora population and their $40 billion in annual remittances to move Africa from an aid-dependent continent to an investment destination. As a budding social entrepreneur, he’s currently assisting several indigenous farmer organisations in Uganda move from subsistence farming to large-scale commercial farming of aloe vera and moringa. Teddy is also a mobile technology enthusiast and blogs frequently about the African ICT sectors and its effects on development. He has also served on several panel discussions related to Africa, the role of the African diaspora and Africa’s emerging technology space. Teddy is a Ugandan record-holder in the decathlon and pole vault and, formerly, the high jump.

Xiao Qiang (US) is a well-known Chinese human rights activist. He is director of the China Internet Project at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley. Xiao is currently teaching on China and human rights, and researching the convergence of information and communication technologies against the backdrop of China’s social and political sea change. He runs the China Digital Times news portal as part of the China Internet Project.

Ethan Zuckerman (US). Co-founder Global Voices

Anders Sandberg (SE) is a researcher, science debater, futurist, transhumanist, and author. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stockholm University in computational neuroscience, and is currently a James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.

Kristen Taylor (US) is a cook, photographer, videographer, and writer unfolding the connective tissue of local food.

Andres Monroy-Hernandez (US) is a PhD student and Bradesco Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. He is interested in understanding how the Web and mobile technologies can empower people and support collaboration, especially among youth and communities in the developing world. His work currently focuses on the design and analysis of social software. Previously, he worked in the software industry and at the Los Alamos National Lab. He finished a MS in Media Technology at MIT as Samsung Fellow, and a BS in Electronics Engineering at Tec de Monterrey. He likes very spicy food.

8 Responses to “Cloud Intelligence Symposium”

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