2010 conferences
Shifts Happen


Matters of Scale
The Power of Peer
NextGens Technologies
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The Power of Peer
October 5–6, 2010
Vancouver, Canada

conference mp3 icon download (MP3)

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

by Clay Shirky

The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can
Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done
by Peter Miller

field trip
October 7, 2010


overview agenda

Topics include:
• Organizational architectures
• Networked networks
• Identity and trust
• Peer and the cloud
• Loss of control vs. resiliency
• Open-source processes and management
• Expertise vs. amateur culture
• Serendipity vs. groupthink
• Peer production and content

conference overview
Thanks to the Internet, we’ve been able to increase the number of people, and peers, in our immediate circle with whom we can collaborate and do business. What new technologies and platforms will help us tap into this power of peer? Will the new peer culture truly work in the long run, or is “peer” a transition to another model of cooperation and partnership? Is there an upper limit to the number of people who can be involved in successful collective activities?

Does an overabundance of connections reduce diversity and keep radical ideas from taking hold? Can high-tech crowdsourcing, in which human-curated and algorithmically filtered content are combined, provide us with relief from cognitive overload?

We are beginning to see a more nuanced story behind the startling success of large-scale networks of people connected through the Internet. We’ve seen activities that use these interactions coordinated with scalable network platforms. What are the lessons to be learned from these interactions?

Systems benefit by engaging users in their creation, adding feedback and self-correction. However, systems are often more structured than a simple mass of individuals. Is collaboration giving way to richer interactions within systems? We tend to institutionalize pure peer models and move toward hierarchical structures, so can we expect to see hybrid models on the horizon? Are we productively moving beyond the individual to the power of teams, and even collections of teams?

Crowds can reinforce stability and create resilient, predictable systems, but they can also end up at cross purposes. Are crowds trustworthy, or do they bring us groupthink? Will we make machines our peers and partners, or will we allow them to become peers only to each other? For projects spanning organizational boundaries, identity—especially relationship-based and trust-based identity—will underpin how people understand and represent their roles and responsibilities to the group.

Open-innovation models often work effectively when designed for a particular task; they become a mix of ideas flowing from a decentralized crowd, while a core group of peers makes the final decisions. Online businesses have been built around social networks, in which users and manufacturers collaborate with one another. We’ll peer into the future for answers.

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Partial list of speakers

Mr. Brian Behlendorf, Founding Member, Apache Software Foundation
Ms. Susan Bonds, President and Chief Executive Officer, 42 Entertainment
Ms. Lili Cheng, General Manager, Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs, Microsoft
Dr. Riley Crane, Postdoctoral Fellow, Human Dynamics Group, MIT Media Lab
Dr. Donna Cuomo, Chief Information Architect, Center for Information and Technology, MITRE
Mr. Stephen Downes, Senior Researcher, National Research Council of Canada
Dr. David Fetherstonhaugh, Behavioral Economist, IDEO
Dr. Fernando Flores, President, National Innovation Council for Competitiveness, Government of Chile
Dr. Laura Forlano, Postdoctoral Associate, Human Computer Interaction Lab, Cornell University
Dr. John Kelly, Founder and Lead Scientist, Morningside Analytics
Ms. Erin McKean, CEO, Wordnik
Mr. Craig Newmark, Founder, craigslist
Dr. M. Jordan Raddick, Education Director, Institute for Data-Intensive Engineering and Science,
Johns Hopkins University
Mr. Ted Rybeck, Chairman and CEO, Benchmarking Partners
Dr. Anthony Shelton, Director, UBC Museum of Anthropology
Mr. Chris Wanstrath, Co-Founder, GitHub

Conference Hotel

The Fairmont Waterfront
900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3L5, Canada

Hotel Website:


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