162 Items

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

Combat Neurodegenerative Diseases Crisis with Technology and Public Policy

| Nov. 21, 2022

Neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS represent a global health crisis affecting more than nine million people in the United States alone. NDDs are caused by progressive loss of central nervous system neurons - currently, there is no cure to reverse this loss. The only approved therapies are palliative or mildly reduce some symptoms. In this blog, the author introduces ways technology and public policy can improve the drug discover process to "cure the uncureable" - setting the stage for his larger research project this academic year.

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

Event Recap: Building in Web3

| Nov. 16, 2022

On October 20th, the Technology and Public Purpose Project's fellows Sarah Hubbard and Helena Rong hosted Mary-Catherine (MC) Lader of Uniswap Labs, Joshua Tan of Metagov, and Scott Fitzsimons of CityDAO to join them in conversation about Building in Web3 as the first panel in a three-part Perspectives in Web3 Virtual Series. This blog serves as an event recap and outlines some key takeaways from the event.

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Remembering Ash Carter

Nov. 02, 2022

Ash Carter, Director of the Belfer Center, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, died suddenly on October 24, 2022. The Belfer Center community is deeply saddened by his loss. 

On these pages, members of the Center and broader Harvard community, government officials, and many others share their thoughts and stories of Ash Carter's impact on them, the nation, and the world. 

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

The Future of Urban Development: Applying Blockchain for Civic Participation

| Oct. 21, 2022

"One way to restore trust [in institutions like local government] is to empower citizens to play a greater role in shaping their cities through more direct participation in local city development and policymaking, as this would allow cities to better reflect the needs of their residents."

Throughout this blog, Technology and Public Purpose Fellow Helena Rong introduces the concept of participatory urban development and planning as an interesting model for democratic processes; highlights how DLTs such as blockchain and its associated concepts of "tokenization" could potentially contribute to building digital tools that elevate fundamental principles of democracy, such as public participation and ownership; and finally, outlines the goals and objectives of her fellowship project that will aim to dive into some of the key questions stated above.

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

Beyond the Buzzwords: Web3, DAOs, and the Future of Human Coordination

| Oct. 04, 2022

While the buzzwords and acronyms related to web3 have received a lot of attention and hype, in this piece, we look at what they really mean and why they matter. We start with a macro-lens on the societal trends that have contributed to the growth in this space, dive into “web3” and decentralized autonomous organizations, or "DAOs," and identify a few areas for further research.  

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Primer: Social Media Recommendation Algorithms

| Fall 2022

The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok is increasingly widespread, currently amounting to billions of users worldwide. Social media companies deploy proprietary recommendation algorithms to automate the selection, ranking, and presentation of content on the platform’s “feed” or recommended content section, every time a user opens or refreshes the site or app. However, social media recommendation algorithms have a range of privacy, security, information quality, and psychological concerns for users. 

A successful approach to the regulation of social media recommendation algorithms will require a combination of government regulation, self governance, and external oversight to facilitate value alignment across these diverse actors and tackle the various challenges associated with this technology. This publication explores the technical components of social media recommendation systems, as well as their public purpose considerations. 

Report

Towards Urban Data Commons? On The Origins And Significance Of Platform Data Sharing Mandates

    Author:
  • Stephen Larrick
| May 19, 2022

Since the launch of sharing economy platforms like Airbnb and Uber, various city stakeholders—government officials, advocates, academics, and the private sector—have extolled the public potential of sharing economy data. Cities have discussed data’s value particularly in regulatory, evaluative, and policy contexts. Despite this, prior to 2018, only a handful of local government agencies had enacted policies requiring such platforms to share operational data with municipal officials. The emergence of micromobility in recent years has led to a potential sea change, with cities increasingly utilizing policy mechanisms to require data as a precondition for certain kinds of urban platforms to operate in their jurisdictions.  

Existing scholarship on platform urbanism has established the significance of digitally networked “platform” business models to cities, explored the impact and implications of platform technology deployments in urban space, and documented the centrality of data—both in the operations and governance of 21st century cities and in the production of urban platform power. This report builds on previous work by (1) calling attention to platform urbanism data sharing (PUDS) mandates as representative of a novel type of local government policy and (2) by offering a new theoretical account of its origins and ascendant significance. 

Report

The Economic Consequences and Generational Impact of the Digital Divide

    Author:
  • Francella Ochillo
| May 17, 2022

This research was designed to explore three primary questions. First, is there a predominant race and socioeconomic class of the populations most frequently impacted by the digital divide? Second, does the digital divide impose a collective cost that is shared with digitally disadvantaged and connected households? Third, should investing in digital equity be a national priority? The analysis documents why the answer to all three of those questions is a resounding yes.

News

TAPP Fellowship 2021-2022 Report Round Up

    Authors:
  • Afsaneh Rigot
  • Aviv Ovadya
  • Francella Ochillo
  • Leisel Bogan
  • Livio Valenti
  • Stephen Larrick
| May 17, 2022

The  Technology and Public Purpose Fellows  hosted by the Belfer Center’s Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) is a showcase of the TAPP fellowship cohort’s research projects. TAPP Fellows are government, industry, and civil society practitioners that conduct field-based research on issues relating to technology and public purpose over the course of one academic year.