Special Event: Radical Transparency and Social Networking

April 23, 2009
3:30 pmto5:30 pm

Radical Transparency and Social Networking: Saving the Planet with IT

Daniel Goleman and Clay Shirky in conversation

Can information technology save the planet? Daniel Goleman argues it can. The environmental crises we face today – destruction of rain forests, global warming, toxic chemicals in our air and water – are to a large extent the byproducts of industry and commerce supplying us with the stuff we buy. We are the engine driving this destruction. But we have not had a way to connect the things we own with their ecological harm.
But now new methodologies render precise metrics for the myriad impacts on the environment, our health, and the people who make our stuff during the entire life cycle of any man made item.  For the first time, software is making that information available to us all as we stroll the aisles of a store. This radical transparency could create a shift in market share that favors more ecologically beneficial, safer, and more humane products. Companies will then see innovations that improve ecological impacts as a crucial competitive arena.  The big question: how can social networking applications amplify the power of this information revolution?

Daniel Goleman is the author of “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything.” Clay Shirky teaches social media at ITP, and is the author of the recent “Here Comes Everybody.”

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
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