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Fifth Estate: Can Twitter and YouTube Solve Real Government Problems?

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Thursday, May 06, 2010

Chris Csilkszentmihalti, Director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media; Nigel Jacob, Senior Advisor for Emerging Technology for the City of Boston's Mayor's Office; and Joseph Porcelli, founder of Neighbors for Neighbors, Inc., join moderator Callie Crossley, host of WGBH's *The Callie Crossley Show*, to address the promise--and challenges--of building more transparent, participatory, and effective institutions through the evolving technological tools at our fingertips.

Chris Csikszentmihalyi is the director of MIT's Center for Future Civic Media. He is the founder of two other prominent Washington-based organizations in the field of money and politics -- the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Campaign -- and a nationally recognized expert on transparency and the influence of money in politics. Trained as an artist, Chris Csikszentmihalyi has worked in the intersection of new technologies, media and the arts for 16 years, lecturing, showing new media work and presenting installations on five continents and one subcontinent. Chris is a 2005 Rockefeller New Media Fellow and a 2007-08 fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He taught at the University of California at San Diego, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and at Turku University. Currently, he is the Director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media. Csikszentmihalyi's Computing Culture research group is known for developing political technologies that rebalance power between citizens, corporations and governments. Their efforts include the Afghan Explorer, a tele-operated robot journalist designed to bypass Pentagon and Taliban press censorship, and txtMob, a mobile phone based activist system that enabled highly effective protests at the 2004 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. He is currently working on extrAct, which will bring software-based tools for collective action to communities affected by oil and natural gas drilling.
Nigel Jacob serves as the Co-Chair of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, a new group within City Hall focused on delivering transformative services to Boston's residents. Nigel also serves as Mayor Menino's advisor on emerging technologies. In both of these roles Nigel works to develop new models of innovation for cities in the 21st century. Nigel is a generalist and believes that lessons learned in one discipline can bring new insights to other disciplines. It is from this perspective that Nigel has worked for many years as a software engineer/architect and has made significant contributions to a wide variety of areas including computational linguistics software, library informatics, computer security and computer telephony. Prior to his work with the City of Boston Nigel attended graduate school in computer science at Tufts University.
Joseph Porcelli's personal mission is to connect, support, and inspire people, organizations and governments to realize the difference they can make when they take action, work collaboratively, and leverage social platforms. He spends his time providing online and offline community activation strategy and management to organizations and individuals. Joseph is the Chief Executive Neighbor at NeighborsForNeighbors.org a Boston based 501c3, that operates neighborhood- centric, community-generated social networks powered by Ning. These networks serve a soundboard for voices and springboard for action that connect people who live, work, and serve in the same neighborhood and provide tools for them to communicate and collaborate around their common interests. Joseph also serves as a Guide on Creators.Ning.com , the Ning Network Creators Council, a Mentor for Mayor Menino's OneIn3 Council, and is a Boston World Partnerships Connector.