Author, law professor and former Director of the White House Open Government Initiative Beth Noveck spoke for Long Now in March 02010. We post audio of a Seminar About Long-term Thinking from our archives each Friday.
Ahead of Mariana Mazzucato’s 02014 Long Now Seminar next week (The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Private vs. Public Sector Myths on Monday, March 24), we look back at this talk which also touched on themes of technology, innovation and government.
Beth Noveck discussed her work at the U.S. Open Government Initiative bringing new transparency and availability of government data, as well as helping institutions better engage in social, networked world of today. She characterized this as creating “institutions of collaborative democracy.” In an exhilarating and fast-paced presentation she references Alexis de Tocqueville, Danny Hillis, Hannah Arendt, and E.O. Wilson amongst others.
From Stewart Brand’s summary of this Seminar (in full here):
Noveck said the government is replacing its reflex “there’s a form for that” habits with “there’s an app for that,” and a panoply of cloud-based apps, including 165 social media platforms, are on offer at Apps.gov. Just within the Department of Defense, the entire department has adopted (Long Now co-founder) Danny Hillis’s Aristotle software to link all military expertise; the Army field manuals are being wikified—collaboratively updated by soldiers in the field; and troops are encouraged to learn and use social media.
There are shoutouts to the Sunlight Foundation, Stamen Design, govpulse, and other current innovators (some of whom were in the audience) who are utilizing and mashing-up newly available government data for the common good. Her talk is full of concrete examples of practice, contemporary and historical, that exemplifies the ideas she puts forward. Having written her book Wiki Government as an outsider prior to joining the Government, she acknowledges the daunting task of then working from inside it to respond to her own critiques.
Beth Noveck is director of the thegovlab.org. A lawyer and law professor, she currently teaches at NYU and the MIT Media Lab, and is author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful . Her next book The Networked State will appear from Harvard.
The Seminars About Long-term Thinking began in 02003 and are presented each month live in San Francisco (also available as a podcast). The series is curated and hosted by Long Now’s President Stewart Brand.
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