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The Great Debate: A Connected World is a Better World

Moderated by:
Jim Stogdill (O'Reilly Media, Inc.)
Mona Vernon (Thomson Reuters Labs), Trevor Hughes (International Association of Privacy Professionals), Randy Smerik (Osunatech, Inc.), Lisa Green (Domino Data Lab)
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A few short years ago, the average person was terrified of technology. Today, they’re terrified of being without it. In a 2012 Time Magazine survey, 84 percent of respondents say they couldn’t go a day without their smartphone. As connectivity becomes the norm, machines are helping us in ways the framers of the Internet couldn’t envision—from mapping, to collaboration, to environmental sensing. We have access to the world’s knowledge with just a few words, and our mobile devices act as sensors, hoovering up every aspect of our online and offline lives.

But does this make us a better species? Constitutional protections of privacy and free speech can be circumvented with the Chimeral partnership between private companies—free to collect all our data—and governments, that have the power and latitude to analyze it all. And when we’re always connected, we’re always somewhere else, always interrupted, and seldom in the moment.

The Strata Great Debates return to New York with a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of what are rapidly becoming our prosthetic brains. In a vigorous, often hilarious, Oxford Style debate, two teams try to convince the audience that they’re right. We take score before and after their arguments, and declare a winner. Join us and help us decide whether a connected world is indeed a better one.

Photo of Jim Stogdill

Jim Stogdill

O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Jim Stogdill heads up O’Reilly’s Radar and Strata businesses. A lifelong technology practitioner he’s finding this media thing ridiculously fun. In a previous life he traveled the world with the U.S. Navy. Unfortunately from his vantage point it all looked like the inside of a submarine. He spends his free time hacking silver halides with decidedly low-tech gear. @jstogdill.

Photo of Mona Vernon

Mona Vernon

Thomson Reuters Labs

Mona Vernon is vice president of Thomson Reuters Labs, which partners with customers and third parties, such as startups and academics, on new data-driven innovations. Previously at Thomson Reuters, Mona ran the Emerging Technology group and launched an Open Innovation Challenge program across the enterprise. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, she held product development and management roles in technology startups. Mona is an executive board member of the FinTech Sandbox in Boston, an advisory board member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Big Data Advisory Committee, and winner of the Boston 50 on Fire. Mona holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and an SM in engineering and management from MIT, where her research focused on the role of customer experience in digital business strategy.

Photo of Trevor  Hughes

Trevor Hughes

International Association of Privacy Professionals

J. Trevor Hughes is the President and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). In this role, Hughes leads the world’s largest association of privacy professionals.

Hughes is an experienced attorney in privacy, technology and marketing law. He has provided testimony before the U.S. Congress Commerce Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee, the Federal Trade Commission, the Home Affairs Committee of the British Parliament and the EU Parliament on issues of privacy, surveillance, spam and privacy-sensitive technologies. He is a member of the first class of Certified Information Privacy Professionals (CIPP) and recently completed, with co-author Reed Freeman, Privacy Law in Marketing, published by CCH.

Hughes has previously served as the executive director of the Network Advertising Initiative, a leading online privacy trade association, and the Email Sender and Provider Coalition, a trade association working on e-mail policy and practices. Prior to these roles, Hughes was director of privacy and corporate counsel for Engage, a leading online media and software company. Before that, Hughes worked as corporate counsel for UnumProvident, where he focused on legal issues associated with advertising and online insurance transactions.

Hughes is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law and has lectured on privacy at Harvard, MIT, the London School of Economics, Boston College Law School, Georgetown University and Northeastern University. He is a frequent speaker on privacy issues at conferences around the world. Hughes has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition”, the PBS “Nightly Business Report”, BBC Radio, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, PCWorld, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Business Week.

Hughes also has significant experience as a media official at the 1994 World Cup, 1996 Olympics and the 1999 Women’s World Cup. A native of Canada, Hughes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maine School of Law.

Photo of Randy Smerik

Randy Smerik

Osunatech, Inc.

Randy Smerik is an experienced serial entrepreneur, with over 20 years’ experience in the high technology fields of mobile, networking, database systems, and semi-conductors as well as businesses in the spirits and restaurant markets.

Randy’s background and experience includes: Currently Founder/CEO of Osunatech, Inc. Before Osunatech, Randy was Senior VP/GM of LSI Corp’s Networking business which he led after LSI acquired his company Tarari, Inc. Randy was the Founder and President/CEO of Tarari which focused on software and silicon solutions for deep packet inspection. Before Tarari, Randy was General Manager of Intel’s Network Equipment Division, VP of Product Development/Marketing at iPivot, and AVP running the Teradata Data Warehousing Division. Randy has also held executive and senior leadership positions at BEA Systems, NCR Corporation, and AT&T. In addition to high tech, Randy owns the San Diego-based restaurant, Solare Ristorante, is a partner in the Pizza Patrón chain of restaurants for San Diego County, and is on the Board of Directors for Fortaleza Tequila (Jalisco, Mexico).

A frequent industry speaker in the areas of venture capital and entrepreneurship, Randy is an active angel investor and advisor to a variety of startups, incubators, and investment organizations.

Lisa Green

Domino Data Lab

Lisa is motivated by a strong belief in the power of open systems to drive innovation in education, arts and research. Over the last several years she has been active in the areas of Open Access publishing, Open Science, Open Data, Data for Good, digital rights, and internet policy. Lisa is currently the head of the social impact and public policy initiative, Domino for Good, at Domino Data Lab. Previously, Lisa was Executive Director of Common Crawl and Chief of Staff at Creative Commons. She holds a PhD in physical chemistry from
the University of California Berkeley.


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