Connect the social concerns, legal landscape, and technical aspects of transformative technologies
In academia, it is often easy to get lost daydreaming about abstract theories or caught up in the inner workers of some protocol or gadget. We want to step back and understand the larger context within which much of our research is taking place. How does technology get incorporated into people's everyday lives? What concerns are being raised about the technologies in question? Are there actions that can be taken to address these concerns?
Dialogue between disciplines
We want to establish common vocabulary between groups with different expertise. Disciplines bring different frames of reference on the problems that we all confront--whether it's technical perspectives from CS or legal expertise from students of the law or a rich understanding of social forces from sociologists and communications discipline. Addressing the many possibilities and problems that face our information-intensive society require dialogue across these boundaries.
Dialogue with the public
It is easy for us to debate sociotechnical issues to our heart's content, but it won't have much impact unless we try to make connections with the public at large. A better informed public can make better decisions about its (and our) future. A great way to join our debate is to participate in our seminar.