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“The Innovators” and Rethinking Privacy

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By: David A. Hoffman



On October 8th, I had the great honor to interview Walter Isaacson at an event titled The Data Opportunity: Rethinking Privacy to Spur Innovation. The event focused on demonstrating that we can have privacy AND progress when it comes to the innovative use of data. Walter’s exceptional new book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution should be required reading for every high school student who wants a blueprint for changing the world. The book offers many lessons from the history of technology on how we should protect privacy as computing continues to evolve.  Advanced data analytics is one way computing is evolving right now.

Preceding Mr. Isaascson on the agenda, Intel’s Malcolm Harkins gave a keynote on the future of technology and the implications for privacy and security. I then moderated a panel discussion of privacy experts including Danny Weitzner (TrustLayers and MIT), Rob Gratchner (Siemens), Scott Shipman (Sensity), and Shane Green (Personal) where we discussed how privacy programs and technology can provide robust protection in big data environments. After the panel, Nathalie Holmes (Privacy Analytics), David Liu (Knewton) and Kurt Buecheler (Streetline) delivered talks about the use of data for healthcare, education and smart cities.

The interview with Walter Isaacson capped a fantastic day. The Innovators is a compelling chronicle of creativity and its impact. In the same way the book shows the personal computer and networking starting the internet revolution, it also explores the parallel of the need for both individual creativity and collaboration to create the new innovations that will solve the world’s largest problems. Providing room for individual creativity (I call that the Freedom to Learn) and boundary conditions that foster collaboration (legislation) are necessary to solve those problems.   Rethinking Privacy is Intel's effort to explain how we can accomplish those goals.  If you are interested in technology and its implications for our lives, The Innovators should be the next book you read.

The video from the event can be viewed here.