Friday, November 11, 2011

GHC: Friday Keynote

This morning's keynote: The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The first African American to get a PhD from MIT and the first African American woman to head up a national university, among many other firsts.

Dr. Jackson joked that it's often easier to get two computer scientists to communicate, even from across the world, then it is to get a CS person to communicate with sales person in the same room. :-)

She notes, more seriously, how important science is to communicating on a global perspective. It's a way to grow, think, interact and imagine. The digital world has shrunk the world, allowing people from radically different cultures and disciplines to work together.

Overcoming communication barriers is so important for helping to bring solutions to the international marketplace. Realize that some women may see three different colours: azure, teal, aquamarine... a man may just see green. Choose your words carefully and respect those you're talking to. Listen and be prepared to short out conflicts.

Another barrier to communication is cognitive biases. To best be able to collaborate, we need to go in with trust and assume that the others at the table are also honest and looking for sincere collaboration.

As technologists, we need to learn how to take data and show it in a way that can touch the general public - humanize it.

Expand this idea to social cognitive networks. There is so much here that can still be explored, how can we apply this? Will it allow us to make wiser choices? Communicate with others better? Or perhaps just be really cool :)

When we start to add sentience to the network, we're again back to trust. Having trust is easy, validating that your trust is well placed is hard.

This post syndicated from Thoughts on security, beer, theater and biking!