Communications and Society Program

Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology

Managing Digital Assets 

July 7-10, 2014
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado

The Roundtable on Information Technology is a private seminar of 25-30 business executives, government leaders, and visionaries. It examines the implications of emerging information technologies on societies, governments, communities and individuals, and the new leadership roles that are required.

The latest Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology focused on the growth of digital assets due to the rise of new technologies and telecommunications. As more transactions of everyday life migrate to network platforms using digital technologies, the amounts of data being produced are exploding. The dialogue examined the opportunities and risks of digital assets and the impact on policymakers, consumers, and the government. It also explored the strategic and competitive implications of open platforms, the social dynamics of digital assets, and how innovative technologies can stop data fraud.

The Report of the Roundtable, Managing Digital Assets: The Challenge of Creating and Sustaining Intangible Value in a Data-Driven Economy, written by rapporteur David Bollier, is now available on the report website.

 For more information, please contact project manager Rachel Pohl.

  


Past Roundtables:

The Weightless Marketplace

July 15-17, 2013
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado 

The 22nd Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology focused on the changing structure and character of commerce in the digital age.  The dialogue concentrated on the existing state of market payment systems and new, innovative alternatives that are emerging.  It also explored the importance of Big Data in commercial transactions; the rise of "small data" controlled by individuals; the possibilities offered by new currency systems, and the difficulties in developing trustworthy privacy protection systems.

The Report of the Roundtable, The Weightless Marketplace: Coming to Terms with Innovative Payment Systems, Digital Currencies and Online Labor Markets, written by rapporteur David Bollier, is available on the report website.

For more information, please contact project manager Ian Smalley.

 

 


Power-Curve Society

Power-Curve Society: The Future of Innovation, Opportunity and Social Equity in the Emerging Networked Economy

August 1-3, 2012
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado

The 21st Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology took place in Aspen, Colorado in August, 2012. The dialogue focused on the relationship between technological innovation and economic growth, and how rapidly increasing productivity is impacting job retention and creation. It also explored the broader economic and social implications of an economy shaped by new rules, networks and behaviors, particularly focusing on jobs and the emergence of personal data and online identities as a key economic commodity. 


The Report of the Roundtable, POWER-CURVE SOCIETY: The Future of Innovation, Opportunity and Social Equity in the Emerging Networked Economy, written by rapporteur David Bollier, is available here.


The Future of the Internet

August 6-9, 2011
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado

The 20th Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology reflected on the profound technical, economic and geopolitical developments that have occurred since Charlie Firestone and Jerry Murdock first founded the Roundtable in 1991 (the same year the World Wide Web emerged). Looking at the "Future of the Internet," participants discussed the Internet's end-to-end architecture as a platform for innovation and projected the ways it would dramatically change people's lives over the next 20 years. In addition to economic and business disruptions, greater volatility, and security and privacy challenges, the dialogue explored how the new global common medium will continue to expand global markets and empower people fighting for freedom. Participants included Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Tunisian anti-censorship activist and blogger Sami Ben Gharbia, Microsoft visionary Craig Mundie, Aspen trustee and McKinsey Global Institute co-director James Manyika, Nobel physicist Murray Gell-Mann, and Egyptian human rights activist and blogger Wael Abbas, among others.


The Future of Work
August 3-6, 2010
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado

The Future of Work New digital technologies and trends are challenging conventional notions of how work and institutions are organized. As the velocity of change increases, institutions and individuals must adapt. Yet various structures, including those in education, government, business and the economy, often remain rooted in the past. The Nineteenth Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology explored the ways that 21st century realities of distributed knowledge, crowdsourcing, open platforms and networking are confronting global work, business and governance structures. The report of the Roundtable, written by David Bollier, shares the insights from the roundtable and presents participants' solutions proposed for a future world of work. Download The Future of Work by David Bollier.

 


The Promise and Peril of Big Data
August 4-7, 2009
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado

 The Promise and Peril of Big DataEver-rising floods of data are being generated by mobile networking, cloud computing and other new technologies. At the same time, continued innovations use advanced correlation techniques to analyze them, and the process and payoff can be both encouraging and alarming. The Eighteenth Annual Roundtable on Information Technology sought to understand the implications of the emergence of "Big Data" and new techniques of inferential analysis. Roundtable participants explored ways these inferential technologies and massive swaths of data can positively affect medicine, business and government. They concluded with an analysis of the financial sector, and how massive transparency, common reporting languages, and open source analytics might greatly relieve the problems of systemic risk. The group endorsed the idea of a new 'National Institute of Finance' to serve as a strong analytical resource for the various government agencies concerned with financial regulation. Download The Promise and Peril of Big Data by David Bollier.


Identity in the Age of Cloud Computing: The next-generation Internet's impact on business, governance and social-interaction
July 29-August 1, 2008
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen Colorado

The Seventeenth Annual Roundtable on Information Technology brought together 28 leaders and experts from the ICT, financial, government, academic, and public policy sectors to better understand the implications of cloud computing and, where appropriate, to suggest policies for the betterment of society. Participants discussed the migration of information, software and identity into the Cloud and explored the transformative possibilities of this new computing paradigm for culture, business and personal interaction. The report of the Roundtable, written by J.D. Lasica, offers insights from the roundtable and includes a set of policy recommendations and advice for the new presidential administration.  Download Identity in the Age of Cloud Computing: The next-generation Internet's impact on business, governance and social-interaction by J.D. Lasica.


The Rise of Collective Intelligence: Decentralized Co-creation of Value
July 31-August 3, 2007
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen Colorado

The Sixteenth Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology convened 27 leaders to analyze the current and future social and economic impacts the co-creation of knowledge across networks made possible with new communications and information technologies. While collaborative engagement encourages increased productivity and creativity it can also lead to mass chaos from the co-creation process. The roundtable participants discussed what separates successes from failures in the new collaborative era by reviewing business and organizational models and the implications of new models.  The 2007 convening committee, comprised of John Seely Brown, Bill Coleman of Cassatt, James Manyika of McKinsey, Shona Brown of Google, Aedhmar Hynes of Text100 and roundtable co-founder Jerry Murdock. Download The Rise of Collective Intelligence: Decentralized Co-creation of Value as a New Paradigm of Commerce and Culture by David Bollier.


The Mobile Generation
August 1-4, 2006
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen Colorado

The 2006 Roundtable examined the profound changes ahead as a result of the convergence of wireless technologies and the Internet.  The Roundtable addressed the technological and behavioral changes already taking place in the United States and other parts of the world as a result of widespread and innovative uses of wireless devices, the trends in these behaviors especially with the younger generation, and what this could mean for life values in the coming decade.  The Roundtable tackled new economic and business models for communications entities, social and political ramifications, and the implications for leaders in all parts of the world. The 2006 Roundtable included 28 leaders from the fields of government, business, finance, academia and media. Download The Mobile Generation: Global Transformations at the Cellular Level by J.D. Lasica.


When Push Turns To Pull:  The New Economy and Culture of Networking Technology
August 2-5, 2005
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen Colorado

"When Push Comes to Pull: The Technology-Enabled Society" focused on how advances in information and communications technologies have resulted in a movement from the push approach to a new “pull” economy.  That is, communications and activities have moved from a hierarchical center-out structure to a network-based decentralized architecture where the focus is on the end user rather than the producer.  Roundtable participants discussed key components, descriptors, and drivers of change of this “pull” model, and its profound impact on various aspects our lives, including commerce, education, governance, and community life.  Download When Push Comes to Pull: The New Economy and Culture of Networking Technology by David Bollier.


Information Technology and the New Global Economy: Tensions, Opportunities, and the Role of Public Policy
August 4-7, 2004
Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen Colorado

Globalization has increased for centuries with the constant improvement of transportation and communications technologies. Now, with data serving as a basic resource, and digital communications the means of transport, financial capital is moving throughout the world nearly at the speed of light. And, for the first time, work is moving to the worker at the same velocity, reshaping the landscape of the world economy in its wake. Information and digital technologies that initially cost much with little direct return are now showing tremendous dividends in terms of productivity, whether in a developing country or large industrial firm. The digital economy is finally coming to fruition.

The 2004 Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology gained better insights on the issues arising from the new economic phenomena. In particular, the roundtable looked at understanding their impact on national economies, corporate decision-making, and the role of leadership. Download Information Technology and the New Global Economy: Tensions, Opportunities, and the Role of Public Policy by David Bollier.


People/Networks/Power: Communications Technologies and the New International Politics
July 30-August 2, 2003
Aspen Meadows, Aspen, Colorado

The twelfth annual meeting of the roundtable examined the ways national governments, social networks, non-governmental organizations and business use information technology to appeal to their publics. Following up on the prior year's discussion on the rise of Netpolitik, the effect of the internet on politics and diplomacy,  the 2003 roundtable focused on the impact of information technology on public diplomacy.  Participants brought their expertise in a variety of fields to the table to discuss the critical nature of developing effective communications strategies and using the appropriate delivery vehicles in this new world of formal, informal and public diplomacy in world affairs. Download People/Networks/Power: Communications Technologies and the New International Politics by David Bollier.


The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy
August 1-4, 2002
Aspen Meadows, Aspen Colorado

This meeting of the roundtable aimed to address ways that the flow or control of information can impact the development of political events around the world, to derive models for understanding this impact, and to suggest policies or strategies that can foster desirable goals for world peace, security and freedom. The roundtable began with a discussion on the nature of information and understanding and the issues of authenticity, security, privacy and the utility of information. Participants then considered the flow and networking of information, particularly in the global context. The discussion moved to examine specific instances where control over information, or the lack thereof, impacts world political affairs, whether information will flow despite all efforts of governments to stop it, and what the nature of the flow of information, and the network structure, does to diplomacy-formal, informal and public. Download The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy by David Bollier.


The Internet Time Lag: Anticipating the Long-Term Consequences of the Information Revolution
August 2-5, 2001
The Aspen Meadows, Aspen Colorado

One the occasion of its tenth anniversary, the roundtable addressed the historical interaction between information and networking technologies, on the one hand, and growth and productivity throughout the global economy, on the other. It took a long-term view of the economy, both macro and micro, particularly in light of the high volatility in the past few years in this sector. After addressing the lessons of prior disruptive technologies, and their impact on the economy and society, Roundtable participants focused on the impact of information and networking technologies on older economy brick and mortar businesses, business cycles involving old and new economy entities, and socio-cultural phenomena. Finally, the conference looked at governmental inputs and responses in the information and network areas, and their potential impacts on the economy of the future. Download The Internet Time Lag: Anticipating the Long Term Consequences of the Information Revolution by Evan I. Schwartz.


The Relationship Beyond the Transaction: E-Commerce and Community in the New Economy
August 9-12, 2000
The Aspen Meadows, Aspen Colorado

The new economy is filled with analogies to the old. Often we put an "e" in front of something to symbolize that it is the electronic analogue of the old: e-business, e-government, e-money. But the more experience we have with the networked society, the more we realize that there are surprising new relationships arising -- entirely new models of business, commerce, and community flowing from these activities going online. The Ninth Annual Roundtable on Information Technology examined the emergence of the new models of transactions, at both the business and social levels. It then addressed the implications of these new models on economic relationships, communities, and social policies. The report Uncharted Territory: New Frontiers of Digital Innovation is available in the bookstore.


Ecologies of Innovation: The Role of Information and Communications Technologies
August 12-15, 1999
The Aspen Meadows, Aspen, Colorado

The 1999 Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology examined how innovation differs from change, what environments foster or impede it, and what are the effects on innovation from developments in communication of technology. The conference report Ecologies of Innovation: The Role of Information and Communications Technologies offers the insights of key thinkers and industry leaders in information technology as to why innovation is not just a one time change or invention, but is more like an ecology - dynamic and with the ability to change its own environment.


The Global Wave of Entrepreneurialism
August 20-22, 1998
The Aspen Meadows, Aspen, Colorado

In August 1998, the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program convened the Seventh Annual Roundtable on Information Technology in Aspen, Colorado. The roundtable explored the relationship between global digital technologies and the resurgence of entrepreneurialism. The group examined the extent to which information and communications technologies might explain the resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit, the impact that entrepreneurialism has on the engines of the information age, and most importantly, how the two forces together might be reshaping and redefining our core values in profound and interesting ways.

The full text of the 1998 report, "The Global Wave of Entrepreneurialism: Harnessing the Synergies of Personal Initiative, Digital Technologies and Global Commerce," is now available online in PDF format.


The Globalization of Electronic Commerce
August 21-23, 1997
The Aspen Meadows, Aspen, Colorado

Global communications systems, digitization, and electronic commerce are combining to change the way people throughout the world will construct businesses and transact commerce.  The Roundtable examined, from a broad perspective, the implications of these developments on global commerce, economies, and currencies; their threats to nation-states; their impact on societies, communities, and individuals; and the new roles for business and governmental leaders in addressing these developments.

See The Globalization of Electronic Commerce for a full report.

Aspen Meadows Conference Center, Aspen, Colorado