Dr. Francine Berman: How can we tame the IoT to promote the public good?


Monday, October 22, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Maxwell Dworkin 119

How can we tame the IoT to promote the public good?


Dr. Francine Berman
Chair, Research Data Alliance / US
Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Faculty Associate, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
Harvard Data Science Initiative Fellow


The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is of a deeply interconnected environment of devices, systems, technologies and data that share data, work together to make decisions, and are used to make the world safer, more efficient, more customized and more empowering. At the same time, the IoT is bringing new opportunities to disrupt, bias, exploit and intrude. How can we tame the “wild west” of the IoT? Good approaches will involve not just better technology but development of an overarching social, policy and regulatory ecosystem that coordinates technological innovation, social and environmental impacts, and individual rights and protections. This talk will explore areas of focus that can help us develop a more beneficial IoT and tame it to promote the public good.


Dr. Francine Berman is the Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former head of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. In 2009, Dr. Berman was the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for “influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure”. In 2015, Dr. Berman was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a member of the National Council on the Humanities. Berman is a founder of the international Research Data Alliance, a community-driven organization with over 7000 members from 135+ countries created to build and deploy infrastructure to support research data sharing worldwide. She also serves as a member of the Sloan Foundation Board of Trustees, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and as a member of the National Science Foundation Computer and Information Science and Engineering Advisory Committee.


Berman is former co-Chair of the National Academies Board on Research Data and Information and of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. She has been recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Digital Preservation Pioneer”, as one of the top women in technology by BusinessWeek and Newsweek, and as one of the top technologists by IEEE Spectrum.