Virtual Merit Member Conference 2020 Registration Now Open! Only $15 per Member!

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MERIT MEMBER CONFERENCE 2020 & BROADBAND SUMMIT ARE VIRTUAL THIS YEAR!

What is the value of information without intelligent action? With nearly unlimited access to data and analytics, a strong statewide ecosystem of like-minded organizations, an abundance of free and low-cost base security tools and a growing awareness of connectivity challenges – what comes next?

In the current dynamic work environment, we need to explore adaptability and new planning methodologies that can withstand our ever-changing business landscape. MMC 2020 peers into conceptual and practical approaches to move our organizations from the current equilibrium, into the next generation and beyond.

DATES: Monday, November 9th – Friday, November 13th

LOCATION: This is an online event. Instructions on how to access the virtual platform will be shared with registrants prior to the event.

Submit a Merit Member Award nomination, and if chosen receive free (refunded) registration for you and nominee.

Time
Title
Presenter
Monday - November 9, 2020
8:30-9:00 A.M.
Opening Remarks & Monday Introduction
Joe Sawasky

President & CEO, Merit Network

Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network

9:00-9:45 A.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: Connectivity in The Times of COVID-19: Indian Country’s Efforts to Get Online
Matthew Rantanen

Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairman's Association, Partnering and Business Development, Arcadian Infracom

Read Abstract

What has changed on the broadband front in Indian Country...wait...has anything changed?

In this session, keynote speaker Matthew Rantanen will discuss the extensive but surmountable challenges faced by those seeking to connect the unconnected in the Western U.S. and beyond. From his many struggles and successes, Matthew has gained experiences that can serve as a blueprint for others within the broadband ecosystem looking to define their path forward.

10:00-10:45 A.M.
Implementing a Password Manager In Your Non-Profit
Stephanie Henyard

Disaster Recovery Planner, University of Michigan

Read Abstract

Everyone knows someone with bad password habits: using simplistic passwords, reusing the same password on multiple systems, writing down passwords on post-it notes, or sharing logins over email. These insecure habits put accounts at greater risk of unauthorized access and can create dependence on written references which are easily lost or misappropriated. With data breaches, phishing, and spoofing attacks on the rise, the importance of strong, unique passwords is ever increasing, yet establishing and maintaining good habits is challenging for most users. Implementing a password manager can address all of these challenges, and more. This session is intended for decision makers looking to strengthen their organization’s confidence in maintaining access to critical information and systems.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Types of password managers and their feature sets
  • Criteria for selecting a suitable platform for your organization
  • Implementation tactics to drive user adoption
  • Leverage centralized management to enhance access continuity
  • Opportunities presented by using a password manager with a distributed workforce
  • Methods of leveraging a password manager in disaster response planning

SPONSOR SESSION: IoT Security: How to Identify and Secure IoT Devices on Your Network
Teddy Powers

IoT Technical Consulting Engineer, Palo Alto Networks

Mark Bleecker

Manager of IoT Security, Palo Alto Networks

Read Abstract

The rate of IoT device adoption is escalating at an uncontrollable pace, now occupying 30% of all devices in the average organization. Unlike typical IT devices that are purchased and managed by a single department, unmanaged IoT devices bring a swathe of legacy attack techniques and new malware threats for security teams.

Late last year, Gartner defined a new type of security platform — an evolution of SIG (Secure Internet Gateway) called Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE (pronounced “sassy”). Gartner predicts that SASE will become the new standard for security in the coming years, with at least 40% of enterprises adopting explicit SASE strategies by 2024.

In this session, attendees will:

  • Gain a practical approach to securing devices across stages of the IoT security lifecycle
  • Understand how to integrate IoT security into existing workflows of network security and security operations teams
  • See a practical demonstration of an IoT security product in action
  • Take away a step-by-step guide to implementing IoT security solutions
11:00-11:45 A.M.
Making the Impossible Possible: Life Lessons From the Race to Space!
Sam Carpenter

Senior Research Assistant, Oregon Health & Science University

Read Abstract

In 1962 under President Kennedy’s direction, our nation committed itself to “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” At the time, this goal was physically impossible. In order to accomplish this goal, it had to be broken down into component tasks. Accomplishing these tasks determined the mission objectives of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Samuel Carpenter discusses not only the accomplishments of these early space exploration efforts, but also outlines a general process of how to take on impossible goals. You will be able to apply this process in your own lives in order to achieve your ‘impossible’, whatever that happens to be.

COMMUNITY SUPPORTER SESSION: The Future of Cloud Security
Bill Spry

Cybersecurity Technical Solutions Architect, Cisco

Dave Armstrong

Cybersecurity Specialist, Cisco

Read Abstract

As security shifts to the cloud, the tried-and-true perimeter-based model just can’t keep up. Today’s cybersecurity professionals are contending with an entirely new type of network and an entirely new set of security needs.

Late last year, Gartner defined a new type of security platform — an evolution of SIG (Secure Internet Gateway) called Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE (pronounced “sassy”). Gartner predicts that SASE will become the new standard for security in the coming years, with at least 40% of enterprises adopting explicit SASE strategies by 2024.

Attendees will learn:

  • Where the security landscape is heading
  • Identify the gaps in today's security stack
  • Highlight the steps you can take to keep your organization safe and secure, today and tomorrow

12:00-12:45 P.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: The Digital Divide and Its Profound Impact on Privacy, Future of Work, and Gaps in Wealth
Francella Ochillo

Executive Director, Next Century Cities

Read Abstract

Every resident in every community should have reliable and affordable access to broadband. However, millions of Americans – namely Indigenous, Brown, Black, rural, and low-income populations – continue to face insurmountable obstacles associated with being able to get online and meaningfully participate in a digital society.

This session will explore the societal cost of the digital divide and its impact on those who are locked out of digital opportunities with limited remedies. For instance, privacy concerns have become increasingly more serious when public Wi-Fi networks are filling in gaps for home broadband access but provide users with little-to-no control of third-party access to personal information being transmitted online. Further, those with unreliable connectivity may not have the requisite digital literacy to manage privacy concerns, let alone the resources for skills training that would attract high-tech job opportunities. Regardless of zip code, limited economic mobility and cycles of poverty only make it more difficult to maintain broadband subscriptions and access to digital tools. Consequently, the cyclone of how gaps in digital access intersect with privacy options, participation in a digital workforce, and economic opportunities has a ripple effect on communities that requires a coordinated response from every level of government.

1:00-1:45 P.M.
GOLD SPONSOR SESSION: Take the People-Centric Approach to Cloud Security
Itir Clarke

Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Proofpoint

David Graff

Information Security Department - Security Engineer, Michigan State University

Read Abstract

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many higher ed institutions found themselves having to quickly adapt by letting staff, faculty, and students work from the comfort of their homes. The WFH initiative brings new challenges as many remote workers do not always use a school-issued device and can access applications such as GSuite and O365 in a browser without additional security protection. During this session – which will feature a customer story from Michigan State University - Proofpoint will take a closer look at the benefits of securing your cloud-based assets, explore new capabilities in Proofpoint Cloud Security that will protect your BYOD workers without requiring agents, as well as provide visibility into 3rd party applications and account compromise. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of cloud security, the Proofpoint CASB offering, as well as the importance of protecting your cloud accounts and data.

2:00-2:45 P.M.
College & High School Esports Programs Are Burgeoning!
Wim Stocks

CEO, Collegiate Star League

COMMUNITY SUPPORTER SESSION: How to take advantage of SD-WAN and other network services in the most flexible, cost-effective way
Kevin McCartney

Senior Director Business Development Edge Cloud, ADVA

Read Abstract

As organizations take advantage of emerging network services, such as SD-WAN and enhanced security, the industry is recognizing there is a better way to deploy these over the traditional dedicated network appliance model of the past. Through the use of open, standards-based cloud/server technology, organizations are now able to leverage edge service platforms, known as Universal Customer Premise Equipment (uCPE), to deploy and manage services in a shared, open architecture that reduces cost, eliminates vendor lock-in, provides future-proofing for new services, and simplifies operations. In this presentation, we will cover how this is being done across the industry and how it is impacting the way organizations view the evolution of the network edge for the future of their businesses.

3:00-3:45 P.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: Merit Awards, The State of Merit & Executive Panel
Joe Sawasky

President & CEO, Merit Network

3:45-4:30 P.M.
Toast to MMC During Our Cocktail Hour!
Read Description

Join us as we celebrate the first day of MMC with a virtual how-to-make-a-cocktail hour. Our virtual mixologist will teach you how to create twists on the classic Moscow Mule using your new mug, compliments of Merit!

Tuesday - November 10, 2020
9:00-9:05 A.M.
Tuesday Introduction
Charlotte Bewersdorff

Vice President For Community Engagement, Merit Network

Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network

9:05-9:50 A.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: Critical Optimism and Sci-Fi Prototyping
Sophia Brueckner

Assistant Professor, Stamps School of Art & Design

Read Abstract

People’s ability to envision the future tends to fall between two unhealthy and unconstructive extremes. On one side, there are those who are blindly optimistic about technology. This attitude is sometimes termed “technosolutionism”, the naïve idea that every problem can be solved with technology. At the other extreme are those so critical of technology that they adopt an unrealistic Luddite attitude, avoiding technology altogether; or they assume that a dystopian future is inevitable and, as a result, become passive. Critical optimism navigates between these two extremes, encouraging an earnest hopefulness that also incorporates a healthy dose of criticality. What futures are possible, which are probable, and, most importantly, which might be preferred?

10:00-10:45 A.M.
Bringing Fiber to the Premise in Your Community
Jim Selby

President, Aspen Wireless Technologies, Inc

Read Abstract

Share from our experience of setting up fiber to the premise for your city. Learn from two cities as they have gotten from concept, to regulatory, to implementation, to setting expectations for the community and governmental challenges of bringing Broadband to your community.

11:00-11:45 A.M.
What the HECVAT!
Nick Lewis

Program Manager, NET+ Cloud Services - Security and Identity, Internet 2

Read Abstract

Cloud vendor security assessments have not stopped being a hot topic for information security, and managing all of the cloud services on a campus could seem like being a mountain climber caught in an avalanche! The Shared Cloud Security Assessment Working Group updated the HECVAT and developed additional resources for the community in 2019 based on community input. In 2019, an on-prem and triage versions were added. Using cases and giving feedback to the working group, this session will go over updates from 2019, community adoption, and plans for 2020.

SPONSOR SESSION: Hanging Up on Illegal Robocalls and Spoofing: Rules, Regulations and Compliance
Mark Iannuzzi

President, TelNet Worldwide

Read Abstract

With the FCC's deadline for STIR/SHAKEN less than a year away, there are important issues you need to know. We'll answer: How will your calls be signed in a post STIR/SHAKEN world? Do you need to sign your own calls? What types of legitimate calls might get blocked and what can you do? What tools can you employ to minimize digital distractions? Join this session on practical advise on easing your robocalling/spoofing concerns and get an update on E911 compliance requirements for the coming year

12:00-12:45 P.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: The Cogs of Cognition
Bryan Stearns and Steven Jones

Graduate Student Researchers, University of Michigan

Read Abstract

Human thinking can do some amazing things! How do we do it? There are many aspects of human cognition that we don't yet understand how to do with computers. However, researchers now agree upon some high-level systems that summarize how the brain works, and we can implement these in computers to simulate (sometimes intelligent!) human behavior. In our talk, we'll describe the current high-level understanding of human cognition, and some of the challenges that still face us in our own research into human general intelligence.

1:00-1:45 P.M.
SPONSOR SESSION
2:00-2:45 P.M.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTER SESSION: JUNIPER NETWORKS
3:00-4:00 P.M.
Michigan Networking Directors (MIND) Community of Practice
Bob Stovall

Vice President of Strategy & Research, Merit Network

Read Abstract

MiND brings together networking and technology professionals to collaborate on emerging technologies and to address current networking issues, concerns and successes with other skilled network engineers, directors and technicians.

Michigan Information & Technology Executive (MITE) Forum
Michael Milliken

Vice President of Technology Operations, Merit Network

Read Abstract

MITE enables tech leaders in Michigan to discuss best practices, share ideas and collaborate on tech-related issues.

Security Community of Practicing Experts (SCOPE) Forum
Kevin Hayes

Chief Information Security Officer, Merit Network

Read Abstract

This group brings together security leaders to discuss cybersecurity topics, policies and roadmaps.

Gaming, Academics & Michigan Esports (GAME) Community of Practice
David Dennis

Executive Director of Product Management, Merit Network

Read Abstract

The esports community of practice brings together peers to discuss the emerging esports landscape, how members are getting started and the larger societal impact.

Wednesday - November 11, 2020
9:00-9:05 A.M.
Wednesday Introduction
Kevin Hayes

Chief Information Security Officer, Merit Network

Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network

9:05 A.M.-3:00 P.M.
Challenge Your Skills & Capture The Flag!
Read Description

Put your skills to the test with a virtual game of capture the flag. Beginners and experts alike can use open-source tools to fire off live attacks on networked systems in real-time. Highest score at the end of the day wins a prize!

9:05-9:50 A.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: The Remote Makerspace: Making in the Age of Covid
Nick Provenzano

Makerspace Director, University of Liggett School

Read Abstract

Schools all over the world have had to pivot to online instruction with the Covid outbreaks running rampage across the globe. Many thought that this would hurt the Maker movement, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Makers from around the world were the first to step up and provide PPE for frontline workers when shortages started to appear. Many of these makers were coming from schools. Now, as schools are starting again, making has not stopped for students or for teachers. Digital and physical making can still take place whether students are at home or in the classroom. With the use of Minecraft Education Edition, Adobe products, and simple items around the home, teaching design, problem solving, and critical thinking are still possible, and very much needed, in the Age of Covid. This session will explore the different ways that students have been able to engage in Maker activities in person and remotely. If you are looking for ways to engage students in the Maker Mentality in today's environment, this is a session you will not want to miss.

10:00-10:45 A.M.
The Big 3 Control Model: Organize and Prioritize Challenges to Drive Successful Results
Stephanie Murphy

Talent Optimization, ADVISA

Read Abstract

How much control do you have over the challenges you face? How do you garner support from leadership? Many of our daily hurdles fall within our “sphere of influence”—we may have some control over their outcomes, but we must depend on other people and factors outside of ourselves to vault over the rift. In this session, participants will be able to use the Control Model to identify productive actions in response to their key workplace challenges, identify what support they need from their leaders to effectively address their challenges and apply the “Big 3” to create relationships and facilitate more effective upward influence as needed.

SPONSOR SESSION: Okta
11:00-11:45 A.M.
Merit Wireless and Network Services Overview
David Dennis

Executive Director Product Management, Merit Network

GOLD SPONSOR SESSION:

Let's Go Threat Hunting: Expert Tips for Enhancing Hunting in Your Organization

Peter Ingebrigsten

Sr. Technical Product Manager, CrowdStrike

12:00-12:45 P.M.
SPONSOR SESSION
1:00-1:45 P.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: A Big Problem with Big Data
Jonathan Strickland

Podcast Host and Executive Producer, iHeart Radio

Read Abstract

Big Data, Big Problems: As we generate and harness enormous amounts of data, a host of challenges rise up to meet us. In this session, Jonathan Strickland outlines what we really mean when we say big data, the consequences that follow when people misuse information (purposefully or otherwise), and some old-fashioned ideas that could help us be better stewards of information in the future.

2:00-2:45 P.M.
Ansible Automation Case Studies: F5 BIG-IP Landscape Transformations
Kenny Barnt

ADC Engineer III, Michigan State University

Read Abstract

This presentation will demonstrate how management of complex infrastructure systems can be efficiently managed using automation tools like Ansible. While the cases presented will focus primarily on managing F5 BIG-IP systems, the concepts covered also apply to other areas of network, server, and application management.

Michigan State University has recently transitioned management of the BIG-IP landscape to the Application Services team, with a primary focus on improving integration with the applications delivered via the F5, and improvements to processes. These improvements are being undertaken using Ansible in a process automation paradigm.

Central Michigan University recently undertook a major transformation in their BIG-IP landscape. Starting with a simple pair of LTM+APM appliances on their main campus with a highly-customized Access Policy for web application SSO, they've moved to a multiple-location environment with BIG-IP DNS with Multi-Factor authentication used with APM, with an eye toward IPv6 deployment in the near future, all without additional resources. This transformation was enabled using Ansible in a configuration-as-code paradigm.

SPONSOR SESSION
Thursday - November 12, 2020
9:00-9:05 A.M.
Thursday Introduction
David Dennis

Executive Director Product Management, Merit Network

Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network

9:05-9:50 A.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: Colonized by Data: The Costs of Connection
Dr. Nick Couldry

Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr. Ulises Mejias

Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Institute for Global Engagement, State University of New York at Oswego

Read Abstract

This talk will introduce the speakers’ new book, The Costs of Connection: How Data Colonizes Human Life and Appropriates it for Capitalism (Stanford University Press, August 2019). Couldry and Mejias argue that the role of data in society needs to be grasped as not only a development of capitalism, but as the start of a new phase in human history that rivals in importance the emergence of historic colonialism. This new "data colonialism" is based not on the extraction of natural resources or labor, but on the appropriation of human life through data, paving the way for a further stage of capitalism. Today’s transformations of social life through data must therefore be grasped within the long historical arc of dispossession as both a new colonialism and an extension of capitalism. Resistance requires challenging in their new material guises forms of coloniality that decolonial thinking has foregrounded for centuries. The struggle will be both broader and longer than many analyses of algorithmic power suppose, but for that reason critical responses are all the more urgent. New forms of solidarity are needed that help build connection on different terms from those currently on offer.

10:00-10:45 A.M.
KEYNOTE SESSION: Broadband for America Now
Jon Sallet

Senior Fellow, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Read Abstract

In October 2019, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society issued a report entitled Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. The agenda was comprehensive, constructed upon achievements in communities and contained insights from experts across the nation. When we released the report last fall, we did not know that the world would be changed permanently in 2020. Healthcare, education, work, and government services will rely more on broadband than ever--even after the crisis subsides. It’s time to build a comprehensive broadband agenda, informed by state and local leadership and innovation, to promote digital equity, advance deployment, spur competition, and empower community anchor institutions. The sooner we do so, the sooner we will reap the boundless benefits that come when every person can use High Performance Broadband from their home.

11:00-11:45 A.M.
SPONSOR SESSION: Enterprise Automation: Your Pass to the Fast Lane
Damien Eversmann

Staff Solutions Architect, Red Hat

Read Abstract

Enterprise Automation can take your IT Department from the Department of No to the Department of Go. Whether your market is Citizens, Students or Sales, your customers are constantly looking for ways to go to market quicker than ever before. They want a fast lane to get from point A to point B and their initial choice is you. But you currently can only provide toll booths and traffic control. Learn how to give them a fast lane to success before they veer off into the unknown neighborhoods and intersections of Shadow IT. By unifying the silos of IT through automation and the collaboration of workflows, not only will you be in the fast lane, you'll BE the fast lane in no time.

12:00-1:00 P.M.
Esports Demonstration and Panel Discussion
David Dennis

Executive Director Product Management, Merit Network

Lori Tirpak

Interim Chief Information Officer, Oakland University

Scott Puckett

Senior Director of Information Technology, Western Michigan University

Zach Wigal

Founder, Gamers Outreach

Friday - November 13, 2020
9:00-9:05 A.M.
Final Day Introduction
Joe Sawasky

President & CEO, Merit Network

Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network

9:05-9:50 A.M.
Michigan Moonshot - Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization
Pierrette Dagg

Director of Marketing & Communications, Merit Network

Danielle Clair

Business Systems Project Manager, Merit Network

Amy Stuyvesant

Business Systems GIS & Data Analyst, Merit Network

Read Abstract

The Michigan Moonshot aims to act as a catalyst in the broadband ecosystem by informing policy makers, fostering public-private partnerships and convening collaboration between citizens and organizations in our state. The Moonshot data collection process provides accurate, granular connectivity and resident sentiment data, which can be leveraged by municipalities, educational institutions, broadband task forces, county governments and those working to expand connectivity for the purposes of broadband planning and to support grant applications.

A thorough understanding of address-level broadband access, the speeds of that connectivity and citizens’ attitudes regarding service plans and price points is critical in the early planning and engagement process of a community network journey.

This session will be an overview of the ways in which citizen-driven data collection and GIS mapping can be used to support broadband planning. This presentation will provide a walkthrough of survey collection methodology for both connected and unconnected residents and a demonstration of potential data visualizations and maps that can be created from the data generated from these sources.

10:00-10:45 A.M.
Public/Private Partnership for SOC Development
David Mayne

Managed Securities Business Development, Specialist Novacoast Inc.

Jim Darga

Director, Pinckney Cyber Training Institute

Read Abstract

Problem Statement Cybersecurity attacks against public entities which include but are not limited to municipalities, court systems, and public school systems are increasing at an alarming rate across Michigan as well as the nation. However, public entities in large part do not have the technical infrastructure and/or human resources to develop an effective cybersecurity defensive strategy to mitigate the risk. Compounding the problem, public entities typically do not have the financial resources to leverage the services of a commercial security operations center magnifying their cybersecurity attack vulnerability.

Solution Create a public/private partnership to develop a security operations center (SOC) which is managed by a commercial security operations center and operated by a Michigan Cyber Range hub. The Pinckney Cyber Training Institute has partnered with Novacoast Inc. and is scheduled to go live on September 8, 2020 providing threat detection service to public entities and small businesses in Michigan in a cost effective manner. Pinckney CTI will staff the SOC with student interns , while Novacoast Inc. will provide technical expertise and management support.

SPONSOR SESSION:
11:00-11:45 A.M.
GOLD SPONSOR SESSION: Informatica
12:00-12:45 P.M.
Broadband Panel Discussion
Barb Fuller

Chair, Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force

Ben Fineman

President & Co founder, Michigan Broadband Cooperative

Charlotte Bewersdorff

Vice President of Community Engagement, Merit Network

Dr. Johannes M. Bauer

Quello Chair for Media and Information Policy, Michigan State University

Joshua Edmonds

Director of Digital Inclusion, City of Detroit, Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT)

SPONSOR SESSION
1:00-2:30 P.M.
Session One: Test Your DR Plan With Merit’s Community Assistance Pact D&D Session!
Kevin Hayes

Chief Information Security Officer, Merit Network

Read Description

Put your disaster recovery protocols to the test or watch fellow members face their doom! This is a great opportunity to watch or possibly participate in unique scenarios created around a fictitious organization faced with dangerous cyber incidents.

2:45-4:15 P.M.
Session Two: Test Your DR Plan With Merit’s Community Assistance Pact D&D Session!
Kevin Hayes

Chief Information Security Officer, Merit Network

Read Description

We set off again with a new set of players! Put your disaster recovery protocols to the test or watch fellow members face their doom! This is a great opportunity to watch or possibly participate in unique scenarios created around a fictitious organization faced with dangerous cyber incidents.

MEET OUR 2020 PRESENTERS

MONDAY - NOVEMBER 9, 2020
MatthewRantanen

MATTHEW RANTANEN

Director of Technology: Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association

Partnering and Business Development, Arcadian Infracom

Connectivity in The Times of COVID-19: Indian Country’s Efforts to Get Online
Monday November 9 | 9:00am – 9:45am

Full Biography >

Read Presentation Abstract

What has changed on the broadband front in Indian Country…wait…has anything changed? In this session, keynote speaker Matthew Rantanen will discuss the extensive but surmountable challenges faced by those seeking to connect the unconnected in the Western U.S. and beyond. From his many struggles and successes, Matthew has gained experiences that can serve as a blueprint for others within the broadband ecosystem looking to define their path forward.

FrancellOchillo

FRANCELLA OCHILLO

Executive Director

Next Century Cities

The Digital Divide and Its Profound Impact on Privacy, Future of Work, and Gaps in Wealth
Monday November 9 | 12:00pm – 12:45pm

Full Biography >

Read Presentation Abstract

Every resident in every community should have reliable and affordable access to broadband. However, millions of Americans – namely Indigenous, Brown, Black, rural, and low-income populations – continue to face insurmountable obstacles associated with being able to get online and meaningfully participate in a digital society.

This session will explore the societal cost of the digital divide and its impact on those who are locked out of digital opportunities with limited remedies. For instance, privacy concerns have become increasingly more serious when public Wi-Fi networks are filling in gaps for home broadband access but provide users with little-to-no control of third-party access to personal information being transmitted online. Further, those with unreliable connectivity may not have the requisite digital literacy to manage privacy concerns, let alone the resources for skills training that would attract high-tech job opportunities. Regardless of zip code, limited economic mobility and cycles of poverty only make it more difficult to maintain broadband subscriptions and access to digital tools. Consequently, the cyclone of how gaps in digital access intersect with privacy options, participation in a digital workforce, and economic opportunities has a ripple effect on communities that requires a coordinated response from every level of government.

TUESDAY - NOVEMBER 10, 2020
SophiaBrueckner

SOPHIA BRUECKNER

Assistant Professor

Stamps School of Art & Design

Critical Optimism and Sci-Fi Prototyping
Tuesday November 10 | 9:00am – 9:45am

Full Biography >

Read Presentation Abstract

People’s ability to envision the future tends to fall between two unhealthy and unconstructive extremes. On one side, there are those who are blindly optimistic about technology. This attitude is sometimes termed “technosolutionism”, the naïve idea that every problem can be solved with technology. At the other extreme are those so critical of technology that they adopt an unrealistic Luddite attitude, avoiding technology altogether; or they assume that a dystopian future is inevitable and, as a result, become passive. Critical optimism navigates between these two extremes, encouraging an earnest hopefulness that also incorporates a healthy dose of criticality. What futures are possible, which are probable, and, most importantly, which might be preferred?

StevenJones

STEVEN JONES

Graduate Student Researcher

University of Michigan

Full Biography >

BryanStearns

BRYAN STEARNS

Graduate Student Researcher

University of Michigan

Full Biography >

The Cogs of Cognition
Tuesday November 10 | 12:00pm – 12:45pm

Read Presentation Abstract

Human thinking can do some amazing things! How do we do it? There are many aspects of human cognition that we don’t yet understand how to do with computers. However, researchers now agree upon some high-level systems that summarize how the brain works, and we can implement these in computers to simulate (sometimes intelligent!) human behavior. In our talk, we’ll describe the current high-level understanding of human cognition, and some of the challenges that still face us in our own research into human general intelligence.

WEDNESDAY - NOVEMBER 11, 2020
NicholasProvenzano

NICHOLAS PROVENZANO

Makerspace Director

University Liggett School

The Remote Makerspace: Making in the Age of Covid
Wednesday November 11 | 9:00am – 9:45am

Full Biography >

Read Presentation Abstract

Schools all over the world have had to pivot to online instruction with the Covid outbreaks running rampage across the globe. Many thought that this would hurt the Maker movement, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Makers from around the world were the first to step up and provide PPE for frontline workers when shortages started to appear. Many of these makers were coming from schools. Now, as schools are starting again, making has not stopped for students or for teachers. Digital and physical making can still take place whether students are at home or in the classroom. With the use of Minecraft Education Edition, Adobe products, and simple items around the home, teaching design, problem solving, and critical thinking are still possible, and very much needed, in the Age of Covid. This session will explore the different ways that students have been able to engage in Maker activities in person and remotely. If you are looking for ways to engage students in the Maker Mentality in today’s environment, this is a session you will not want to miss.

JonathanStrickland

JONATHAN STRICKLAND

Podcast Host and Executive Producer

iHeartRadio

A Big Problem with Big Data
Wednesday November 11 | 1:00pm – 1:45pm

Full Biography >

Read Presentation Abstract

Big Data, Big Problems: As we generate and harness enormous amounts of data, a host of challenges rise up to meet us. In this session, Jonathan Strickland outlines what we really mean when we say big data, the consequences that follow when people misuse information (purposefully or otherwise), and some old-fashioned ideas that could help us be better stewards of information in the future.

THURSDAY - NOVEMBER 12, 2020
mejias

ULISES MEJIAS

Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Institute for Global Engagement

State University of New York, College at Oswego

Full Biography >

Nick_Couldry

NICK COULDRY

Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory Department of Media and Communications

London School of Economics and Political Science

Full Biography >

Colonized By Data: The Costs of Connection
Thursday November 12 | 9:00am – 9:45am

Read Presentation Abstract

This talk will introduce the speakers’ new book, The Costs of Connection: How Data Colonizes Human Life and Appropriates it for Capitalism (Stanford University Press, August 2019). Couldry and Mejias argue that the role of data in society needs to be grasped as not only a development of capitalism, but as the start of a new phase in human history that rivals in importance the emergence of historic colonialism. This new “data colonialism” is based not on the extraction of natural resources or labor, but on the appropriation of human life through data, paving the way for a further stage of capitalism. Today’s transformations of social life through data must therefore be grasped within the long historical arc of dispossession as both a new colonialism and an extension of capitalism. Resistance requires challenging in their new material guises forms of coloniality that decolonial thinking has foregrounded for centuries. The struggle will be both broader and longer than many analyses of algorithmic power suppose, but for that reason critical responses are all the more urgent. New forms of solidarity are needed that help build connection on different terms from those currently on offer.

JonSallet

JON SALLET

Senior Fellow

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Broadband for America Now
Thursday November 12 | 10:00am – 10:45am

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In October 2019, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society issued a report entitled Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. The agenda was comprehensive, constructed upon achievements in communities and contained insights from experts across the nation. When we released the report last fall, we did not know that the world would be changed permanently in 2020. Healthcare, education, work, and government services will rely more on broadband than ever–even after the crisis subsides. It’s time to build a comprehensive broadband agenda, informed by state and local leadership and innovation, to promote digital equity, advance deployment, spur competition, and empower community anchor institutions. The sooner we do so, the sooner we will reap the boundless benefits that come when every person can use High Performance Broadband from their home.

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