IAP seminar: Decentralized Society, Cooperation, and Plurality

Thursday, February 01, 2024 at 10:30am to 12:00pm

“We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” This can also be said of the rules and technologies we construct for human cooperation, which allows for enterprise from the subtly complex (can a single person make a pencil?), to the brashly grandiose (space flight!). In return, our scaled social and political systems shape our behavior for better or worse.

In this IAP activity, we will read works from computer science, sociology, political theory, and sci-fi to explore the mechanisms of large scale cooperative behavior. The structure of the seminar is simple: read, discuss, write. We will also cover applied topics such as social networks, crypto, identity, deliberation, and the nascent philosophy of digital pluralism.

The seminar will be heavy on reading, discussion, and participation (~10 hours / wk including class time). Please commit to attending as many in-person meetings as possible. There will be a remote option generally reserved for non-MIT and remote participants. Note, IAP is intended for MIT students, so we will restrict the number of non-MIT participants.

Instructors: Wes Chow (wesc@media.mit.edu, MIT Center for Constructive Communication), Manon Revel (Harvard Berkman Klein Center)

Non-credit activity, max 15 students in person, unlimited virtual (outside MIT ok)

Time: Tu, Thu 10:30am - 12pm during the IAP period (Jan 9th - Feb 1, 2024)

Room: Sent to participants after registration

Registration: https://forms.gle/onuiNKAPyApDQg9T9

Description and further updates here.


Events By Audience

Public, MIT Community, Students


Sci-fi, cooperation, decentralized, pluraity

MIT Center for Constructive Communication


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