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CISI Distinguished Speaker Series

The Cyber Innovation and Society Initiative is proud to bring important thought leaders to UVA to discuss topics in emerging technologies and their impact on society.  The talks are open to the UVA community and the general public.


Tarleton Gillespie, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
Monday, September 24, 2018, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Dome Room at the UVA Rotunda
Seating is limited - register by clicking here

Tarleton Gillespie head shot

Talk Title:  Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media

Abstract: While most social media users want their chosen platforms free from harassment and porn, they also want to see the content they choose to see. This means platforms face an irreconcilable contradiction: while platforms promise an open space for participation and community, every one of them imposes rules of some kind. In the early days of social media, content moderation was hidden away, even disavowed. But the illusion of the open platform has, in recent years, begun to crumble.  Today, content moderation has never been more important, or more controversial. In his new book, Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, content moderation, and the hidden decisions that shape social media, Tarleton Gillespie explains how social media platforms police what we post online – and the societal impact of these decisions. Content moderation has never been ancillary or after-the-fact – it is crucial and definitional to what platforms do. Platforms can no longer duck the responsibility of being better custodians to the massive and contested public realm they have helped bring into being. But what are those companies’ responsibilities to the public?

Biography: Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, an affiliated associate professor in the Department of Communication and Department of Information Science at Cornell University, co-founder of the blog Culture Digitally, author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007) , co-editor of Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT, 2014), and author of Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (Yale, 2018).


Bill Maurer, Director, UC Irvine, Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
Monday, October 22, 2018, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Dome Room at the UVA Rotunda
Co-sponsors: Department of Anthropology
Seating is limited - register by clicking here

Bill Maurer photo

Talk Title:  That Touch of Money: The Cashless Past, Some Cashless Futures, and the Public Good

Abstract:  Jumping off from political and humanitarian calls for the abolition of physical banknotes, this talk situates the most recent arguments for a cashless future in the context of the history of money, accounting, and payment technologies. It considers how new technological systems have reopened a political discussion over the nature and function of money and its materiality, while at the same time reflecting back on the affordances of technologies of accounting that would obviate the need for physical currency. The devil is in the material details, however: drawing on the archaeological record and considering the more recent history of technology, from the Automated Clearing House to cryptocurrencies, the talk will question the political ramifications of a cashless future that does not account for the relations of inequality underlying any money form.

Biography:  Bill Maurer, Ph.D., is dean of the School of Social Sciences and professor of anthropology; criminology, law and society; and law at the University of California, Irvine. An anthropologist, he is one of the world’s leading experts on money’s artifacts and technological systems, from cowrie shells to credit cards. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including most recently, How Would You Like to Pay? How Technology is Changing the Future of Money, and recently edited (with Lana Swartz) Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff. As director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (www.imtfi.uci.edu), which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maurer coordinates research in over 40 countries on how new payment technologies impact poor people’s well-being. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Vassar College and his master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from Stanford University.