Hacking Society

Today we are excited to bring together a group of thinkers and doers to USV to discuss how networks are transforming our society and economy, and what this means for the future of innovation, competition, regulation and policy advocacy.

We are calling the event Hacking Society, which is, of course, ambitiously broad.  What we mean by that is the way in which networks — i.e., groups of people connected directly to one another via the Internet — are finding new ways to work together, make things and solve problems.  As this happens — and it's happening across all sectors of life, from entertainment, to education, to healthcare, to disaster relief, to government — tensions are arising between these emergent networks and our incumbent industries and institutions, and battles are playing out across the policy and political landscape.

Recent events have shown us both that the networked citizenry can display significant power when it needs to, and also that the fight for our networked future is far from over.

During today's session we'll discuss how networks are changing our world, how incumbents are fighting back in policy and political arenas, what a "freedom to innovate" policy agenda could look like, and how we can best harness the strengths of the Net as we advocate for our new, connected future.

We'll be providing a live audio stream all day, so please feel free to join in.  We'll also be tweeting to the #hacksociety hashtag, so please post comments and questions there, and/or tweet at @usv throughout the day.  After the event, we'll provide complete audio and video footage, which will be available for download under a Creative Commons license.

The live audio stream, plus a list of everyone attending the event in person, can be found at:


Thanks in advance to everyone who will be joining us today, both in person and online, and here's to the Internet.

Nick Grossman is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Media Lab, and is working with the USV team on a new advocacy effort focused on networks and innovation.

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