April 1 John Palfrey and Urs Gasser on "Interop: The Art and Science of Working Together"

You are cordially invited to the next Yale ISP lunch speaker series scheduled for this Friday, April 1, at 12:10 p.m. in Room 127 of Yale Law School. This week, we will be joined by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. The title of their talk is "Interop: The Art and Science of Working Together."

Interop: The Art and Science of Working Together


We live in an age in which we are confronted with a series of unprecedented challenges of global scale. The financial crisis, the need for sustainable forms of energy production, the reform of health care systems, or global disaster response systems are only a few examples out of many. In order to manage these challenges, the smartest people, the most advanced technology, and the best institutions need to work together and ensure the flow of information across systems. The management of this vast degree of interconnection brings its own challenges and should not be taken for granted. The key to human thriving in the midst of such complexity is to develop a nuanced, stable theory of interoperability, or “interop” for short – the art and science of working together. It’s not just about standardizing all systems so that they are uniform or such that there is only one player dealing with complex problems. The goal is a sustainable mode of ensuring that actors in complex systems can work together, on day one and over time, in such a way that maximizes the benefits of interconnection to society and minimizes the costs.

About John Palfrey and Urs Gasser:

John Palfrey is Henry N. Ess Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He is the co-author of "Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives" (Basic Books, 2008, with Urs Gasser), "Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Internet Filtering" (MIT Press, 2008), and “Access Contested: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace” (MIT Press, 2010), among other books. His research and teaching is focused on Internet law, intellectual property, and international law. He practiced intellectual property and corporate law at the law firm of Ropes & Gray. He is a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Outside of Harvard Law School, he is a Venture Executive at Highland Capital Partners and serves on the board of several technology companies and non-profits. He is a graduate of Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School. He writes a blog at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/palfrey/.

Urs Gasser is the Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He teaches at Harvard Law School, at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Fudan University School of Management (China). He is a visiting professor at KEIO University (Japan) and a Fellow at the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research. Urs Gasser has written several books, is the co author of “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives” (Basic Books, 2008, with John Palfrey) that has been translated into 10 languages (including Chinese), and has published over 70 articles in professional journals. His research and teaching activities focus on information law and policy issues. Current projects, several of them in collaboration with leading research institutions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, explore policy and educational challenges for young Internet users, the regulation of digital technology (currently with focus on cloud computing), ICT interoperability, information quality, the law’s impact on innovation and risk in the ICT space, and alternative governance systems. He graduated from the University of St. Gallen (J.D., S.J.D.) as well as Harvard Law School (LL.M.) and received several academic awards and prizes for his research.