Seeding Innovation: The MIT Media Lab at Aspen Ideas Festival

my name is Eric Rosenbaum and I'm part of the lifelong kindergarten group my name is Todd Farrell I'm in the biomechatronics group my name is Nadia peak and I'm in the center for bits and atoms in the physics and Media Group my name is Daniel McDuck and I'm in the effects of computing group my name is a Ben Weber and I'm in the human dynamics group here my name is Micah at carte and I'm a member of the effective computing group I'm Joey Ito I'm the director of the MIT Media Lab the MIT Media Lab is somewhat of a unique place most of the work at the Media Lab is what we call undirected research students and faculty do whatever they want to do sometimes they don't even know what they want to do but they figure it out it's they go along mistakes and failures are really important parts of the process of inventing and learning it's about trying lots of things out a lot of what we do at the Media Lab is about passion there's a lot of very innovative stuff that's going on here so right now my work is focused on making trained adaptive robotic press disease the current project that I'm working on with another graduate student Jay silver is a project called makey makey here's the makey makey this is an invention kit for everyone I'm looking at a completely different way of assembling circuits my work right now is a you know completely focused on the development of assistive and learning technologies for people diagnosed with autism so a lot of what I'm working on is using sensing technology to understand how people interact in behave in the workplace I'm looking at ways that we can measure people's responses to media particularly online this combination of art science uniqueness impact and magic and this anti disciplinary undirected research nature I think makes the Media Lab pretty unique among institutions technology is something that is increasingly opaque and about consumption when we want to empower everyone to create new things somebody in the world needs to be exploring spaces that are uncharted unplanned and undirected what are the different ways of interacting the different ways of behaving that actually make people collaborate effectively under the developments we make in one area will transfer over to others in particular the advancements that have been made in mobile technologies and web-based applications and social networks provides I think unique opportunities for us to address some of the specific social aspects of autism it's very easy to make technologies that are opaque that have a black box containing some functionality that you don't need to worry about and we like to create systems that you can open up and explore the insides of in order to go deeply learn more and express yourself more powerfully transparency is is critical because by being transparent people are going to be able to collaborate around thinking about new ways you could use this data about new opportunities that otherwise is a small group of people are not going to be able to think of we're dealing with technology which could be intimidating there's a lot of privacy issues these are things that I think people that are making long-term plans should really be thinking about and that's why a lot of companies come to the Media Lab because we are their peripheral vision where their antenna thinking about open solutions thinking about engaging the whole community and sustaining solutions is really critical for certain types of problems it should be about working together with entire societies and so you don't want to build high walls and wide moats you want to level the playing field and help as many people as possible the artifacts that I make are not going to make an impact only if other people are able to take those and use them in ways that are useful for them and their communities that they're going to be relevant at all the thing that we're doing is enabling people it's about making tools for empowerment

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