Illustration of young people using virtual reality headsets to cook in kitchen, explore outer space, and explore the ocean
Illustration of young people using virtual reality headsets to cook in kitchen, explore outer space, and explore the ocean

The Potential of Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Experiences for Remote Teaching and Learning

By Melyssa Eigen, Sandra Cortesi, & Alexa Hasse
In collaboration with Pedro Maddens Toscano, Maya Malik, Leah Plunkett, & Urs Gasser (PI). Illustrations and animations by Euan Brown, Rebecca Smith, Melanie Tan, & Claudia Thomas

Due to the global pandemic, the past several months have been a whirlwind of changing norms and lifestyle modifications, as well as an increase in impact of the digitalization of our day-to-day lives (highlighting the importance of high-quality access to digital technologies and areas where such access might be improved). With the inability for life to “return to normal” anytime soon, we are bound to see more change, especially in the educational context. …


Election interference and platform interventions in the lead-up to November 3

Oumou Ly and Naima Green-Riley
Oumou Ly and Naima Green-Riley
Oumou Ly (left) interviews Naima Green-Riley (right) for The Breakdown from the Berkman Klein Center.

Concerns about election interference and disinformation are rampant in the weeks before the U.S. presidential election on November 3. In this episode of The Breakdown, Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly interviews Naima Green-Riley, a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Ly and Green-Riley review recent foreign interference, the weaponization of social issues, and various platform interventions to mitigate the spread of mis- and disinformation ahead of the election.

Watch the interview from the Berkman Klein Center.

Read the transcript, which has been lightly edited for clarity:

Oumou Ly (OL): Welcome to The Breakdown. My name is Oumou. I’m a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center on the Assembly: Disinformation program. I am really excited to be joined today by Naima Green-Riley. Naima’s a PhD candidate at the Department of Government at Harvard University, with a particular focus on public diplomacy and the global information space. She also was formerly a foreign service officer and a Pickering fellow. …


Book covers for “The Connected Parent” and Pandemie als Verbundkrise und digitales Phaenomen
Book covers for “The Connected Parent” and Pandemie als Verbundkrise und digitales Phaenomen

The precariousness of the early days of the pandemic turned parents into educators and scholars scrambling to make sense of the historic challenges faced by our societies and the institutions governing them.

Urs Gasser, the Executive Director of the Berkman Klein Center (BKC) and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, has co-authored two timely books that inform both of those struggles.

Gasser co-authored The Connected Parent with John Palfrey, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which turns a decade of academic research into practical guidance for parents raising children in a “digitally connected” world. He also wrote an essay series published in German (Pandemie als Verbundkrise und digitales Phaenomen) that focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, risk, digitization, and the law. …


“Covid State of Play” examines sick buildings, planning lags, and reopening

By Carolyn Schmitt

A group of tents in Central Park
A group of tents in Central Park
A tent hospital in Central Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In the absence of leadership guidelines for mitigating COVID-19, creative solutions — in concert with established public health recommendations — are key.

Low-cost air quality sensors, rethinking what schools look like, and identifying new modes of collaboration are a few of the creative approaches discussed during a recent discussion hosted by Jonathan Zittrain and Magaret Bourdeaux of the Berkman Klein Center’s Digital Pandemic Response program.

The talk examined the current “Covid State of Play,” and covered COVID-19 testing, school reopenings, and ventilation. …


Daphne Keller discusses CDA 230, the executive order, and content moderation

Image for post
Image for post
Daphne Keller (left) joined Oumou Ly (right) for the latest episode of The Breakdown.

In this episode of The Breakdown, Oumou Ly is joined by Daphne Keller of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center to discuss the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, content moderation and Big Tech platforms, and recent events that propelled them into the spotlight in recent months.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, or “The Twenty-Six Words That Created The Internet,” provides platforms legal immunity for third party speech — including by their users. It came under fire recently when President Donald Trump signed an executive order to limit protections for social media companies.

Watch the latest episode of The Breakdown from The Berkman Klein…


Special two-part episode delves into BKC’s Assembly program, big challenges with disinformation

Image for post
Image for post
Jonathan Zittrain joins Oumou Ly for the latest episode of The Breakdown. Photo: Lydia Rosenberg

This episode of The Breakdown featuring Assembly Staff Fellow Oumou Ly in conversation with Professor Jonathan Zittrain, is shared in two parts. Part one delves into the Berkman Klein Center’s Assembly program — which focused on disinformation from a cybersecurity perspective for the 2019–2020 year — and some of the big challenges that surfaced from Assembly work this year. Part two explores disinformation in the context of trust and platforms, and looks ahead at Assembly in the future.

Watch Part One of The Breakdown with Jonathan Zittrain

Read the transcript, which has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Oumou Ly (OL): Welcome to The Breakdown. My name is Oumou. I’m a staff fellow on the Berkman Klein Center Assembly: Disinformation Program. Our episode today features our very own Jonathan Zittrain. Jonathan is the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. He’s also a Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Professor of Computer Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Director of the Law School Library and Co-founder and Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Thank you for joining us today, Jonathan. …


Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Claudia Thomas

By Andres Lombana-Bermudez, Sandra Cortesi, Christian Fieseler, Urs Gasser, Alexa Hasse, Gemma Newlands, and Sarah Wu.

With illustrations by Elsa Brown, Rebecca Smith, Melanie Tan, and Claudia Thomas.

Access the report here.

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Claudia Thomas

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, four teenage friends from Newport Beach, California — Hannah and Isabelle Dastgheib (ages 16 and 15, respectively) and Maggie and Kate Dietrick (ages 16 and 14, respectively) — decided to take action by designing face masks that help make our “new normal” more inclusive. …


By Mary Gray, Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, an E.J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellow and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center

This essay is part of a collection written by members of the Berkman Klein Center’s Working Group on Digital Pandemic Response. The group, made up of experts from academia, civil society, the public sector, and industry, takes on difficult questions around the use of digital tools and data to help attenuate the COVID-19 pandemic. Each essay is the perspective of the author, not of the Berkman Klein Center.

Image for post
Image for post

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 120,000 people in the United States and debilitated millions more since arriving on our shores. While anyone can contract the virus, there is a pattern to who gets sick and dies from it here. Yet very few of the Tech Sector’s responses to the disease seem to acknowledge — let alone respond to — this fact. …


By Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts

This essay is part of a collection written by members of the Berkman Klein Center’s Working Group on Digital Pandemic Response. The group, made up of experts from academia, civil society, the public sector, and industry, takes on difficult questions around the use of digital tools and data to help attenuate the COVID-19 pandemic. Each essay is the perspective of the author, not of the Berkman Klein Center.

Image for post
Image for post

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not technology assisted contact tracing (TACT) or exposure notification technology could or would meaningfully contribute to pandemic response in the United States. But one thing is not up for debate: trust in the public health system is a necessary foundation for effective pandemic management. Unfortunately, centuries of largely unaddressed racism and xenophobia, and the racist rhetoric and policies emanating from the Trump administration, have compromised that foundation. For too many communities, particularly lower-income Black and brown immigrant communities, trust in the authorities is non-existent. These are also the very same communities that are seeing the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. Racism, xenophobia, and the COVID-19 pandemic combine to create a toxic brew, endangering not only those hardest-hit communities, but all people, and the government’s pandemic response. …


By Margaret Bourdeaux, MD, MPH

This essay is part of a collection written by members of the Berkman Klein Center’s Working Group on Digital Pandemic Response. The group, made up of experts from academia, civil society, the public sector, and industry, takes on difficult questions around the use of digital tools and data to help attenuate the COVID-19 pandemic. Each essay is the perspective of the author, not of the Berkman Klein Center.

Image for post
Image for post

The Confronting COVID19 briefs, produced by the Program in Global Public Policy (PGPP) at Harvard Medical School, aim to inform the public about the country and the Commonwealth’s efforts to mitigate the COVID19 crisis. These briefs focus on the debates, challenges, and policy conundrums of the COVID19 crisis. The initial briefs in this series regard the Massachusetts Contact Tracing Collaborative (CTC). Of note PGPP serves as a policy advisor to Partners in Health, a non-profit working for the Commonwealth as a consortium partner to implement its contact tracing program.

About

Berkman Klein Center

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store