john palfrey

john palfrey.png

adding page because of this:

Esko Kilpi (@EskoKilpi) tweeted at 5:22 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :

The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative at Harvard Law School (

During AI Advance, the term “AI” was used in a broad sense to describe complex decision-making algorithms fueled by public and private datasets, rather than as a strict computer science term of art.


Part of our job here is to figure out: what’s our research agenda? *What are a series of research questions that will help us understand what we should really care about in AI? And where we should put a thumb on the scale to affect the outcome?”  — John Palfrey


In the opening segments, big questions were addressed: *What are the most important research questions? What is different about AI ethics and governance research? What does AI mean for our understanding of human autonomy? Jonathan Zittrain summarized in this post the major questions posed by using **automated processes for decision-making.

*what does it mean to be human/alive.. we have to go deeper to get to 100% of us..

**begs we redefine decision making



These issues are at the core of projects underway at the Berkman Klein Center including the development of an Inclusion Lab, which will explore *how AI systems can help create a more diverse and inclusive society;

*hlb that io dance.. as the day [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…].. a nother way


“*Are there places where researchers like us can exercise insight into the design of infrastructural systems such that they… become democratic platforms? If we all have to buy into [Google’s] TensorFlow, what does that mean for the politics of the infrastructure?” Nadya Peek

in the city.. as the day.. let’s try this..


“We have a question about news quality and ‘fake news’ where we can’t decide if this is an AI problem or a human problem.” Ethan Zuckerman


“I think it’s very important to dive in and simplify. We need to look for places where we can find miniature problems that have questions and answers. We need to identify first principles.” — Skhathisomusa Mthembu


John Palfrey at the “Google Era Librarians” Conference – Milan, 17/18 March 2016


needing libraries more than before.. places become even more important w digital.. places people come out to.. zones of civic life..

also – increasingly.. need resources for free..

free..? for 100%..?


find/follow John:

link twitter

Head of School . Chair, Board . Board member . Fan of . Views all my own.

andover, ma

wikipedia small

John Palfrey (born 1972) is a leading American educator, scholar, and law professor. He is a notable authority on the legal aspects of emerging media, and he is *an advocate for Internet freedom, including increased online transparency and accountability as well as child safety. He was selected to be the Head of School at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 2012. He has been an important figure at Harvard Law School and served as executive director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society from 2002 to 2008.

*www ness


Beginning in 2010, he helped promote a Berkman project entitled the *Digital Public Library of America, which is an effort funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and others to enable a large-scale public file-sharing digital library. Palfrey described the online storehouse stocked with millions of digitized books as being one which “will contain everything we can get our hands on.”

*imagine this library ness as hlb that io dance.. to truly make the internet free

In 2003, Palfrey was appointed to the faculty of Harvard Law School, partly hired by Elena Kagan, and his research interests included intellectual property issues such as copyright law, Internet law, and international law. He served as a visiting professor of Law and Information at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, from 2007 to 2008. He served as the vice-dean of library and information services at the Harvard Law School’s library, and led a reorganization effort in 2009. He was appointed to the vice-dean post in 2008. He was also awarded tenure at the Harvard Law School in 2008.


Phillips Academy.

In 2012, Palfrey became the head of School at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[18] He is the fifteenth person to serve as the Academy’s head of school, and his investiture was celebrated on September 26, 2012. While at Andover, he was elected as the chairperson of the Knight Foundation, a charitable organization which focuses on *how information can improve democratic institutions. He was profiled in Town and Country magazine in 2015.

perhaps by being the right info.. ie: self-talk as data

Internet Issues

Palfrey is regarded as an authority about how people use technology, including how they relate to information and engage in politics in emerging digital media such as the Internet. According to Palfrey, digital natives (those born after 1980 and who grew up with the Internet) are more likely to “see relationships differently” as well as access information in new ways from previous generations. He is a supporter of information sharing while maintaining copyrights:

We should figure out how to offer legitimate services that enable people to be accountable to one another online, using innovations like Creative Commons licenses, which make sharing legitimately much easier.

— John Palfrey in the Boston Globe, 2004
or perhaps.. gershenfeld sel.. deeper.. a nother way

In 2008, Palfrey served as the chair of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a year-long national effort to explore how children could “avoid unwanted contact and content” online. He believes digital literacy should be an important public issue in schools so that kids can “sort credible from non-credible information”. Palfrey testified before Congress on child safety issues in the digital age. He advocated flexibility in legal solutions for coping with cyberbullying, which happens when “kids treat one another awfully online”, and he recommended that laws not be too tied to specific technologies. He is a fan of Wikipedia:

I would use Wikipedia. I think it’s a fabulous, fabulous place to turn. Because some of the information is absolutely credible and really useful.

— John Palfrey in The New York Times, 2010

In his book Born Digital, Palfrey and co-author Urs Gasser argued that solutions to bad behavior online could combine parental oversight, public education, responsible behavior by corporations, and only use punitive laws as a last resort.


Born Digital was described as “a landmark sociological study of today’s early adults”. The book was reviewed in the journal Science and the Washington Post. Reviewer Amanda Henry described the authors as “knowledgeable but never pedantic”. Library Journal named Born Digital one of its top Science and Technology books for 2008, the only computer science book named to this list. According to one account, Palfrey urged his fellow Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig to run for Congress. 


Palfrey was a member of a pro bono legal team that helped defend street artistShepard Fairey in a “fair use” case involving an Associated Press photograph of Barack Obama in his Hope poster.[40]

Palfrey urged Congress to write legislation to discourage prominent Internet firms such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems from bending to pressure by foreign governments to censor web information or forcing them to reveal the identities of dissidents, as part of the Open Net Initiative. His work on how Internet usage can affect politics within democracies was cited as influential to the dissidents in Iran responsible for the Green Revolution. These references resulted in his being named by the Iranian government, along with colleague Ethan Zuckerman, as a so-called “conspirator” in the trials that took place in Iran in 2009 and 2010.


Palfrey commented in the Boston Globe about how political campaigns in the United States were increasingly being carried out in cyberspace.


Palfrey’s parents are both professors of medicine with a specialty in pediatrics. His mother is the chief of general pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His father is a professor of clinical pediatrics at Boston University Medical School. Palfrey’s parents are co-masters of Adams House at Harvard College. Palfrey is a great-great-grandson of United States President Theodore Roosevelt. His family has many connections to Harvard University, including through his ancestor, John G. Palfrey, the first dean of the Harvard Divinity School and prominent historian of the 19th century. Palfrey married Catherine Carter in 1998. In 2003, the Palfrey House in Cambridge, MA, which had been built in 1831 by an ancestor, was relocated to Hammond Street.


MacArthur Foundation (@macfound) tweeted at 10:53 AM – 6 Mar 2019 :
“John understands the intersection of technology, media, and justice. He’ll be a tremendous leader not just for MacArthur but for all of philanthropy.”—@DarrenWalker on our next President @jpalfrey via @Philanthropy (

The MacArthur Foundation has picked John Palfrey, the head of a prestigious prep school and chairman of the board at the Knight Foundation, to serve as its new president.