Jonathan Zittrain

Minds for Sale

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law,  Harvard University; Author, The Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It

Pulin Sanghvi, Assistant Dean, Director of Career Management Center, Stanford Graduate School of Business - Moderator

Networks connect people as well as devices, and when they are cheap and easy to use, intellectual tasks can be broken out and performed elsewhere by other people. We are in the initial stages of distributed human thinking that can be directed at mental tasks the same way that surplus remote server rackspace or Web hosting accommodate sudden spikes in Internet traffic. Among the many firms leading the charge are InnoCentive, which offer rewards of $5,000 to $1 million to solve challenges ranging from designing self-cleaning kitchen sponges to creating a new molecule or biomarker. Marketplaces like Amazon's Mechanical Turk offer "HITs" -- human intelligence tasks -- for sale one unit at a time, from as low as $0.01 for boring and repetitive work to as high as $10.00 for more demanding tasks. Imagine a future in which passengers on a subway train stare into screens even for just a few minutes and earn as much money in that time as their respective skills and stations allow. Zittrain will discuss the prospects and issues for this future in which human computing is ubiquitous and nearly any mental act can be bought and sold.

Location: Palo Alto Arts Center, 1313 Newell Rd., Palo Alto
Time: 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing
Cost: $12 members, $20 non-members
Also know: In association with the Yale Club of Silicon Valley. Zittrain will be speaking in SF on Nov 19