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What is InfoTech?

The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology (InfoTech) is an annual private seminar of business executives, government leaders, and visionaries. It examines the implications of emerging information technologies on societies, governments, communities and individuals, and the new leadership roles that are required.  Previous InfoTech topics include: “The Weightless Marketplace,” “Power-Curve Society,” “The Future of Work” and “The Promise and Peril of Big Data.”  Over the years many notable participants, including Madeleine Albright, Rod Beckstrom, John Seely Brown, Julius Genochowski, Mircea Geoana, Arjun Gupta, Reed Hundt, James Manyika, Craig Newmark and Hal Varian have attended InfoTech roundtables.

The current InfoTech theme is on the growth of intangible digital assets is the proliferation of peer-to-peer platforms that empowers consumers. The Roundtable is generously supported by senior sponsor McKinsey & Company, as well as the other attending sponsors of the 2014 Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program: Deloitte Center for the Edge, The Markle Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, Cisco Systems, PCIA, Reputation.com and John Kunzweiler.

This site displays the report that resulted from the 2014 InfoTech convening that took place in Aspen, Colorado, July 7-10. The series of chapters, written by rapporteur David Bollier, synthesize the ideas that emerged from participants during the three-day dialogue, aiming to develop a more sophisticated, timely understanding of the latest technology innovations affecting digital assets.

About the Communications and Society Program

The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields.  We provide a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy.  The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society. 

The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy.  Our activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.

Most conferences employ the signature Aspen Institute seminar format: approximately 25 leaders from diverse disciplines and perspectives engaged in roundtable dialogue, moderated with the goal of driving the agenda to specific conclusions and recommendations.  The program distributes our conference reports and other materials to key policymakers, opinion leaders and the public in the United States and around the world.  We also use the internet and social media to inform and ignite broader conversations that foster greater participation in the democratic process.

The Program’s Executive Director is Charles M. Firestone.  He has served in this capacity since 1989 and also as Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute.  Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was a communications attorney and law professor who has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court.  He is a former director of the UCLA Communications Law Program, first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, and an appellate attorney for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.