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Category Archives: Social Capital
Connectedness & The Digital Self: Jillian Ney
Connected Living: Michelle Tanmizi
Frederic Kaplan: How I built an information time machine
Imagine if you could surf Facebook … from the Middle Ages. Well, it may not be as far off as it sounds. In a fun and interesting talk, researcher and engineer Frederic Kaplan shows off the Venice Time Machine, a project to digitize 80 kilometers of books to create a historical and geographical simulation of Venice across 1000 years.
Frederic Kaplan seeks to digitize vast archives of historical information to make maps that move — through time.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Frederic Kaplan is the Digital Humanities Chair at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the EPFL’s Digital Humanities Lab Director. Kaplan leads the lab in applying computation to humanities research. His latest project is the Venice Time Machine, a collaborative work archiving 80 kilometers of books from throughout 1000 years of Venetician history. The goal of the time machine is to create an information system which can be searched and mapped. Think of it as a Google Maps for time.
Kaplan holds a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University Paris VI. He lives in Switzerland.
Seth Godin on making your small business indispensable
Toby Eccles: Invest in social change
Here’s a stat worth knowing: In the UK, 63% of men who finish short-term prison sentences are back inside within a year for another crime. Helping them stay outside involves job training, classes, therapy. And it would pay off handsomely — but the government can’t find the funds. Toby Eccles shares an imaginative idea for how to change that: the Social Impact Bond. It’s an unusual bond that helps fund initiatives with a social goal through private money — with the government paying back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work.
Toby Eccles has created a radical financial instrument that helps private investors contribute to solving thorny public problems.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
All too often, an ex-inmate walks out of prison with the exact same problems he or she walked in with: lack of skills, lack of support, no job. And they end up re-offending and back in jail. It’s an expensive problem to fix, but it’s a much more expensive one to ignore. A director at Social Finance in London, Toby Eccles explores the arbitrage between those two options.
In 2010, his pioneering Social Impact Bond allowed private investors to support a UK program targeting ex-prisoners who served short sentences (the limited government funding only goes to ex-inmates who served long terms). The £5m scheme, funded by 17 investors, supports training and support for 1,000 ex-inmates; if they re-offend less than a control group, the government will pay investors back, plus interest, through the savings accrued by achieving the program’s targets.
More such bonds are now being tried across the world, including in New York City and Massachusetts (both addressing recidivism), and extended to new fields such as development. Eccles founded Social Finance in 2007, and he oversees all of the firm’s social impact bond work, where, he says: “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.” “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.”
Smart cities for 11 billion people: Mitchell Joachim
The social brain and its superpowers: Matthew Lieberman, Ph.D.
Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman explains that through his studies he’s learned that our kryptonite is ignoring the importance of our social superpowers and by building on our social intuition, we can make ourselves smarter, happier, and more productive. In this TEDx Talk, Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience that reveals that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental than our need for food or shelter and that the social pain and pleasure we experience has just as much impact as physical pain and pleasure.