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The Future of the Internet Summit is a daylong exploration of the technological moment we are in and what it will take to build a better Internet that serves the public good.


To launch the work of the Applied Social Media Lab, the Summit will host leading academics, cutting-edge technologists, and the first “digital President” Barack Obama for a frank conversation about how social media, generative AI, and other disruptive technologies both erode and support healthy democratic societies. The Summit will also examine how tech companies (and individual tech professionals) can best contribute to building technology that serves the public good.


The Summit will feature the following sessions and will be streamed live here on Wednesday, October 18.

Session 1

The Future of the Internet with President Barack Obama 

In a year of upheaval in the tech industry, President Obama will join Harvard Law, Computer Science, and Public Policy Professor and Berkman Klein Center Faculty Director Jonathan Zittrain in conversation with technologists who were at the center of the turmoil and have since directed their new career paths to serving the public good. From tech platforms grappling with rampant misinformation, to the massive shifts in the social media landscape  and the meteoric rise of generative AI, these industry veterans will give their firsthand account of the current state of affairs.


Technologists joining the President and Professor Zittrain in conversation are:

  • Yoel Roth: UPenn Knight Visiting Scholar; Former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter; former Berkman Klein Center Dangerous Speech Project Researcher.

  • Tracy Chou: CEO of Block Party, a startup focused on digital anti-abuse and anti-harassment tools; former Pinterest and Quora engineer; former technical consultant in the United States Digital Service in the Obama Administration.

  • Kasia Chmielinski: Berkman Klein Center Assembly Program alum and co-founder of the Data Nutrition Project, Practitioner Fellow at Stanford; formerly of Google, Zest AI, McKinsey, Mozilla; former member of the United States Digital Service in the Trump Administration.

Session 2

The Inaugural Sprints: Generative AI, Political Polarization, and More

DJ Patil (General Partner at GreatPoint Ventures and former White House Chief Data Scientist) will lead a discussion with the lab’s faculty leadership about the lab’s inaugural projects, exploring the technical details of those projects and the interplay with regulatory, economic, and social factors.

  • James Mickens: Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulsen School of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Latanya Sweeney: Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School and Director and Founder of the Public Interest Tech Lab

  • Lawrence Lessig: Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

Session 3

Navigating the Social Media Headwinds in 2024 and Beyond

As we head into a tumultuous year for social media, Nabiha Syed (CEO of The Markup) will discuss what’s possible – and what’s not – in the governance and media landscape with Martha Minow (300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard Law School) and Nancy Gibbs (Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics, and Public Policy and Faculty Director of the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School).