Local Voices Network

03/02 Tuesday | 5pm

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We live in an age of social media and polarized broadcast media in which the loudest voices and most extreme opinions — often about issues that are distant from everyday concerns of most people — dominate. The Local Voices Network is an initiative that aims to create a new space for nuanced, constructive communication with the goal of surfacing underheard voices and connecting disparate communities. To achieve this, the network combines small-group facilitated conversation with advanced digital technologies and sense-making techniques. Deb Roy will provide an overview of the effort, share some examples of the system in use, and sketch some directions ahead.

Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication and is Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems.

Roy is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social venture that is developing and operating the Local Voices Network to foster constructive public conversations across political and cultural divides. Roy was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.

An author of over 160 academic papers, his popular TED talk Birth of a Word presents his research on his son’s language development that led to new ideas in media analytics.

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