Conference to Spotlight How People And Machines Connect For Social Good

The GovLab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering Hosts Annual Collective Intelligence Conference

BROOKLYN, New York – Humans have relied upon collective intelligence — in which they work, learn and play in groups — since the Paleolithic Era. Today, collective intelligence is powered by the remote collaboration  among individuals and even between groups of computers: Wikipedia and Facebook are just two of the platforms that enable large numbers of people to work together in new ways; tech-enabled decision-making might make representative democracy obsolete; collective (“swarm”) intelligence among autonomous cars may one day relegate traffic jams to our collective memory.

But can group intelligence enabled by technology drive public good? At the fifth annual Collective Intelligence Conference, to be held this year at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering on June 15 and 16, experts in human computation, predictive analytics, public policy, social and behavioral sciences, civil and computer engineering, and institutional design will share insights and spotlight projects focused on collaborative problem-solving in the service of public interest. Founded by MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Thomas Malone, this year’s conference focuses on how collective intelligence can improve the ways in which we govern.

Professor Beth Simone Noveck, director of The NYU GovLab, is conference chair. Stanford University Computer Science Professor Michael Bernstein and Arizona State University Professor Erik Johnston, who specializes in policy infomatics, serve as co-chairs. The NYU Stern School of Business, the University of Michigan, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have hosted prior Collective Intelligence Conferences.

“This event represents a unique opportunity for top researchers and practitioners to explore the impact of the Internet and big data on the ways in which people exchange knowledge and skills online,” said Noveck. “The scope of research that will be presented here is stunning; the work that this diverse group of experts is doing has profound implications not just for how people connect and share information, but how the connection between groups of humans and machines can lead to more intelligent behavior and more effective problem-solving.”

With applicants from 21 countries, the two-day conference will feature panels and presentations by more than 40 top researchers and more than three dozen poster presentations. They will address issues such as global climate change, criminal justice, and education; explore methods of online collaboration including crowd-based forecasting and crowdsourcing; and examine new technology like blockchains.

Plenary sessions will address citizen innovation and government use of public participation. Speakers include:

  • Darlene Cavalier, founder of citizen-science platform SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former National Football League and National Basketball Association cheerleaders in STEM careers
  • Noshir Contractor, the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University
  • R. Luke DuBois, artist, musician, and co-director of Integrated Digital Media at NYU Tandon
  • Bernardo Huberman, noted distributed information researcher at Stanford University and formerly at HP Labs
  • Tom Kalil, former deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Dana Lewis, founder of #OpenAPS, the Artificial Pancreas System
  • MIT’s Malone, founder of its Center for Collective Intelligence
  • Lauren McCarthy, University of California, Los Angeles Design Media Arts
  • Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of U.K.-based National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA)

(See the full list of speakers and the program.)

“Collective intelligence holds vast potential to solve some of the most pressing challenges we face today,” said Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan. “It is a testament to The GovLab’s reputation for thought leadership that it was chosen to host the 2017 Collective Intelligence Conference. Their work exemplifies that service to society is not just an axiom at NYU Tandon but a motivating force for how we approach all aspects of engineering.”

Registration deadline is June 8. Student discounts are available. For more information or to register, visit Join the conversation on Twitter at #ciconf17 and @cicon17.

The Program Committee for the conference includes Sabine Brunswicker, Purdue University; Cesar Hidalgo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ece Kamar, Microsoft; Erin Krupka and Walter Lasecki of the University of Michigan; Matt Lease, University of Texas, Austin; Kurt Luther, Virginia Tech; Winter Mason, Facebook; Anita McGahan, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management; Geoff Mulgan, NESTA; Aaron Shaw, Northwestern University; Kate Starbird, University of Washington; Chris Welty, Google Research; Lixiu Yu, Bosch Research; and Haoqi Zhang, Northwestern University.

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, the country’s largest private research university, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit