After the Digital Tornado


November 17-18, 2017

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA






Networks powered by algorithms are eating everything. Many contemporary technology trends—Internet of Things, Big Data, Platform Economy, Blockchain, and Algorithmic Society—are manifestations of this larger phenomenon. Growing tensions around governance, innovation, surveillance, competition, consumer/worker protection, privacy, and discrimination are best understood within a broader frame. The algorithmic networked world poses deep questions about power, freedom, fairness, and human agency.


Twenty years ago, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued the working paper, "Digital Tornado," one of the first examinations by a government agency of the transformative potential of the internet. Today we find ourselves in a world where little remains untouched by the wave of digital connectivity. Yet fundamental questions remain unresolved, and new questions have emerged. Through the conference and associated edited volume, a distinguished interdisciplinary group of scholars will consider the challenges and opportunities as the physical and digital worlds merge.