Stanford Peace Innovation Lab

Jinxia's and Piero's interviews

Forthcoming Interviews

We also requested interviews with

  • Karen Guttieri - no reply
  • BJ Fogg - no reply
  • Steven Pinker - will be at Stanford in 2018
  • Francis Fukuyama - no reply
  • Ian Morris - no reply
  • Ashish Goel - no reply
  • Paul Iske - no reply
  • Freedom Cheteni - no reply
  • Kristina Niedderer - no reply
  • John Perry - no reply
  • William Perry - no reply
  • Sheldon Himelfarb - no reply
  • Bill Burnett - no reply
  • Micah Lande - no reply
  • Annie Gentes - no reply
  • David Graeber - no reply
  • David Lazer - no reply
  • Brian Martin - no reply


September 12: Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks is a Professor of Classics at Stanford and a member of the Center for Design Research in Stanford's Michael was a codirector of the Stanford Humanities Lab (2005-2009), and Stanford Revs Program (2010-2015).

August 24: Sharad Goel

Sharad Goel is an assistant professor at Stanford in the Department of Management Science & Engineering (in the School of Engineering) with courtesy appointments in Sociology and Computer Science. His primary area of research is computational social science, an emerging discipline at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and the social sciences. He's particularly interested in applying modern computational and statistical techniques to study social and political policies, such as stop-and-frisk, swing voting, filter bubbles, do-not-track, and media bias. Before joining Stanford, Sharad was a senior researcher at Microsoft Research and Yahoo Labs.

What we learned

  • Computation does not replace field work. Technology should not distract from the problem that one has to solve. First comes the problem, then the technology.

August 22: Claudio Cioffi

Claudio Cioffi is Professor of Computational Social Science, founding and former Chair of the Department of Computational Social Science, and founding and current Director of the Mason Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University. His areas of special interest include quantitative, mathematical, and simulation models applied to complex human and social systems. He currently teaches courses on Origins of Social Complexity, Complexity Theory for Computational Social Science, and Introduction to CSS. In 2002 he designed and initiated the Mason Ph.D. program in Computational Social Sciences, the first program in the country with this specific focus. While serving at the State Department during 2006-2007 as a Jefferson Science Fellow of the National Academy of Science, he developed "polichart analysis", a cartographic modeling method he invented for visualization and analysis of complex spatial patterns in socio-political data. He has published four books. As a Jefferson Science Fellow, he remains engaged with the State Department through the Office of Geographic and Global Issues, the Humanitarian Intervention Unit, and the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State.

What we learned

  • Introduction to computational social science (first chapter)
  • Notation is essential to organize knowledge in a proper systematic way, e.g. Unified Modeling Language
  • Collaborative technology is needed for social-science researchers
  • Time-series analysis can discover underlying dynamics in interactions
  • Game theory has contributed significantly to computational peace studies

August 21: Steve Omohundro

Steve Omohundro founded Possibility Research and Self-Aware Systems to develop beneficial intelligent technologies. He has degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Physics from Berkeley. He was a computer science professor at the University of Illinois and cofounded the Center for Complex Systems Research. He published the book "Geometric Perturbation Theory in Physics", designed the A.I. programming languages StarLisp and Sather, wrote the 3D graphics system for Mathematica, invented many machine learning algorithms (including manifold learning, model merging, bumptrees, and family discovery), and built systems that learn to read lips, control robots, and induce grammars. He's done internationally recognized work on AI safety and strategies for its beneficial development. He is on the advisory board of AI startups AIBrain and Cognitalk, and is past chairman of the Silicon Valley ACM Special Interest Group in AI. He is also on the advisory board of blockchain startup Dfinity and the Institute for Blockchain Studies. See for example his Presentation on Deep Learning for Business and TED talk on A.I.

What we learned

  • Non-violent communication, founded by Marshall Rosenberg
  • Replika is a chatbot that learns your chat style so it can mimic your online behavior (a "memorial" chatbot because it can even replicate a dead person). This can be used to clone your own style of communication, and show you how you appear to others.
  • There is a whole branch of AI, sentiment analysis, that studies the "mood" of a sentence.
  • An AI could potentially "correct" the emails/chats that you are typing and translate your rude style into a more empathetic style.
  • The very first AI chatbot, ELIZA, was an empathizer.
  • At the same time empathy can be weaponized (Cambridge Analytics learned to empathize with social-media users and exploited them)
  • Empathy can arise from the direct experience of somebody else's reality.
  • Technology should start by empathizing with users: empathy of communicating with the computer, with the user's needs. If the user interface cannot empathize with its user, how can we trust that the software will create empathy among users.
  • The mediating technology has to behave like a monk: interpret the views of the two parties in a conflict at a higher level of abstraction.
  • Piero's counter-argument: conflict is more monetizable than no-conflict, therefore there is a vested economic interest in creating and amplifying conflict. Conflict is addiction like tobacco and pollutant like industrial pollution. There is an economic value in the addiction and pollution of conflict.
  • Technology creates echo chambers that increase conflict. We need technology that will reward the opposite of the echo chamber: listening to other's views.
  • We need technology that can promote empathy as a socially desirable role like "no smoking" and "recycle".
  • Piero's counter-argument. Social-media platforms need to monetize the social interactions, and therefore their algorithms will propagate both real and fake news if they generate revenues. The algorithm cannot distinguish between real and fake, but it can easily count revenues. What is true on a social-media platform is what makes money for that platform.
  • Trust is vulnerable. Trust generates revenues: consumers read reviews and are influenced by them. Therefore businesses are interested in twisting those reviews to their advantage. Firms that control those reviews are under pressure to accept "bribes" to alter the visibility of positive reviews. Review platforms can become extortion platforms: "pay a fee and we'll push positive reviews to the top, cancel and we'll push the negative reviews to the top". There is economic pressure to break any trust system.

August 21: Parag Khanna

Parag Khanna is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of several books, most recently of "Hybrid Reality" (2012) and "Connectography" (2016). From 2006-2015 he was a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation. During 2007 he served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senior geopolitical adviser to United States Special Operations Forces. From 2002-5, he was the Global Governance Fellow at the Brookings Institution; from 2000-2002 he worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva; and from 1999-2000, he was a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has been a Senior Fellow of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS, Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Distinguished Visitor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin, Next Generation Fellow of the American Assembly, Visiting Fellow at the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, Non-Resident Associate of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and a Visiting Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Time, Foreign Affairs, Forbes, The Atlantic, Quartz, Foreign Policy, Harper's, BusinessWeek, etc. In 2008, Parag was named one of Esquire's "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century," and featured in WIRED magazine's "Smart List."

What we learned

  • Functional integration leads to trust.
  • Conflict arises from a mixmatch among people, resources, boundaries.
  • Political devolution/fragmentation (the number of countries quadrupled since 1945) has increased chances of conflict.
  • Connectivity overcomes the conflict.
  • Transnational infrastructure of connectivity: transportation, energy, communication
  • This transnational infrastructure changes the incentives of political groups: a country may spend money to support the currencies of other countries currencies, countries may share the same electrical grid, etc
  • Initiatives like the new Silk Road become marketplaces for transnational governance.
  • Rise of functional geography (Internet, telephony, oil pipelines) on top of physical geography.
  • Indirectly, the process of political devolution/fragmentation causes the disappearance of autarchy
  • Connectivity physically embeds interdependent governance of transnational infrastructure
  • A new layer of bureaucracy

August 16: Ken Taylor

Ken Taylor was the chair of the department of philosophy at Stanford University from 2001 to 2009. Professor Taylor specializes in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. His interests include semantics, reference, naturalism, and relativism. He is the author of numerous articles, which have appeared in journals such as Nos, Philosophical Studies, and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and two books, Truth and Meaning: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Blackwell Publishers) and Reference and the Rational Mind (CSLI Publications). He is the co-host, with John Perry, of the radio program Philosophy Talk. His newest book, Referring to the World: An Introduction to the Theory of Reference, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

What we learned

  • Normativity: social technology for coordinating people
  • Conflicts arise when norms collide
  • Norms change when we "encounter" the other
  • Technology for peace would be a technology that helps "de-otherize" the other
  • We tend to demonize those outside our circle, the "other". Technology for peace should expand that circle and induce global solidarity.
  • Social life has three stages: rejection (eg homophobia), begrudging tolerance (e.g., heteronormative) and positive affirmation
  • Normative structures that foster collaboration (not just coordination) are those that induce a transition from tolerance to affirmation
  • The "thorough normative community" is one in which the rational powers of one are resources for all.
  • The Symbolic Systems Program trains the technology leaders of the future: it is liberal arts for the 21st century. We under-educate technology leaders.
  • Technology is just a tool. It operates in a society shaped by norms. Technology affords opportunities, elicits behavior. Technology is an "independent pressure point". It is both a constraint and an enabler.
  • To deal with complex problems we need to redesign civil society.
  • Paper: "Where norms come from"

August 9: Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology, and professor of neurology and neurological sciences and, by courtesy, neurosurgery, at Stanford University. His books include: Stress, the Aging Brain, and the Mechanisms of Neuron Death (MIT Press, 1992), Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers (1994), The Trouble with Testosterone And Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament (Scribner, 1997), Junk Food Monkeys (Headline Publishing, 1997), A Primate's Memoir (Touchstone Books, 2002), Monkeyluv And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals (Scribner, 2005), Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017).

What we learned

  • Think of other individuals as individuals
  • Technology can boost peace if it helps empathize with the lives of others: a stranger is an individual just like you
  • Drone operators who follow and kill terrorists remotely suffer from PTSD just like foot soldiers because they get to know the terrorist as an individual as they follow his daily life
  • Immersive technology versus anonymity technology (statistics)
  • Technology that makes people more familiar with the other rather than technology the simply invades people's lives
  • Technology that foster cultural translation, so that people can appreciate, value and respect each other's symbols
  • Wisdom of the crowd
  • Watch: C-span inteview about his book "Behave"
  • Read: "Why your brain hates other people"

July 21: Ade Mabogunje

Ade Mabogunje conducts research on the design thinking process with a view to instrumenting and measuring the process and giving feedback to design thinking teams on ways to improve their performance. He works in collaboration with partners in the engineering education, design practice and investment community as a participant-observer in the practice of building and developing ecosystems that support accelerated and continuous innovation in products and services. Prior to this he was the associate director of the Stanford Center for Design Research (CDR). He was also the lead of the Real-time Venture Design Lab program (ReVeL) in the school of Humanities and Sciences. His industry experience includes engineering positions at the French Oil Company Elf (now Total) and research collaboration with Artificial Intelligence Scientists at NASA Ames. He has publications in the areas of design theory and methodology, knowledge management, emotions in engineering, design protocol analysis, and engineering-design education.

What we learned

  • Humans are designers, they design things
  • Design is about measuring feedback
  • There are seven basic measurements in the hard sciences: what are the basic measurements of innovation?
  • The design coach, who guides the designers (e.g., the venture capitalist)
  • Entrepreneurs are storytellers
  • PIl designs a good that is positive engagement
  • PIL designs systematic innovation
  • Someone else's interview: An interview

  • His article on "The New Economics of Innovation Ecosystems " (quote: "Trust, particularly between diverse strangers, can influence standards of living")

July 24: Allen Weiner

Allen Weiner is Director of the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law and Co-Director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation. His scholarship focuses on international law and the response to the contemporary security threats of international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and situations of widespread humanitarian atrocities. He also explores the relationship between international and domestic law in the context of asymmetric armed conflicts between the United States and nonstate groups and the response to terrorism. In the realm of international conflict resolution, his highly multidisciplinary work analyzes the barriers to resolving violent political conflicts, with a particular focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Weiner's scholarship is deeply informed by experience; he practiced international law in the U.S. Department of State for more than a decade advising government policymakers, negotiating international agreements and representing the United States in litigation before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice and the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.

What we learned

  • Intractable conflicts are conflicts in which each party thinks that success by the other party would threaten survival. They are existential conflicts.
  • Two main factors cause conflict: competing interests and threats to identity
  • Conflicts may escalate due to irrational distrust (distrust that causes both to lose)
  • The barrier: the "enemy" relationship, not just adversarial relationship (the enemy is demonized)
  • What modality of presenting data would be pro-social?
  • Peace and Justice: just causes for going to war; just conduct in war (eg, prisoners of war); just aims of war (inconditional surrender? withdrawal?); just post-war behavior (reparations? reconstruction?)
  • Conflict resolution = achievement of a mutually bearable shared future
  • Strategy for conflict resolution: each party should try and articulate the other party's narrative
  • Technology doesn't help when it simply create an echo chamber. Technology may stir more conflict than reconciliation.
  • Lee Ross: Barriers to Conflict Resolution
  • Lee Ross: Relationships between Adversaries

July 4: Gote Nyman

Gote Nyman is a Professor of Psychology at University of Helsinki (UH), retired from UH, but still working both at UH and Aalto University and collaborating with Stanford. He is the founder of the research group POEM (Psychology of Evolving Media and technology, at the University of Helsinki. Nyman has been Dean, Head of Department and founder of the cognitive science program at UH. He is a long-time member of the Finnish Pattern Recognition Society (Hatutus) and has published about 200 scientific writings and articles and four books together with his colleagues. He has received national and international awards for his work. He has published a book titled "Perceptions of a Camino".

What we learned

  • He had access to a large dataset of chats (project Citizen Mindscapes managed by Krista Lagus ). This is an interesting case study: the data are qualitative, not quantitative.
  • Piero's thoughts (not verbatim what Gote said): P
  • P: The issue is how to turn qualitative data (noncomputational) into quantitative data (computational)
  • P: We need a methodology to tag the chats so that they can be fed into a computer.
  • P: Then we need an algorithm to identify the signal of conflict in a chat or group of chats (disagreement is not conflict: when does it become conflict?)
  • P: Then we need an algorithm to determine if the conflict is increasing or decreasing over time between those two people
  • P: The algorithm may be able to prevent conflict: which pattern of conversation is likely to end in conflict?
  • P: The algorithm should also be able to calculate, based on something like pattern recognition, which action can reduce the chance of conflict
  • P: The problem is that the algorithm has to be customized for each person because each person has different behavior in the face of disagreement.
  • P: The goal is a phase transition to a balanced state in which the perception of the self and the perception of the other are in equilibrium.
  • Nyman: The individual has to realize that we are in a permanent state of entanglement (like in quantum mechanics).
  • Nyman: It is important to model networks at different levels because we are connected in multiple ways to others
  • If we cannot represent the ways in which people connect, we cannot understand their conflicts, prevent them, solve them.
  • Peace = relationships among people
  • The relationships/connections are also dynamic (change over time), not static.
  • Application of peace methodology: crisis management (done by "peace negotiators")
  • Piero: conflict is a reaction, not an action, which then becomes an interaction
  • Piero thinks that conflict in conversation can be due to several different levels of lack of information: hard data may be missing (eg an argument about how many votes you got in a presidential election), statistics may be missing (eg an argument about older people voting for conservative candidates), reputable sources may be missing (eg quoting a scientist in an argument about climate change), the broader context may be missing (is the USA good or bad for peace?).

June 16 (skype): Don Norman

Don Norman is director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego, and an honorary Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) in their College of Design and Innovation. He has served as a faculty member at Harvard Univ, Northwestern Univ, and KAIST (South Korea). His formal education was in Electrical Engineering and Psychology. Norman is the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman group, a User Experience/Usability consulting firm, an IDEO fellow and a member of the Board of Trustees of IIT's Institute of Design in Chicago. He now serves on the boards and as advisor to companies and organizations. He was an executive at Apple and at HP. His emphasis is on design strategy: how designers and design thinking can help drive both incremental and radical innovation within a company. He is the author of "Living with Complexity" and "The Design of Everyday Things"

What we learned

June 15: Paolo Parigi

Paolo Parigi is a network scholar interested in understanding the tension between change, a fundamental part of individual life, and stability, a fundamental aspect of the social structures individuals build with their interactions. He has expanded his research to study interpersonal trust as a key mechanism for facilitating relationships, and, in particular, he has studied the sharing economy.

What we learned

  • First time in history we have data on individual-to-individual interactions because computing technology mediates interactions
  • We can design online "field" experiments
  • we cannot remove risk from interactions but we can minimize it
  • Reputation and trust are contextualized: they don't automatically transfer to other domains
  • Reputation platforms can also overcome biases
  • Trust is required when there is risk. Blockchain, for example, is not about trust but about coordination.
  • Potential danger of reputation platforms: too much information about strangers creates weaker social ties (no need to be real friends)
  • Piero: What is the difference between recommendation algorithms (that create "trust" between a consumer and a brand) and trust algorithms? They both facilitate interactions among strangers, measure behavior, and result in a financial transaction. The only difference is that the trust algorithm broadcasts your reputation to everybody.
  • Lecture on trust
  • Joe Gebbia's TED talk How we design for trust
  • Paper with Karen Cook: Online Field Experiment

June 13: Neeraj Sonalkar

Neeraj Sonalkar is Research Associate at Stanford's Center for Design Research. The question that motivates his research is: how do engineering design team co-create new product possibilities? His research is focused on investigating how team behavior influences the generation and propagation of ideas into products. The Human Innovation Engineering group at the Center for Design Research conducts empirical and field research oriented towards acceleration of radical innovation by teams, organizations and regional ecosystems. We study and model how humans innovate both at the interpersonal interaction level and at the broader level of an organization or a regional innovation ecosystem such as the Silicon Valley. This research furthers our understanding of innovation as the outcome of an integrated system spanning individual mindset, interpersonal interaction dynamics, and the underlying physical, institutional, financial and knowledge infrastructure.

What we learned

  • Full text of the interview
  • A language for innovation that they call Interactions Dynamics Notation
  • paper
  • How to model interaction between people
  • Division of labor for innovation ('venture development')
  • Exploring the relationship among technology, society and business
  • New methods of developing ecosystems of innovation
  • Innovation ecosystem = team collaboration
  • A factory that produces 100s of startups
  • Discover the needs of a city and model them
  • The city is a living organism: needs change, tech changes
  • Cooperative design thinking
  • John Arnold at Stanford (1959) taught creativity to engineers and formed a design group
  • The behaviorial side of innovation: how do teams get together to create innovation
  • Recipe model vs No-recipe model (when the recipe is not relevant anymore)
  • "Invent" is the no-recipe model, inventing is about generating new ideas, and this is what great design teams do
  • IDN is the notation to describe this project
  • Influenced by cognitive semiotics, Ade Mabogunje's Real-time Venture Design Lab program (ReVeL), and by Leonard Talmy's "Force Dynamics in Language and Cognition" (1988)
  • Summary of Force Dynamics:
  • Force Dynamics was a visual language for narratives
  • Eg, sustainable entrepreneurship: generate new ideas and experience, learn from failures
  • detour: consequence-driven logic vs identity-based logic (great visionary leaders are driven by values) - see James March
  • But also very influenced by improvisational theater and jazz improvisation
  • In 2011 Sonalkar adapted it to interaction: response-based (what is the response of the other members of the team to an idea) and capture visually the dynamics of interaction
  • Lucy Suchman studied user behavior at Xerox PARC (she wrote The problem of human-machine
  • communication in 1985 republished in 2007 with additional chapters) and then came to Stanford to study design behavior
  • IDN+Machine Learning = best practices of interaction (or at least interaction patterns)
  • He is willing to write a chapter of the book

May 31 and August 4: Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is an award-winning game designer with 20 years of experience in designing videogames for various game consulting firms, and is the game designer in residence at Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab.

What we learned

  • Game design thinking is the intersection of game-design science, behavior design, and neuroscience
  • MDAO framework: mechanics -> dynamics -> aesthetics -> outcome but played in reverse: first define the outcomes, then derive the aesthetics (what would engage the player, stimulate her emotions), then select the appropriate mechanics
  • Skeptic on the use of design thinking, hence neuroscience: intrinsic motivation is driven by emotions and it is now possible to measure brain activity
  • The purpose of prototyping is to make it fail and then study why it failed
  • Gamification failed

May 30 (Mill Valley): Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold worked at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Xerox PARC. He worked on and wrote about the earliest personal computers. "Tools for Thought" (1985) was a history of the people behind the personal computer. He explored the experience of the WELL in "The Virtual Community". Also in 1985, Rheingold coauthored "Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker's Guide to Computer Security" with Bill Landreth. He wrote "Virtual Reality: Exploring the Brave New Technologies of Artificial Experience and Interactive Worlds from Cyberspace to Teledildonics" (1991). Rheingold was hired on as founding executive editor of HotWired, one of the first commercial content web sites published in 1994 by Wired magazine. Rheingold then founded Electric Minds in 1996. In 1998, he created the virtual community Brainstorms, a private webconferencing community for knowledgeable, intellectual, civil, and future-thinking adults from all over the world. Rheingold published "Smart Mobs" (2002), exploring the potential for technology to augment collective intelligence. Shortly thereafter, in conjunction with the Institute for the Future, Rheingold launched an effort to develop a broad-based literacy of cooperation. In 2008 Rheingold became the first research fellow at the Institute for the Future. Rheingold is a visiting lecturer in Stanford University's Department of Communication where he teaches two courses, "Digital Journalism" and "Virtual Communities and Social Media". He is a lecturer in U.C. Berkeley's School of Information where he teaches "Virtual Communities and Social Media" and where he previously taught "Participatory Media/Collective Action".

May 25 (Skype): Steven Dow

Steven Dow is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego where he researches human-computer interaction, social computing, and creativity. Steven received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2015 for research on "advancing collective innovation." He was co-PI on three other National Science Foundation grants, a Google Faculty Grant, Stanford's Postdoctoral Research Award, and the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Grant. Steven was on the faculty in the HCI Institute at CMU from 2011-2015. He holds an MS and PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from University of Iowa. See FULL CV, PORTFOLIO, RESEARCH STATEMENT, the PROTOLAB research group, and the DESIGN LAB.

What we learned

  • Steve Dow's Stanford talk of May 2017
  • Critique of design as an individual endeavour: the community has to participate. Design thinking + Crowdsourcing.
  • We need design practices and technology to support the creativity of crowds. We need to teach design effectively to the general public and motivate the public to participate in solving their problems.
  • Improving crowd innovation with expert facilitation
  • More interested in qualitative data than quantitative ones: interviews are the main tool. Tag salient moments in the interview. Generate metadata for analysis. Emphasize different perspectives. Possibly also self-interviews.
  • His pilot project is the students interviewing other students: June 9 is the presentation. Then they will roll out a project for the city: an innovation challenge. Call for innovation ideas. Interviews will be collected throughout the summer and presented at a October 26 city event organized by Don Norman. He should have preliminary results at the end of September that he is willing to share.
  • His approach could apply to peace innovation because it focuses on: exposing people to other points of view; visualizing the crux of the conflict; consensus building.

May 19 (Skype): Anne Riechert

Anne Riechert is co-founder and managing director at ReDI School of Digital Integration in Berlin. From 2006-2009 she worked as creative lead and corporate social responsibility consultant for the Copenhagen-based brand strategy company Stoic. In July 2010, Anne moved to Japan, when she was entrusted with the prestigious Rotary Peace Fellowship. In 2012 Anne moved to Berlin to set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab in collaboration with Stanford University. In response to the refugee crises, Anne co-founded Refugees on Rails in the summer of 2015, to help integrate refugees in to the European tech scene."

What we learned

  • Full text of the interview
  • Cities are always unfinished and incomplete projects
  • Work on a local challenge in order to engage citizens who have a vested interested in finding a solution
  • She had no peace data because of the political challenge to collect data (European Union restrictions on data sharing)
  • City labs need a clear contract from Stanford. Without a contract the city lab is liable when using the Stanford name.
  • We need to create sustainable and replicable citizens platforms
  • But skeptic about open innovation platforms that don't involve face-to-face interaction: the quality of the conversation and of education tends to be low, and the degree of engagement by the participants tends to be low
  • Open IDEO seems to be the only open innovation platform with critical mass
  • Nobody else working on the triangle of Tech, Innovation and Peace but schools of human-centered design like the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design indirectly train students to work in that space

Manuela Travaglianti

Manuela Travaglianti is a Lecturer in the Peace and Conflict Studies and the Global Studies program at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. She studies the the effectiveness of electoral violence prevention programs through experimental and qualitative methods. She teaches classes on post-conflict peace building and global studies in Africa, and advise undergraduate senior capstones in peace and conflict studies. She has collaborated with the United States Institute of Peace. Prior to joining UC Berkeley she was a graduate fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation.

What we learned

  • Do the new mediating technologies increase polarization? Manuela is studying the negative effects of mediating technologies.
  • Manuela disagrees with the "contact hypothesis", or Intergroup Contact Theory. The contact hypothesis says that the best way to improve relations among groups that are experiencing conflict is for them to have contacts. This theory originated with Gordon Allport's "The Nature of Prejudice" (1954). Studies such as the one by Thomas Pettigrew and Linda Tropp (2000: 94% of the time conflict diminishes as intergroup contact increase) lent it credence.
  • Piero: we value competition (a society where everybody does the same thing and has the same life would be pretty boring). But competition is the beginning of conflict. How do we achieve cooperation in societies that promote competition? If evolution is a struggle for survival, why are we still capable of altruism? Manuela: institutions should control competition.

Robert Horn

Robert Horn, who in 2015 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), the Thomas Gilbert Award from the International Society for Performance and Instruction, and the Donald N. Michael Award, is a political scientist with a special interest in public policy, organizational strategy, and knowledge management. Bob was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, where he wrote Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century. Bob has also taught at Harvard and Columbia, US, and Sheffield (U.K.) universities. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Information Mapping, Inc., an international consulting and software company. He is also a member of the International Futures Forum, a policy think tank, and president of the Meridian International Institute on Governance, Leadership Learning and the Future. He is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

What we learned

  • A lengthy summary of the two conversations
  • Definition of social mess
  • A reading list of interesting messes
  • A discussion on state transition phases (Piero's email to Mark): A problem does not exist in a vacuum: it is usually an element of a bigger context, in which one problem influences many other. Operating on the individual problem affects all connected problems. In many cases the correct approach is to work on all problems at the same time, reorganizing the whole rather than simply replacing a defective part. In such cases the solution consists in a phase transition, from one state of equilibrium to a new one. When the phase transition takes place, the solution has become more sustainable. Compare with your cybernetic loop: when does it end? Bob was asking: what are the indicators that you use to decide that you reached a sustainable state of peace? In a sense your cybernetic loop should be multidimensional, an intricate 3D loop resembling a multilayered neural network. A different mathematical way to express this concept is to imagine that peace if a nonlinear function f(x) that we want to maximize. Often the only practical way to work on a nonlinear system is to use some simulation method. It turns out that neural networks are universal simulators (proven independently in 1989 by George Cybenko and Kurt Hornik) i.e. de facto what they do is: to maximize a function. Not sure what the bottom line is (still thinking) but there might be a correlation between an extended version of your cybernetic loop, transition phases in physics, and neural networks.

Rosanna Guadagno

Rosanna Guadagno is a social psychologist who conducts research at Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab and who teaches Emerging Media and Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas. She was previously at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at UC Santa Barbara and served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation for three programs. Her work has been widely published in scholarly journals and covered by mass media. Her forthcoming book is "Why We Click: The Psychology of Social Media."

What we learned

Margarita Quihuis

Margarita Quihuis is co-director of Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab. A behavior designer, social entrepreneur and mentor capitalist, her career has focused on innovation, technology incubation, access to capital and entrepreneurship. Her accomplishments include being the first director of Astia (formerly known as the Women's Technology Cluster), a business incubator where her portfolio companies raised $67 million in venture funding, venture capitalist, Reuters Fellow at Stanford, and Director of RI Labs for Ricoh Innovations. She is a recognized thought leader in the areas of innovation, emergent social behavior and technology and has been part of Deloitte's On Social Roundtable and Aspen Institute's Dialogue on Open Innovation and Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology. In 2004, Women's eNews named her as one of their '21 Leaders for the 21st Century' and was one of WITI's Women to Watch in 2003.

Mark Nelson

Mark Nelson is co-director of Stanford's Peace Innovation Initiative. A former relief-worker, investment banker, and social entrepreneur, Mark Nelson founded the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, where he researches mass collaboration and mass interpersonal persuasion. Mark focuses on designing, catalyzing, incentivizing, and generating resources to scale up collective positive human behavior change. He has described a functional, quantitative definition of peace, in terms of technology-mediated engagement episode quantity and quality across social difference lines; he has identified innovative, automated ways to measure peace, both at the neighborhood and global level; and he has developed a formal structural description for peace data. He leads the Global Open Social Sensor Array Project, and designs technology interventions to measurably increase positive, mutually beneficial engagement across conflict boundaries. Mark's mission is to create an entire new, profitable industry, where positive peace is delivered as a service. other projects include epic global challenge and peace markets. mark is also a researcher and practitioner at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and a member of Stanford's Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory.

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