John Clippinger


Supernova 2005
24 minutes, 11mb, recorded 2005-06-22
John Clippinger
On the last day of Supernova 2005, John Clippinger, Senior Fellow of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, spoke about his work at According to the website, "The goal of SocialPhysics is to help create a new commons, the 'social web.' The social web is a layer built on top of the Internet to provide a trusted way to link people, organizations, and concepts."

John approaches Social Physics from a multidisciplinary perspective drawing from theories of economics, philosophy, neurology and behavioral science. John discusses the role of trust in developing a social network. He suggests that centralized, authoritarian systems in networks are antithetical to non-hierarchical empathetic interaction on the Internet. Today, he says, individuals do not have the power to control their digital identity and what is needed are new roles to protect and empower those individuals on the edge, rather than at the center of networks. He suggests that by using systems of tagging (as a form of reputation) and empathy, people in networks are better able to meet those goals.

John says that markets are social networks; using tools like his open source software framework, Higgins, he and others are experimenting and creating new avenues for meta identity on the Internet.

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John Clippinger is a Senior Fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He is also the Chairman and co-founder of Parity Communications, Inc. Parity is the initiator of the SocialPhysics open source project. Prior to Parity, John co-founded LingoMotors, a software company for natural-language search. Previously, he was CEO of Context Media LLC, a knowledge management company, and Director, Intellectual Capital, at Coopers & Lybrand. He is the author/editor of The Biology of Business: Decoding the Natural Laws of Enterprise (Jossey Bass, 1999) and the forthcoming book: Moving to the Edge: Leveraging Trusted Networks. He holds six software patents, and is the author of several books and papers on technology strategy and policy, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics. John has received awards from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and has served as an advisor to the Department of State, FCC, OTA, NTIA and the White House. John is a graduate of Yale University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Senior Fellow at of the Aspen Institute, member of the Highland Forum, and The Santa Fe Institute.


This program is from the Supernova 2005 series.

For Team ITC:

  • Description editor: Jamie Nelson
  • Post-production audio engineer: Bruce Sharpe

This free podcast is from our Supernova series.