News Column

New America's X-Lab Announces Inaugural Class of Fellows

August 18, 2014



WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 -- The New America Foundation issued the following news release:

New America's X-Lab is pleased to announce its first cohort of fellows, an international group of technologists, policy experts, and human rights advocates from a diverse array of backgrounds. X-Lab fellows are partnering with the core group at X-Lab for a 1-year period beginning August, 2014 to analyze the implications of near-future technological breakthroughs and formulate positive intervention strategies for these coming tech-policy battles.

"We're extremely excited to have such an extraordinary initial class of fellows working with X-Lab," said Sascha Meinrath, Director of X-Lab. "Each fellow has a proven track record of independent and innovative thought leadership and brings a wealth of expertise to our upcoming initiatives."

The following individuals will serve as X-Lab fellows:

Ben Armstrong, Director, WellDone International. Ben will research the political economy of distributed manufacturing. He is currently works with WellDone International, which produces open-source, modular hardware that monitors water systems in the developing world. He is also a PhD student at MIT studying the relationship between manufacturing technology, the labor market, and higher education.

Josh King, Lead Technologist, Open Technology Institute. Josh will work with X-Lab on the global implementation of the Commotion Wireless project. He is the Lead Technologist at the Open Technology Institute, where he develops and implements free and open source software and hardware, evaluates and interprets a wide range of published information on future trends for telecommunications and media, and supports the research infrastructure of an open Internet.

Benjamin Knight, Co-Founder, Loomio. Ben will work with X-Lab and co-fellow Pia Mancini on creating a scalable collective deliberation and decision making platform for all levels of participatory democracy. Ben Knight is a co-founder of Loomio, an online tool for collaborative decision-making built by a team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand. Ben has an academic background in the evolution of collective intelligence, a practical background in grassroots community organizing, and a passion for the potential of technology to spur positive social change.

James Losey, doctoral candidate with the School of International Studies and the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. At X-Lab, James will research issues related to the control of communications, digital craftsmanship, and internet freedom. He has worked with New America's Open Technology Institute since 2009 on a variety of information policies, and was Google Policy Fellow with the Global Network Initiative as well as a Consortium on Media Policy Studies fellow. In addition to his doctoral research at Stockholm University he is a 2014-2015 affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. "X-Lab offers a platform for exploring the issues that will impact tomorrow's internet," explains incoming X-Lab fellow James Losey. "I am looking forward to joining this collective of innovative thinkers."

Pia Mancini, Co-Founder, Democracy OS. Pia will work with X-Lab and co-Fellow Benjamin Knight on creating a scalable collective deliberation and decision making platform for all levels of participatory democracy. A political scientist by training, Pia is co-founder and director of Net Democracy. She is also a peer and co-founder of The Net Party, President of arteBA's Young Committee. "I am very excited at the opportunity of working together with an amazing team for a cause that in my mind and in my heart it's undoubtedly worth fighting for: our right not to be commodified, spied upon and controlled through the technology we use."

Carolina Rossini, Vice President for International Rights and Strategy at Public Knowledge. Carolina will work with X-Lab on understanding the policy environments impacting the implementation of the Commotion Project, as well as Internet Governance issues. Carolina has more than 13 years of experience in international law, negotiations of transactions, and policy, with a specific focus on internet, telecom, intellectual property, and human rights. Alongside her work at Public Knowledge, she is a Global Partners Digital International Associate (http://www.gp-digital.org/) and an advisory board member to various organizations with focus on free culture and digital rights.

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