20 September 2022
12:15 - 13:00

Can the internet serve the public?

A lunch-and-learn session on how the internet could be reimagined to support public good

Join Opencast for a special lunch-and-learn session on Tuesday 20 September with Bill Thompson, technology journalist and head of public value research at BBC R&D, on how the internet could be reimagined to support the delivery of public good.

The online event is broadcast on Zoom from Opencast's Newcastle HQ. Zoom access details will be provided on registration. To join the event register on Eventbrite.

Event running order

12.15-12.35 – presentation from Bill Thompson
12.35-13.00 – Q&A .

Our speaker

Bill Thompson has been working online since 1985 and thinking about the future of the internet for almost as long. He is part of the team involved in creating the North East Technology Hub at the BBC’s Newcastle office.

About Bill's talk

Since its creation in 1983, the internet has developed in ways that naturally reflect the cultural, economic, and political perspectives of the people, companies, communities and governments who use, influence and control it.

Perhaps the internet’s very success can make it appear ‘perfect’ or ‘just the way it is’, but there’s nothing elemental about this complex collection of interconnected networks and how it has been used: it was created to work in a certain way and emphasise certain things, and the billions of people who use it every day have to live with the consequences of engineering, technical, and political decisions made throughout its history.

Unfortunately the network wasn’t developed with requirements of public service organisations like the BBC in mind, and as a result there are aspects of today’s network that make it harder to deliver public service outcomes than commercial ones - advertising is easy, creating safe online spaces for debate remains hard.

If we can imagine a better network, then we can build it. And if we can persuade other people to use our code, then that network can become the network.

Read Bill's blog for Opencast: can the internet serve the public?

To join Bill's talk online on Tuesday 20 September, register on Eventbrite.