Foreign Policy Top Global Thinkers of 2012 Include Three TAP Scholars

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on December 10, 2012

Foreign Policy, a print and online source for international politics and global affairs, includes three TAP scholars in their 100 Top Global Thinkers of 2012. The annual list, which includes such tech-savvy luminaries as Sebastian Thrun (creator of the driverless car), Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft), and Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal), "presents a unique portrait of 2012's global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them."
Here are the TAP scholars included in the Top Global Thinkers of 2012:
Daron Acemoglu
For showing it’s politics that makes states fail.
Professor Acemoglu and co-author James Robinson tackled one of history's most puzzling questions in their book Why Nations Fail. Based on fifteen years of original research, Acemoglu and Robinson’s book examines historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy. The authors show conclusively that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or the lack of it).
Daron Acemoglu is currently the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and winner of the 2005 John Bates Clark Medal. His principal interests are political economy, economic development, economic growth, technology, income and wage inequality, human capital and training, and labour economics.
danah boyd
For showing us that Big Data isn’t necessarily better data.
In their paper, “Critical Questions for Big Data,” danah boyd and co-author Kate Crawford ask if large-scale search data will help us create better tools, services, and public goods? Or will it usher in a new wave of privacy incursions and invasive marketing? The authors point out that how we handle the emergence of an era of Big Data is critical. While the phenomenon is taking place in an environment of uncertainty and rapid change, current decisions will shape the future.
danah boyd is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research; a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School; and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. She is also a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Dr. boyd is currently examining how teenagers develop a sense of privacy in light of engagement in highly public online settings. She is also exploring the role of technology in teens' risky behaviors by looking at a range of practices that include sexting, bullying, self-harm, and teen relationship violence.
Jonathan Zittrain
For staring down the Internet's enemies.
Jonathan Zittrain's 2008 book, The Future of the Internet -- and How to Stop It, focused on the threat that government regulators and companies, in their quest to address security problems and assert control, pose to digital freedom. It helped establish Professor Zittrain as the general counsel of the digital age. Zittrain has asked who the Internet's public and private gatekeepers are, how they're acting, and what that means for the future of the open web. To address these questions, he helped establish the OpenNet Initiative, which monitors Internet surveillance around the world, and Chilling Effects, which posts legal complaints about online activity. In May, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission tapped Professor Zittrain to chair a committee tasked with evaluating the agency's efforts to keep the Internet open and the telecommunications market competitive.
Jonathan Zittrain is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he co-founded its Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society. His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education.