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Lawrence  Lessig

Lawrence Lessig

Harvard Law Professor, 2016 Presidential Candidate & the Internet’s Most Celebrated Lawyer

Biography

One of the most inspiring and visionary thought leaders of the digital age, Lawrence Lessig occupies a unique place at the intersection of transformative ideals, citizen activism and the future of the law, digital technologies, and democracy itself. His signature rapid-fire presentation style, known as the “Lessig Method” uses dynamic typography and thought-provoking visuals to seize attention and deeply inform. Read More >

A Harvard Law professor and New York Times bestselling author, Lessig first became known for developing the very foundations of internet law, allowing the sharing of copyrighted content. He has since taken on issues at the core of our system of government, particularly the impact of money on politics. His 2015 effort to enter the presidential campaign was a crusade for campaign finance reform with a clarion call to “fix democracy first.” Throughout his career, Lessig’s farseeing ideas and efforts have drawn support from some of America’s most important business and political leaders and garnered numerous honors and awards. He is one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries and was named to Fastcase 50 “honoring the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” In his latest venture, Lessig is lending his expertise to build the political framework for Seed, a new multiplayer online game in which characters populating a new planet collectively decide how they want to govern themselves.

A popular speaker on the coveted TED main stage, each of his three TED talks have more than one million views online. Known for his compelling, personal and completely non-partisan content, Lessig’s presentations leave audiences informed, awakened, and with a heightened understanding of any topic. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: We the People, and the Republic We Must Reclaim

TEDTalk: The Unstoppable Walk to Political Reform

TEDTalk: Law That Chokes Creativity

Science & the Data Revolution

Copyright in the Digital Age

Speech Topics

Fixing the Electoral College

In this talk, Lessig offers a non-partisan examination of the strangest institution at the core of our democracy — the Electoral College — and a reform of the college that all sides should be willing to accept. The talk is built around the litigation that the Supreme Court will likely hear next spring, determining whether electors are free to vote their conscience. Lessig is the chief lawyer in that case, as well as the instigator behind litigation that would change the way electors get allocated by the states. He has been an advocate for reform for more than a decade. The talk is committed to the idea that all sides should be able to agree on this fundamental aspect of our Republic.

On Why Social Media Is Killing Democracy

In this talk, Lessig — named the “Elvis of cyberlaw” by Wired Magazine — describes just how social media today weakens democracy. Drawing on research examining digital addiction and the nature of ad-driven economies, he unpacks the challenge that we face as a democracy presented by technologies that weaken our capacity to decide. Lessig is no luddite. But he insists we must recognize the bad as well as the good, and must as a society find ways to avoid the poison social media can inject into democracy culture — if democracy is to survive.

They Don’t Represent Us

In this talk, Lessig describes our essentially unrepresentative representative democracy. One part is about “them,” the government; one part is about “us,” the people. The government is unrepresentative in obvious ways — the product of voter suppression, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and the way we fund campaigns. The people are unrepresentative in not-so-obvious ways — rendered polarized and uninformed by the character of modern media, we get cold-called, through polling, to reveal the worst of us, rather than the best. The talk is committedly nonpartisan, and hopeful about reform.

Regulating AIs: How Games Prepare Us for the Future

The future is AIs, yet we have no idea of how AIs can or will be regulated. Building upon his experience helping developers of the largest persistent virtual AI game in history — SEED — Lessig will describe the challenge of regulating machines, and the lessons learned so far.