Parul Vora, Wikimedia Foundation, “Participation, Collaboration, and Engagement”

thumbnailPeople don’t always do what’s profitable, they also do what’s fun. People don’t always do what serves their self-interests, they also do what is collectively right and good. People aren’t always rational and predictable, sometimes they are novel and creative. This talk presents studies, artworks, and projects that embrace these human motivations to be social, participatory, and collaborative, including Wikipedia, a practical and functioning example of the power of human cooperation and collective action. Wikipedia substantiates our idealism, but it’s not without issue and it’s mission demands the projects’ perpetual evolution. This talk will also present some of the challenges that Wikipedia faces to keep up in the ecosystem of online engagement it helped create.

Parul Vora is a Designer, Researcher, Technologist, User Experience Specialist, Hacker, and Interactive Artist. She has studied at UC Berkeley, Columbia, the MIT Media Lab, the Stanford d.school, at home, in the shop, and out of doors. She is currently and researcher and designer at the Wikimedia Foundation and has recently worked at Yhaus (the Design Innovation Team at Yahoo!), Y!RB (Yahoo Research Berkeley), and Urban Atmospheres. She also has a particular disposition for robots, bicycles, polaroid cameras, absurdist humor, halloween, lo-fi music, and Michel Gondry movies. She begins most conversations with “Wouldn’t it be cool if……?” and ends them with “Why not?”