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Now I'm going to introduce to you Nicole Wong, who will speak as our graduation speaker
Nicole is a long-time friend of the School of Information
She has served as the White House deputy US chief technology officer since May 2013.
At the time that the Obama administration selected her,
she was the legal director for products at Twitter,
Between 2004 and 2011, she served as deputy general counsel for Google,
where she was responsible for product and regulatory matters
and where she earned the nickname "The Decider,"
because she was responsible for arbitrating issues of censorship.
Prior to that, she worked at a law firm, Perkins Coie,
where she represented both traditional and new media clients,
ranging from Hearst and LA Times to Walt Disney, Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo.
Nicole has taught classes here;
she's a frequent speaker on issues related to law and technology;
she was here only a month ago to work with Professor Deirdre Mulligan
on a big national conference on Big Data and privacy;
she has taught at other institutions in the Bay Area.
She received both a law degree and a master's degree in journalism
from the University of California, Berkeley,
From the School of Law and the Graduate School of Journalism, respectively.
With no further ado, I'm going to hand the mic over to Nicole.
(I'm going to try to stay out of the wind tunnel, or whatever is happening here.)
Thank you. It is a privilege to be with you
on this day of accomplishment for all of you, and for your families.
I am thrilled to be back at the I School to celebrate you.
I am so grateful to Anno and the faculty for their always-warm welcome,
and for the dedication and passion that they put into this school
and the education of all of its students.
And for being courageous. Anno, I don't know if you realize it
you've invited a person with an American Studies major, an English minor
and fellowship in poetry to be your commencement speaker.
I might talk to you about technology today, or I might just start reciting Shakespeare.
Maybe I stand for the proposition that even with
all those liberal arts cards stacked against me,
even someone like me can find a place in the tech world. And a job.
So, let's all be courageous together for the next 15 minutes or so.
The good news is that I am a Golden Bear, so I've got that going for me. Go Bears.
I remember when your class arrived here.
I was here that spring teaching with my friend Deirdre Mulligan.
You were the largest class the school had had to date --
56 students from 10 countries and five continents.
You came from so many different fields: health care, financial services,
telecommunications, advertising, government and education.
One of you was in the recording business; another of you was a Park ranger.
An incredible range of backgrounds.
So, indeed, it's my honor to be back and to wish you well today.
I've always found graduation days to be a sort of day of reckoning.
You may already know where you're headed.
Maybe some of you are going back to your previous employers or fields.
Maybe you're trying something new.
Maybe tomorrow seems a bit...fuzzy. If so, join the club.
Tomorrow is really pretty fuzzy for all of us.
And that's not a bad thing. That's a thing filled with possibility.
So, this is one of my messages for you today: Embrace the fuzzy.
The I School was formally constituted in 1997 -- 17 years ago.
In 1997, most people used Netscape Navigator to surf the web.
The hot "new media" companies were Alta Vista, AOL, Excite, Lycos and Yahoo!.
In 1997, I was representing Yahoo!.
They had a building floor full of "surfers" -- people! --
sitting at computers in cubicles and searching the web and manually indexing new sites.
There were only about 100,000 commercial websites at that time.
I'm not just being nostalgic.
My point is that 17 years ago, we could barely imagine
the amount and diversity of content and information available to us,
or the ubiquitously connected world that we live in today.
Whatever your plans may be tomorrow, or over the next year,
know that 17 years from now will be a world filled with things
that are the whispers of that idea you fell asleep with last night,
or the doodles in the margins of your notebook today and so much more.
And because we don't know exactly what's coming -- because it's fuzzy --
you have extraordinary freedom to shape what that world will look like.
And we are in a moment when anything is possible.
Jonathan Zittrain at the Berkman Center at Harvard
once told this great story about how the Internet was borne
as a series of random acts of kindness.
You send an email, upload a video, post to Facebook,
and the network providers -- sometimes more than 20 of them a hop
between you and your destination -- take all those packets and pass them along
so that they can be reassembled on the other end.
As Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn conceived of it, these network operators passed the packets,
not because they had to. Not because there was a law
or a contract with you that said they must pass the packets along.
But because that's how the Internet was originally built:
on volunteerism and neighborliness.
Jonathan described it like when you're sitting in the middle of a section at the baseball
and you order a beer from the vendor in the aisle,
and you pass down the money to him, and everyone helps pass down your beer.
They don't steal your money and they don't take a sip of your beer.
They pass it along, not because they are required to, but because they're being neighborly.
For some 20 years, we have depended on the kindness of strangers
to move the packets along. The Internet
-- which I have long believed is the most robust, democratic communication platform
we have ever known -- is that awesome. And that fragile.
We cannot take it for granted. There is nothing that says the Internet
will continue to be as open, democratic or innovative as it is today.
In just the last few months, look at the global conversations we are having
about building territorial walls on the Internet,
or erasing content and history out of existence,
or permitting the creation of fast lanes to information for those who can pay.
We need to work for a free and open Internet, and we need to defend it every day.
You -- as technologists and as citizens -- are stewards of this incredible platform.
So, when I say embrace the fuzzy -- the possibilities --
I also ask you to do so with the skills that you have honed at this school,
and with care and with courage.
As information professionals, you can build the Internet we live with
over the next 5, 10, or 17 years.
So, that's the second thing that I want to tell you today:
Build the Internet you want to live with and the world you want to live in.
Build an Internet that welcomes everyone and all of their ideas.
Build an Internet that encourages creativity and does not border it or hoard it.
Build an Internet that broadly and fairly disseminates good.
When you leave here, you may create the next cool app, or infrastructure or algorithm.
It may make boatloads of money and have millions of users. I hope it does!
But remember that our technologies increasingly reflect our values,
and that's what you will be building as well. When you leave here, you may get to work with
the best and brightest minds
to develop the future -- but don't forget to look around the table
and make sure it looks like the world you want to live in.
Actively seek the input of people who are not naturally in your line of sight.
Find the American Studies major, the poetry fellow,
even -- maybe -- the lawyer, who thinks differently,
but sees the same vision of a vibrant and inclusive Internet.
More importantly, work actively to bring people with a diverse array of backgrounds
to that table. Today, women and minorities make up about 70 percent of college students,
but earn only 45 percent of STEM degrees.
Berkeley has done us proud by enrolling -- for the first time ever --
more than 50 percent women in the intro to computer science course this year,
and you have 40% women graduating in this class.
But nationally, we still see that while minorities make up 36 percent of the labor force,
they account for only 28 percent of the nation's STEM workforce.
Put simply, this is a squandered opportunity.
If we want technology that reflects the values of our diverse society,
we will need to make sure that we are bringing all of these voices to the table.
Make this part of your job description.
Build the Internet you want to live with and the world you want to live in.
There's only 56 of you and this is a big crowd,
so I know most of you didn't come here alone. None of us really get here alone.
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.
Whoever that is for you: Your mother, your father, your grandparents,
your spouse, your friends, your children,
let's give them all a round of applause and a very big thank you.
Some people have asked me: Why did you decide to go into government?
Seriously, why did you leave Twitter and the free food
and the hotbed of technology in the Valley to go to dysfunctional, slow-as-molasses Washington?
After nearly a year in government, I can tell you
it is totally not like that Schoolhouse Rock cartoon
about the bill just sitting on Capitol Hill.
So, what am I doing in DC?
I am there because I know that nothing I have done was possible alone.
I relied on the support of others, just like the ones you have in this audience.
I am the great granddaughter of a Chinese immigrant who entered through Canada
and worked his way from harvesting potatoes in Idaho to working in a laundry in Michigan
to working as a cook in Livermore.
I am the granddaughter of a woman who stood in a rice paddy in southern China
through much of World War II to make sure that her children --
my mother and aunt -- ate regularly.
My grandparents were unable to own property in this state --
or a home for their children to grow up in -- until the 1950s.
Traditional American banks wouldn't lend money to Chinese,
so my family helped start one of the first Chinese community banks in the country.
And my grandfather became its vice president so that people like him
could get a line of credit to start a business or own a home or put a child through school.
From that legacy of immigrants, my parents and all of their siblings went to college,
and when they had the chance, served in their communities as social workers,
in healthcare, in city government and in civic organizations.
My family taught me many things, including that I did not get here alone.
But here's the most important lesson they taught me
and the last message that I'll leave with you today:
It is our right to participate in our communities and in the governance of our country,
and if we get the opportunity, it is our privilege and our responsibility to do so.
Whatever is in your tomorrow, remember that your community, your country, your Internet
We need smart, capable people who understand technology
and how our values are both catalyzed by and embedded in the technologies we build.
We need our policymakers to understand that too.
Whether you choose to serve in government -- and I hope you will --
or sign a petition or volunteer to help at the local, state or national level,
it will not be easy and it may not even be clear when you make progress.
But it is the most generous act of embracing the fuzzy that you can do.
There has been much said about Healthcare.gov and the many ways our government
failed to prepare for it. In the first several days after launch of Healthcare.gov,
only 3 in 10 users could even get on the site and almost all of them had the site crash.
By the end of November only 27,000 people had enrolled.
So, we put a superstar tech team on it -- the best and the brightest
that we could find in government and borrow from the private sector.
They barely slept in October, November and December.
But last month, the President announced that we have more than 8 million people
enrolled under the Affordable Care Act -- a million more than the Administration's target.
And 28% of those are people between the ages of 18 and 34.
Those are just statistics. Kendall Brown is not a statistic.
She lives in Oklahoma. She is 27 years old, works for a local non-profit in her community
and she has suffered from Crohn's Disease -- a serious and painful intestinal condition
for more than half her life. Last year, she aged out of her mother's insurance plan
and she could no longer afford the $15,000 chemotherapy treatments
that she needs every six months. She went without treatment for over a year,
even though her doctors told her that it would probably lead to an early death.
And then, earlier this year, she got covered under the Affordable Care Act
and those chemo treatments are now just $60 per treatment.
Kendall is not a statistic. She is one of 8 million people who are now covered --
young people, single parents, people with pre-existing conditions --
many of whom have insurance for the first time in their lives.
As a matter of technology, Healthcare.gov is just a website.
We weren't putting someone on the moon.
But we needed the right talent -- particularly the technical talent --
to help change 8 million lives this year.
Find a way to make the skills your learned here count.
The awesomeness of the technology that brought you to this school, the scale of what it can
is an indicator of the scale of good that you can achieve.
Embrace the fuzzy. Build the world you want to live in.
And for all those people who are here today to cheer you on -- including me --
go out and do some good.
Thank you for being courageous with me. And best wishes to you on your tomorrow.