Sebastian Benthall

PhD Student


algorithmic game theory, collective intelligence, economics of data and computation, information ethics, innovation policy, methodology and philosophy of information science, open science and software


I received my undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science from Brown University, doing game theory research about intellectual property and political activism on the side.  Following that, I joined The Open Planning Project (now OpenPlans), an organization that aimed to build "virtual tools for real world change."  As an engineer, I developed crowdsourcing applications for geospatial data according to modern web standards.  Later I became the project manager on an open source, "Web 2.0" Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) platform, GeoNode.  This work brought me close to the problems faced by the World Bank as well as national and local governments managing their data, and the role of open source software in international development and capacity building.

At Berkeley, I am trying to bridge across these interests.  To what extent are open software and data economically viable?  What is information and how can we best harness its power?  How should we be distributing and using data, ethically?  And can we do better by extracting valuable information about people and ideas from the web?

Last updated:

March 18, 2018