Journalist and Author
Howard Rheingold, author of best-selling Virtual Reality, editor of Whole Earth Review, and author of the forthcoming book The Virtual Community, gave a lecture on the technologically-shaped future, focusing on the social effects of the anticipated National Information Infrastructure.
Computer Bulletin Boards and networks have grown beyond the era when only stereotypical nerds and other technologically-savvy enthusiasts use computer-mediated communication. Rheingold sees computerlinked communities, such as the WELL, as structures for enhanced inter-human communication, ranging from informational and emotional support, to business deals and political campaigns. What will happen to these communities in the wake of recent mega-mergers among cable giants, telephone companies, computer manufacturers, and others who are all vying to control the "information superhighways" of the future? Will citizens be allowed to help each other out, make new friends, talk politics, argue and debate issues? Who will control what people are allowed to say, which businesses they are allowed to conduct, and what it will cost for ordinary people to join the big government and big business users of this new medium?
Friday October 1
co-sponsored by the School of Library and Information Studies and the School of Journalism