Event Date: October 18, 2017
Event Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Wolf Law, Wittemyer Courtroom

The rapid acceleration of communications technology is changing our society and economy in profound ways. At this conference, we examined the social implications and impacts of the information technology revolution, considering how the telegraph parallels the modern rise of social networks, mobile computing, and introduction of global access to broadband networks. In so doing, we also considered what laws and policy can mitigate less desirable impacts of information technology in our lives.

In 1861, Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph, changing U.S. history forever. Before then, news would take days or weeks to reach across the country. In the wake of the telegraph, all aspects of life—commerce, culture, and war—were transformed. Today, the latest transformation is the wave of social media and new media that has decimated the notion of a “news cycle.” This acceleration of information production and consumption dates back to the mid-1800s, and the technological changes of that era bear study as we grapple with the technological changes of today.

In this program, Edmund Russell, a Professor of History at Boston University now working on a project evaluating the development and impact of the telegraph, presented his work on the topic. A panel of experts then discussed the implications of this technological change and linked it to the ongoing challenges and opportunities related to the acceleration of information production and consumption.

In Partnership with the Silicon Flatirons Center and College of Media, Communication and Information.