Technology and Power: The Global Outcomes of New Media
Tuesday and Wednesday, September 24-25, 2013
Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room
Many issues that shape the quality of our lives have an international dimension. Global economic interdependence, the development of appropriate environmental strategies, the resolution of regional conflicts, and the enhancement of human rights all require a global perspective. Important aspects of the educational experience include discussion and interaction with people from diverse cultures. Since 1964, Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney, has sponsored an international conference to discuss issues of global importance. In 1988 the name of the conference was changed to honor Professor James E. Smith.
The concepts of globalization and technology are inseparable. However far back one traces the origins of globalization, whether to the development of rapid mass communication systems in the late-20th century, mass transportation systems in the 19th century, the scientific revolution of the 16th-17th century – it was always connected to specific technological advancements. We tend to think of technology as another form of liberation – providing us with tools that will always and inevitably improve our lives and offer us greater access to knowledge, freedom of movement, and increased prosperity. And yet, history and experience tell us that new technologies do not solve all our problems and, indeed, often create new ones. Mechanization in the workplace may increase labor safety and productivity, but it also results in layoffs. Social networking allows for vastly increased global and cultural interactions, but it may decrease real time contact with those closest to you.
Therefore, for this year’s conference we have chosen to examine the relationships between globalization, technology, and power, focusing in particular on the roles played by technology, the internet, and social media in globalization and democratization. Our speakers this year include experts on internet censorship in China, social media and democratization in the Middle East and Africa, cybercrime, linguistics and the internet, and cyber-racism. These experts come to us from countries that include Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Zambia, Bulgaria, and India as well as the United States.
Through the information provided at this conference, we hope to introduce UNK faculty, students, and the broader Kearney community to the critical issues relating to globalization, technology, and power. It is our hope that members of the audience will be sufficiently inspired by what they hear at the conference to maintain a lifelong interest in international affairs.