John Seely Brown Symposium on Technology and Society: Cory Doctorow

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:00am to 1:00pm

Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business

I CAN'T LET YOU DO THAT DAVE: the dystopian war on general purpose computers and what you can do about it

Talk: 11 am - 12 pm
Book signing and reception: 12 pm - 1 pm

The acclaimed science fiction author, journalist and blogger Cory Doctorow is the featured speaker at the annual John Seely Brown Symposium on Technology and Society, sponsored by the School of Information. A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

View a video recording of the talk. 

You are increasingly made of computers (pacemakers, hearing aids, prostheses), and you are increasingly inhabiting computers (cars, planes, buildings), and that's potentially pretty bad news. The model for regulating computers is to insist that they be somehow constrained so that they can't do undesirable things, but we don't actually know how to do this -- the closest we come is making computers that have supervisory processes that spy on you, that you can't shut down, and that every conceivable kind of bad guy could use to come after you.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger - the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS.

He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He also co-founded the open source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, sold to OpenText, Inc in 2003, and presently serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, The Glenn Gould Foundation, and the Chabot Space & Science Center's SpaceTime project.

In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called him, "The William Gibson of his generation." He was also named one of Forbes Magazine's 2007/8/9/10 Web Celebrities, and one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders for 2007. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.

About the Symposium: The annual UMSI-sponsored JSB Symposium features thought leaders from the front lines of the digital world sharing their perspectives on the societal implications of new technology. The symposium is made possible through the generous support of its founding donor John Seely Brown. See a list of past speakers.

Venue and webcast provided by the Ross School of Business.

The lecture is free and the public is welcome to attend.