Digital Futures Lecture Series

The 2015-2016 Digital Futures series brings transformative thinkers to the University of Michigan to discuss the pressing issues surrounding new information and communication technologies. Upcoming speakers will be researchers, critics, authors, journalists, industry professionals, artists, government officials and activists. Topics will include the impact of social media, the development of new media technologies, telecommunications infrastructure and the regulatory environment.

Past Events 

Why Ad Blocking Is a Good Thing
December 15, 2015

Journalist and author Doc Searls discusses the benefits and significance of ad blocking and what it says about changes in advertising's importance.

See a video of this talk.



Networking Peripheries: Technological Futures, Digital Memory and the Myth of Digital Universalism
March 31, 2016

University of Illinois assistant research professor of communications Anita Say Chan shares work on innovation spaces in the periphery, including the development of rural hack lab spaces in Peru, and how they open up possibilities for uncovering distinct collective futures.


Communicating Self in a Networked World
April 7, 2016

Natalie Bazarova, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University and 2015 fellow of Cornell’s Institute for the Social Services, explores the socio-cognitive dynamics that underlie self-disclosure exchanges in online networks.



Critical Internet Cultures: From Selfie Cult to Mask Design
April 12, 2016

Geert Lovink, director of the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, will discuss the state of alternative network architectures in an era of individual self-promotion and liberation in this MISC co-sponsored talk.


Digital Futures Lecture Series: Gina Neff
April 21, 2016

Gina Neff, media and communication scholar and associate professor at the University of Washington, looks at how tools designed to improve communication can impair innovation in projects' later stages by taking away ambiguity.



 Digital Futures Series Co-sponsored Events

Digital South Asia: An International Conference on Media, Culture, and Politics in South Asia
October 2-3, 2015
(Organized by Communication Studies.)

This conference gathered scholars and others from around the world to explore the impact of digital media in South Asia.



Digital Korea: A Conference on the History, Use, and Effects of Communication Technologies
November 13-14, 2015
(Organized by the Nam Center for Korean Studies.)

This event showcased work examining the role of new communication technologies on the Korean Peninsula.



Death, Identity and the Social Network
December 8, 2015
(MISC lecture)

Jed Brubaker, assistant professor and founding member of the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, spoke on what happens to our accounts, data and digital identities after death.



Leveraging Network Science to Address Grand Societal Challenges
January 15, 2016
(Co-sponsored with the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies)

Northwestern University professor Noshir Contractor, whose work focuses on dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities, spoke at this event.



Related Events

Living in the Culture of Big Data
September 15, 2015

danah boyd's research examines the intersection of technology and society. Her recent book, "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens,"  has received widespread praise from scholars, parents, and journalists.




Dirty Bits: The Environmental History of the Computer
November 9, 2015

Nathan Ensmenger, associate professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, surveys the many ways humans, the environment and information technology have interacted over the past several centuries.



The John D. Evans Foundation

John D. Evans

This series has been made possible by the John D. Evans Foundation and is a joint initiative of the School of Information and the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. The organizing committee members are Christian Sandvig (Chair), Nicole Ellison and Scott Campbell.