Cardiff University Distinguished Lecture Series

The Cardiff University Distinguished Lecture Series continues this December with three lectures looking at the future of books, ‘data centric networking’ and the limitations of social networks.

Jefferson’s Taper and the Future of Books – Monday 5th December

Professor Robert Darnton will discuss the campaign to create a Digital Public Library of America in response to the commercial interests that are exploiting digital technology.

Thomas Jefferson compared the exchange of ideas to the transfer of light from one candle to another—a process in which one person gained while the other did not lose. The Internet would seem to translate Jefferson’s ideal into a viable system of communication, because it costs virtually nothing to multiply messages on the web. But commercial interests are exploiting digital technology in order to fence off large parts of our cultural commons, and they may dominate the future of books. The campaign to create a Digital Public Library of America is an answer to that threat.

Then there are two lectures on the theme of social computing.

Opportunity is the Mother of Invention – Tuesday 6th December

Professor Jon Crowcroft:

“I will tell the story of how a group of European researchers arrived at a design for communications software that seems rather well suited to the new “Data Centric Networking” paradigm.

This work was motivated by the fact that mobile users currently have a very bad experience of networking. For example, wifi is often plentiful, but it’s hard for a user simply to share a file with other users in the same room. The tale starts with moving from UCL to Cambridge and choosing to learn about ad hoc networks: networks that don’t rely on fixed access points like routers; instead, every user’s device (such as a smartphone) can become an access point, able to store and forward data.”

Why the Internet Won’t Get You Any More Friends – Wednesday 7th December

Professor Robin ‘Dunbar’s Number’ Dunbar:

“The internet and its social networking site derivatives such as Facebook were sold to us on the promise of widening our social horizons. The internet offers us the implicit opportunity to make casual acquaintances with people all around the world, and so widen our social horizons. I shall argue that this promissory note was made without consulting the humans at the centre of it all.”

More details and registration information on the Cardiff University website.