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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Jonathan Grudin Â’72, senior researcher at Microsoft Research, will discuss "Irresistible Forces and Immovable Objects: Scholarship in the Digital Era" on Tuesday, September 25, at 4:15 p.m. in Reed's psychology auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public; it is sponsored by the Reed College division of literature and languages, mathematics department, and psychology department. For more information, call the Reed events line at 503/777-7755.

Digital technologies, including the internet, web, and wireless technologies, may be "irresistible forces" that will transform the world more than all but a handful of past technologies. But their effects are constrained by that most immovable of objects, human biology: basic perceptual, cognitive, affective, and social processes that are a product of millions of years of evolution. Technology interacting with psychological and social realities creates both liberating and conservative pressures. By understanding the interplay of these expansive and constraining forces, we can better identify the space in which we can work to make a difference.

In the dialogue Phaedrus, Plato reflected on, and struggled with, the shift from oral to written scholarship. The shift from print to digital scholarship could be equally profound and equally a struggle. This presentation outlines how this could evolve, illustrated with concrete examples of phenomena that increasingly affect our work and lives.

Before joining the collaboration and multimedia group at Microsoft Research, Jonathan Grudin was professor of information and computer science at the University of California—Irvine. He has a B.A. in mathematics—physics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of California—San Diego. He is editor in chief of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction and co-chaired the 1998 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.

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