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One Nation Under Google

Posted by Jer / March 13, 2008

Google, the ubiquitous internet search engine, began with a simple mission statement: "Don't Be Evil". Like so many new technologies, Google brought with it promises of greater freedom, accessibility, and interactivity. And as the company has started creeping into other aspects of our lives in the last decade (email, online mapping, social networking and video sharing), Google's mantra can be read as a condensed iteration of the wider hopes society has for new technologies.

Does more technology equal more freedom? That's the main question driving a public talk, entitled One Nation Under Google: Citizenship in the Technological Republic, tomorrow at McGill by Professor Darin Barney. As the press release for the event notes, even though more and more people are accessing computers, cellphones and the internet, the promise of increased civic engagement enabled by these gadgets seems to have eluded our wired society. In other words, it's a bloggy blog world and even though everyone is free to say what they want thanks to all sorts of new tech tools, the question remains whether or not what we're saying actually has any impact on our roles and responsibilities as citizens.

Dr. Barney is a professor of Communication Studies at McGill where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship. He's also scary smart and genuinely approachable. Presented in conjunction with CKUT, McGill's campus radio station, Barney's talk explores "a range of examples from YouTube to the hidden networks of food production and government bureaucracy and contests the common notion that technology necessarily leads to enhanced freedom and improved civic engagement. One Nation Under Google examines the challenge of citizenship in a technological society, and asks whether the demands of technology are taking over the practice of democracy."

It's a free lecture, so you have no excuse not to go. If you can't make it, you can find a podcast of the event on Radio 4 All or Rabble afterwards, but I think that defeats the purpose of the talk.

One Nation Under Google: Citizenship in the Technological Republic
Friday, March 14, 2008
Arts W-215, 853 Sherbrooke Street West,
McGill University

picture of darin barney's at hart house in toronto taken from the media@mcgill website, but found, perhaps ironically, through google images.



Sisi / March 13, 2008 at 01:22 pm
Hey Jer, kudos for trying to insert some relevant and intelligent discourse to MP. Here's an interesting documentary about Google:;q=google+documentary&total=17368&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

Ironically, it was found through Google Video.
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