International Summit to be Held at UB to Assess Digital Frontier, How Digital Technologies Impact Our Lives

Nov. 2-3 program to feature some of world's most forward-thinking experts

Release Date: September 16, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. - The University at Buffalo will sponsor a major international forum on Nov. 2-3 at which leading figures in medicine, psychology, sociology, physiology and technology development will discuss the effects of digital technologies on our lives.

"Digital Frontier: The Buffalo Summit 2001" will be convened by Jaylan S. Turkkan, vice president for research, in the Center for the Arts on the North Campus.

"All of us -- as both users and observers of technology -- are dazzled by the advances in communications, media and art in virtually every aspect of our lives." Turkkan said. "The Digital Frontier summit will both celebrate these technological achievements, and will also add an important humanistic context of 'What does it all mean, and how can it work best for us as human beings?"

Turkkan noted that the summit "adds to ongoing efforts in Buffalo, such as Mayor Masiello's IT initiative and those of InfoTech Niagara and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise to grow a technology-oriented economy in this region.

"UB is a university that is deep in digital arts, computer and information technology research", she added. "By holding a summit, we will bring national attention to the talent pool here."

The summit will consider the pros and cons of technology applications that enhance our health and healing, ability to learn and communicate, and experience reality, even as they reduce our personal interactions, privacy and our attraction to the "actual."

Plenary sessions and symposia will focus on our changing expectations and definitions of privacy, the nature of virtual-reality societies, artists as researchers/researchers as artists, the benefits and social cost of advances in telemedicine, distance-learning and distance-research collaborations, information overload and retrieval, the gender divide in technology careers, technology and alienation, artificial intelligence and robots.

The summit also will include demonstrations of new media, digital arts productions, unexpected applications of advanced computing and extrapolations from today's technology to likely future developments in the field.

The summit will be open to faculty, staff, students and the public. There will be no registration fee for students.

For online registration and detailed and updated information on the program, speakers, accommodations and schedule of events, go to or call the Office of Conferences and Special Events at 716-645-3705, ext. 223.

The event will be co-sponsored by Cisco Systems, Verizon Corp., American Sociological Association, American Psychological Association Online, SGI, Computing Research Association, Association for Information Systems, InfoTech Niagara, Hodgson Russ L.L.P. and Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.

Five speakers will be featured in plenary sessions to be held during the summit. They are:

o Michael Paige, vice president and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he facilitates the transfer of technology to product-development organizations and the commercialization of Xerox intellectual property

o Steve Mann, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Computer Engineering Research Group at the University of Toronto, best known as the inventor of the wearable computer WearComp, and WearCam, an eyetap camera and reality mediator

o Brenda Laurel, designer, writer, researcher, performer and member of the graduate faculty in media design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. For 25 years, her work has focused on experience design, interactive story and the intersection of culture and technology. Laurel has worked for such companies as Atari, Activision and Apple, and in 1990 co-founded Telepresence Research, where she developed technology and applications for virtual reality and remote presence. She also is the founder of Purple Moon, which creates interactive media for girls.

o Jaron Lanier, chief scientist for Eyematic, a leading provider of rich-media communication products, infrastructure solutions and application services

o Internet personality and self-described "planetary astronomer" Clifford Stoll of the University of California at Berkeley, who was described by Bill Gates as "the devil's advocate" of the Internet. A UB alumnus, he is the best-selling author of "Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage" and "Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway," one of the first books to raise impertinent questions about the changes wrought by the new information technologies.

Other speakers will include:

o Philosopher Michael Heim, who teaches the philosophy of virtual worlds design at California's Art Center College of Design and is the author of "Virtual Realism: The Art of Emerging Technology," "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality" and "Electric Language: A Philosophical Study of Word Processing.

o Liss Jeffrey, Marshall McLuhan scholar and founding director of byDesign eLab Associates Network, a new media and policy incubator and member-owned associates network founded to ensure that all voices are heard in the "electronic commons." A former television producer, Jeffrey is a well-known Canadian journalist, curator and member of the adjunct faculty of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto

Among her many publications are "The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design," "Computer as Theatre" and "Severed Heads: Notes on Technology, Art and Nature." Her book, "Utopian Entrepreneur," will be published this fall by MIT Press.

o Research physiologist Michael Ackerman, assistant director of high performance computing and communications in the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health

o Michael Paige, vice president and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he facilitates the transfer of technology to product-development organizations and the commercialization of Xerox intellectual property

o National Science Foundation panelist Z. Meral Ozsoyoglu, an award-winning and widely published professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve. Her research interests include graphical query languages, query processing, query optimization and access structures in object-oriented databases with applications in multimedia, scientific and temporal databases.

o "Cyborgologist" Chris Hables Gray, associate professor of the cultural studies of science and technology, as well as of computer science, at the University of Great Falls, Great Falls, Mont. He is the author of "Using the History of American Technology in Interdisciplinary Research," "Postmodern War: The New Politics of Conflict" and "The Cyborg Handbook."

o Aliza Sherman, founder of Cybergrrl, who offers a unique female perspective on e-business, Internet marketing and e-entrepreneurship that has been featured in major U.S. publications. Sherman was named by Newsweek as one of the "Top 50 People Who Matter Most on the Internet" and is the author of "Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web" and "Cybergrrl @ Work: Tips and Inspiration for the Professional You." Her third book is due for release this fall.

o Brad Redderson, senior vice president for visualization systems and engineering services for Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), Mountain View, Calif., the world's leader in high-performance computing technology. SGI systems deliver advanced computing and 3D visualization capabilities to scientific, engineering and creative professionals and large enterprises on everything from desktop workstations and servers to the most powerful supercomputers in the world. SGI also creates innovative software for design, Internet, and entertainment applications.

o Psychologist Roberta Klatzky, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, a member of the university's Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and a professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science.

Additional presenters will include representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), IBM, the New York State Department of Science, Technology and Academic Research, the New York State congressional delegation, the NASA/Harvard Office of Biological and Physical Research, and information scientists from several additional colleges and universities.

A film festival featuring the iconic technology-based films "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Bladerunner" and "The Matrix" will be held during the summit.

Media Contact Information

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