The Social Implications of Technological Change

Tags: Technology Policy

In partnership with the Center of the American West and the College of Media, Communication and Information.

The rapid acceleration of communications technology is changing our society and economy in profound ways. At this conference, we will examine the social implications and impacts of the information technology revolution, considering how the telegraph parallels the modern rise of social networks, mobile computing, and introduction of global access to broadband networks. In so doing, we will also consider which laws and policies can mitigate less desirable impacts of information technology in our lives.

In 1861, Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph, changing U.S. history forever. Before then, news would take days or weeks to reach across the country. In the wake of the telegraph, all aspects of life—commerce, culture, and war—were transformed. Today, the latest transformation is the wave of social media and new media that has decimated the notion of a “news cycle.” This acceleration of information production and consumption dates back to the mid-1800s, and the technological changes of that era bear study as we grapple with the technological changes of today.

In this program, Edmund Russell, a Professor of History at Boston University now working on a project evaluating the development and impact of the telegraph, will present his work on the topic. A panel of experts will then discuss the implications of this technological change and link it to the ongoing challenges and opportunities related to the acceleration of information production and consumption.

If you need any accommodations, such as an ASL interpreter, CART, or alternate format versions of printed materials, please contact Susanna Weller at or (303) 492-5442, and we will gladly make any necessary arrangements.


10/18/17 3:00pm - 3:15pm
  • S. James Anaya
    Dean and Charles Inglis Thomson Professor, University of Colorado Law School
  • Phil Weiser
    Hatfield Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School; Executive Director and Founder, Silicon Flatirons
10/18/17 3:15pm - 4:00pm
10/18/17 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Panel Discussion
  • Phil Weiser — Moderator
    Hatfield Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School; Executive Director and Founder, Silicon Flatirons
  • Lori Bergen — Panelist
    Founding Dean, College of Media, Communication and Information, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Paul de Sa — Panelist
    Partner, Quadra Partners
  • Patty Limerick — Panelist
    Professor of History, University of Colorado Boulder
  • James Monroe — Panelist
    Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Globalstar
10/18/17 5:15pm - 6:15pm

Please note: Per university alcohol policy, only registered guests will be admitted to the reception.

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