Colloquium Series Winter 2017 – Dr. Richard Smith

Title: New media, new problems, new solutions: The Centre for Digital Media engages with the issues and challenges of emerging media.

Abstract: New media technologies spark our imagination with new possibilities and wonderful opportunities, but often contain troubling side effects or unanticipated consequences. Who hasn’t been concerned about the addictive computer game, or the distracted texting driver? Who among us doesn’t wonder how the marvels of image recognition technology is going spill over from simple photo album organization tools and into a surveillance apparatus beyond our control? Will advanced robots drive us over cliffs and out of our jobs? Will our voice-powered assistant end up selling our secret thoughts to marketing teams of soap salesmen? In this talk I will discuss some of the implications of the latest communication and computer technologies, and also present an approach to applied research and development that engaged students in real-world problems but also challenges them to make the world a better place.

Bio: Richard Smith is the Director of the Master of Digital Media Program at Great Northern Way campus, a joint venture between UBC, SFU, Emily Carr, and BCIT. He is also a Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Smith’s research focus is social inclusion (and exclusion) brought on by the introduction of new media. He has an ongoing interest in technology for education, privacy and surveillance in public spaces, online communities, and the wireless information society. With academic training in communication and law, Dr. Smith has degrees from Carleton University (BA) and Simon Fraser University (MA and PhD). He is a member of the Canadian Communication Association and former publisher of the Canadian Journal of Communication.