University of Rochester

Conference Explores Possibilities and Pitfalls of Digital Technology

August 22, 2013

Digital technologies have transformed the way people learn, work, and interact with each another. But with these new tools come responsibilities and consequences, all of which will be explored in a three-day conference "Decoding the Digital: Media, Technology and a Culture Consumed?" held at the University of Rochester , Sept. 1214.

The conference will feature talks by both academics and industry insiders, from companies such as Warner Brothers and Intel, and they will "explore cutting-edge and provocative work being done with electronic media," says Thomas DiPiero, dean for humanities and interdisciplinary studies.

"But we will also discuss how progress in this field can sometimes come with unexpected costs."

By providing an uncommon mix of industry leaders and academics whose expertise ranges from hacking and social media to online education, marketing, and ethnicity in the digital age, DiPiero hopes to be able to draw attention to the possibilities that digital media bring to entertainment, education, and research.

"Digital media introduce people to new ideas and create new possibilities for work that is already being done," says DiPiero. "For example, in the past year researchers at Rochester have created apps to help study the flu and to experience nature in urban spaces. This allows us to imagine and experience the world in new ways we've never dreamed of." Open to students and the general public, the talks will provide people with a deeper appreciation for electronic media and strategies for becoming more sophisticated consumers of them.

Parts of the conference are scheduled to take place in the University's new Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation. Designed to provide students with a space conducive to new ways of thinking, the $12.8 million dollar project is home to new majors in digital media studies and audio and music engineering.

For a complete list of speakers and to register for the conference (free of charge), visit