Spring Ubben - Wikipedia co-founder and expert tech author to debate


The Ubben lecture series will host Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Nicholas Carr, author of "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" on March 30. The two will debate and examine an issue fundamental to college campuses: what are technology and the Internet doing to our lives?

The program, "Wired… and Weary?" will be hosted in Kresge Auditorium at 8 p.m. and is free to students and public.

Campus will be encouraged to spend the day of the lecture gadget- and Internet-free — and to only connect with people in ways that require vocal or face-to-face communication. The initiative for a "tech-free day" was imagined by student body president Christine Walker, a senior, and executive vice president of student government, David Dietz, also a senior.

Carr, a former executive editor for the Harvard Business Review and author of four books, writes largely on the current state of the Internet and modern information usage. According to a New York Times review of "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains," Carr "insists that the negative side effects of the Internet outweigh its efficiencies."

Carr also believes that society's wide use of computers has ruined attention spans, making users rely on scanning everything they read, and fall prey to every temptation (twitter, advertisements, links) fighting for their attention. One of Carr's well-known articles is titled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?: What the Internet is doing to our brains," and was published in 2008.

In a 2005 blog essay, Carr criticized the quality of Wikipedia, and argued that it has an overall negative effect on society by replacing professionally produced alternatives.

Jimmy Wales co-founded Wikipedia, the fifth-most visited website on the Internet, in 2001 with Larry Sanger and has since become the project's promoter and spokesman. He serves on the board for the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to provide wide arrays of content to the public free of charge.

Click here to watch Carr on the Colbert Report.

Click here to watch Wales on the Colbert Report.