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Technology. Does it connect or divide us?

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 25 August 2012

As digital technology gets ever more integrated into our lives we present a special edition of The Forum from the Aspen Festival of Ideas. What effect does technology have on how we think, live and learn? Should we worry about creating virtual echo chambers where we only hear what we want? Or should we celebrate the increased interconnectivity the internet brings?

Bridget Kendall is joined by Director of the celebrated MIT media lab Joi Ito, who thinks the internet enables a type of openness which is shaping approaches in education. Leading advocate for the American video game industry, Mike Gallagher, argues we can achieve connectedness and empathy through game play. We also hear from filmmaker and theatre director Julie Taymor who cautions us about the limiting power of screens and digital technology.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Is new technology making us more open or more closed?


2 items
  • Joi Ito

    Joi Ito

    Joi Ito is Director of the MIT media lab and a leading writer on innovation, global technology policy, and the role of the internet in transforming society in substantial and positive ways. He has been a central figure in bringing the commercial internet to Japan, and he remains the most internationally well-recognised Japanese expert on web 2.0. He thinks that the internet enables decentralized innovation, a type of openness which in turn is shaping approaches in science and education.

    Joi Ito: Media Lab
  • Mike Gallagher

    Mike Gallagher

    Mike Gallagher is president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. Previously, Mike was the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Communications & Information, serving as chief telecommunications and Internet policy advisor. He argues that we can achieve connectedness and empathy through game play and that games are another way of forming communities.

    You can follow the ESA on Twitter: @RichatESA

  • Julie Taymor

    Julie Taymor

    Julie Taymor is a filmmaker and the innovative and media-mixing director who turned the animated film The Lion King into a big hit on Broadway. Whether directing for the stage or screen, Julie Taymor has consistently defied cultural expectations and tested technological limits, reinventing storytelling in the process. Julie can see the way new digital technologies can enhance artistic works and the way in which it can seem like an end in itself, which can jeopardise the creative process.

  • Aspen 1

    Aspen 1

    Behind the scenes: Mike Gallagher

    Photo credit: all photos by Michael Brands

  • Aspen 2

    Aspen 2

    Behind the scenes: Julie Taymor

  • Aspen 3

    Aspen 3

    Behind the scenes: before the recording of the show

  • Aspen 4

    Aspen 4

    Behind the scenes: pre-show chat with panellists, presenter and production team.

  • Aspen 5

    Aspen 5

    Behind the scenes: senior producer, Radek Boschetty, adjusts the on-ear microphone for presenter Bridget Kendall.

  • Aspen 6

    Aspen 6

    Executive producer Emily Kasriel addresses the audience at Aspen.

  • Aspen 7

    Aspen 7

    'Paws' for thought: a canine contributor yelps approval to the stage.

  • Aspen 8

    Aspen 8

    Presenter Bridget Kendall, Julie Taymor, Joi Ito and Mike Gallagher on stage.

  • Aspen 9

    Aspen 9

    Bridget Kendall and Julie Taymor.

  • Aspen 10

    Aspen 10

    Mike Gallagher

  • Aspen 11

    Aspen 11

    Joi Ito

  • Aspen 12

    Aspen 12

    The audiences' view of the stage.


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