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Internet and Society Seminar: Robert Stein on ‘The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era’

3 Mar 2008
Filming venue:

Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3JS United Kingdom

For the past several hundred years intellectual discourse has been shaped by the rhythms and hierarchies inherent in the nature of print. As discourse shifts from page to screen, and more significantly to a networked environment, the old definitions and relations are undergoing substantial changes.

The shift in our world view from individual to network holds the promise of a radical reconfiguraton in culture. Notions of authority are being challenged. The roles of author and reader are morphing and blurring. Publishing, methods of distribution, peer review and copyright – every crucial aspect of the way we move ideas around – is up for grabs. The new digital technologies afford vastly different outcomes ranging from oppressive to liberating. How we make this shift has critical long term implications for human society.


Robert Stein

Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book

Robert Stein is the director of the and a Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics in the department of Social Psychology. The institute has two principal activities; one is building high-end tools for making rich media electronic documents and the other is exploring and hopefully influencing the evolution of new forms of intellectual expression and discourse. Previously Stein was the founder of The Voyager Company where over a 13-year period he led the development of over 300 titles in The Criterion Collection, a series of definitive films, and more than 75 CD ROM titles including the CD Companion to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Who Built America, and Stephen Jay Gould On Evolution.