Please join us for


The Digital Dilemma in the Time of COVID


A webcast produced by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
in partnership with CLIR, Bloomberg Beta,
and The Human Screenome Project at Stanford University


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

5 pm EST / 2 pm PST




Digital technologies present a dilemma. They have become indispensable for learning skills, building knowledge, working, playing, and socially connecting. The COVID pandemic has accelerated our reliance on them but also highlighted problems that extend beyond persistent disparities related to access and algorithmic bias. There is mounting concern that these technologies, and the screens on which they display, may be changing our brain circuitry, eroding our deep reading abilities, memory, and comprehension, with implications for our physical and mental health, education, relationships, and even the polity. A digital culture of constant skimming, scrolling, and scattered attention degrades our ability to connect foundational knowledge to new information, make analogies, draw inferences, and reflect. It affects our ability to empathize, critically analyze, examine truth value, and resist the impacts of fake news and demagoguery on democratic society.
Does our experience in the digital world represent a difference in degree or kind compared with previous technological shifts? What can we learn from new techniques that measure refined increments of our physiological and psychological states and the sociological dynamics of our lives as they play out on digital screens? Just how should we raise young learners today? Join Nilam Ram, Byron Reeves, Abby Smith Rumsey, and Maryanne Wolf in conversation with John Markoff as they explore the profound implications of digital technologies for influencing the intellectual, social, emotional, and ethical development of younger generations and, potentially, the cerebral evolution of our species.



John Markoff, Distinguished Fellow, Stanford HAI



Nilam Ram
Professor of Communication and Psychology, Stanford University


Byron Reeves
Paul C. Edwards Professor of Communication, Stanford University


Abby Smith Rumsey
Author, When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping our Future


Maryanne Wolf
Director, Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice, UCLA


View participant bios and photos

Questions for the panelists? Send them to [log in to unmask].


The discussion is part of the CASBS webcast series, Social Science for a World in Crisis




Kathlin Smith

Senior Director of Communications

Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)

2221 South Clark Street

Arlington, VA 22202


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