March 28, 1996
University Gazette


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Conference Will Focus on The Internet and Society

A major conference on The Internet and Society will be held at Harvard on May 28-31.

Experts from business, government, and academia will discuss the impact of the fastest-growing method of communication on the way organizations function, learn, earn, govern, survive, or fail to survive.

Eight tracks will cover the role of the Internet in the areas of business, law, public policy, press and politics, health care, education, library and publishing, and technology.

Speakers and moderators with extensive experience in these fields will address the potential and problems of using the most efficient means of large-scale information delivery in history.

"Few innovations have emerged on the scene as rapidly and with as broad and deep an impact as the Internet," said President Neil L. Rudenstine. "This is an area where universities clearly belong in the forefront, not only in understanding and using the new generation of information technologies, but in helping to think through their broader, long-term implications for all of society. We are very pleased to host this important conference, bringing together many of the leading thinkers on a subject much in need of informed discussion, collaboration, and forward-looking analysis."

Speakers will include Rudenstine; Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft; Jim Clark, Netscape Communications; Diane Lady Dougan, Global Information Infrastructure Commission; Steven McGeady, Intel; and Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems.

Formal and informal interaction with speakers and attendees should provide the knowledge and contacts that people need to get the most out of the Internet, and to determine what impact their actions will have on society as a whole.

The conference features plenary panels that cut across many fields. Subjects include "Who Owns the Internet?," "New Organizational Forms," and "Cultural Imperialism on the Net."

The eight tracks will allow participants to tap into topics in specific fields of their interests. The business track, for example, will cover subjects such as "Customer Relationships: What Happens to Brands?," and "How Value will be Created and Extracted on the Internet."

The law track will address issues such as intellectual property rights and content control on the Net. Other tracks will cover topics such as standards setting for the Internet, universal access, impeding the spread of disease by facilitating communications, educational applications, the public library online, the future of the Internet, and security and encryption.

The following companies are providing financial and technical support for the conference: Beneficial Corp., Coopers & Lybrand LLP, IBM Corp., Intel Corp., KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, Microsoft Corp., NYNEX, RCN Inc./Liberty Cable, and Xerox Corp.

For more information, visit the conference Web site at For e-mail:; fax: (508) 657-9809; phone (617) 432-1638.


Copyright 1998 President and Fellows of Harvard College