The Information Revolution and the Public Good: The University's Role in Building a Civic Society

David Johnston, the new president of the University of Waterloo, argues that we are in the maelstrom of a revolution as great as the one that ushered in modern, industrial, and democratic societies. It is the knowledge and information revolution. He argues that never have we had access to so much information. But, he asks, how do we move from data to information to knowledge to wisdom? How do we build a more humanitarian society whose foundation is knowledge? How do we use the university to help build this society where wealth creation, social cohesiveness, and individual political liberty reinforce one another? This revolution presents us with the possibility of both liberation and failure. How do we maximize our chances of achieving the first and avoiding the latter?

Prof. David Johnston, President, University of Waterloo

Principal of McGill University from 1979 to 1994, David Johnston, became the president of the University of Waterloo on June 1st, 1999. A professor of law, Professor Johnston is widely consulted as an expert on information technology, intellectual property law, securities regulation, and corporation law. Among the twelve books and numerous public reports he has published are several on information technology and the law, including Cyberlaw, Computers and Law, and Getting Canada Online: Understanding the Information Highway (co-authored with his eldest daughter, Debbie). In June 1998 he finished a term chairing Harvard University's Board of Overseers and in May 1999 completed terms chairing the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the federal government's Blue Ribbon Panel on Smart Communities. He is Special Advisor to the Ministry of Industry on information technology. St. Jerome's is pleased to welcome Professor Johnston and his family to the Kitchener-Waterloo community.

Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 7:30pm
Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University