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Summer Lecture Series Has Digital Focus

Hanover — More than two centuries ago, an Industrial Revolution changed the world. Travel was made infinitely easier, as steam power came to prominence. New machines remade manufacturing.

A similar revolution — of the digital variety — is taking place now, and the 2013 ILEAD Summer Lecture Series at Dartmouth plans to explore its effects, both positive and negative.

“Digital Revolution: Promise and Threat” will kick off on July 10 and feature more than a dozen lectures stretching through late August. The timing seems good, as the lectures follow the recent souped-up news coverage on drones, national security and international cyber attacks.

“We’ve been very lucky in the last two, or maybe even three years, that the subjects we selected become hotter and hotter as the months come into the summer,” said Bruce MacDonald, chairman of the summer series.

Lectures will be on topics from the history of scientific revolutions to the world of social media to unmanned drone use to Anonymous, the online hacker collective. The sessions run from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at Spaulding Auditorium. The full program and information about fees can be found at www.dartmouth.edu/ilead/summer_series/.

Though this crop of speakers is less recognizable by name and more by area of expertise, MacDonald said, the summer’s big “gets” include Richard Clarke, a former White House security adviser and counterterrorism expert, and Rand Beers, Homeland Security undersecretary for national protection and programs, who is also a Dartmouth alumnus.

Together, they will give a July 24 lecture called “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution,” which will focus on cyber security.

“Richard is the only (official) I know who has been willing to talk about it, and that makes him particularly fascinating,” MacDonald said.

The series also features several writers and magazine correspondents, an Air Force major general, and a hacker, Chris Soghoian, who will discuss the hot-button topic of government surveillance.

The Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth was founded in 1990 by Upper Valley residents interested in continuing learning. In its 17 years, the summer lecture series has never attempted to accommodate this many speakers, MacDonald said. However, he said, he’s looking forward to lecturers who will explore the nooks and crannies of the world’s newest revolution.

“It feels very good in terms of the scope we’re able to cover,” he said.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.