Contact: Jim Gardner, Executive Director of University Communications, (973) 596-3433

Kirkpatrick Sale-Steven Levy Debate At New Jersey Institute of Technology Will Address Merits of Technology

NEWARK -- Friday, January 16, 1998 -- The question of whether or not technology is a force for good or evil in society will be hotly contested when controversial Neo-Luddite leader Kirkpatrick Sale and Newsweek Magazine senior editor and technology columnist Steven Levy butt heads in an Oxford/Union-style debate 3-4:30 p.m., Feb. 4, in NJITís Guttenberg Information Technologies Building 1400.

The 45-minute debate will be moderated by Michael Aron, the senior political correspondent for the New Jersey Network. The debate will be followed by a 45-minute interactive session with the audience.

"This debate is about the relative merits of the communications age. Itís between Steven Levy, who believes in technology and Kirkpatrick Sale, a leading skeptic," Aron said. "It will explore whether the advent of computers is bringing us together as a civilization or isolating us as individuals."

Sale, who has opened personal appearances by smashing a computer, represents the Luddites who have established themselves as the symbol of those who resist the new technologies and demand a voice in how they are to be used.

Sale a contributing editor for Nation is the author, most recently, of Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution (Addison-Wesley).

Sale has commented that since 1988 an estimated six million Americans have lost their jobs to automation, and to overseas shops.

Levy writes major feature stories on technology and other topics, as well as a regular column "Random Access," which appears in the magazineís "Focus: On Technology" section and covers such wide-ranging topics as the millenium bug and Internet censorship.

Levy is one of the most respected technology writers in the country. His "Random Access" column has been honored with the Association for Women in Communicationsí Clarion Award and was named 1996 "Column of the Year" by the Computer Press Association.

"The other kinds of issues we will raise include whether or not computers are enhancing education or being used as a crutch by teachers abdicating responsibility to a machine; and whether or not the Internet has become another thing to police or is liberating to kids; and whether or not computers are creating a global sense of community" Aron said. "Itís a debate basically between someone who believes computers are benign against someone who feels they are evil."

Aron, the moderator, is well known to New Jersey Network viewers for his incisive and penetrating special reports and interviews on major New Jersey political and social issues. In addition to his reporting on NJN News, Aron is the host/producer of Reporters Roundtable with Michael Aron; a weekly program featuring reporters from around the state who discuss the stateís political scene. Aron also is the host/co-producer of On The Record, NJNís weekly public affairs program.

Aron has received a Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Award and 12 nominations. He is a three-time winner of the New Jersey State Bar Associationís Media Award. A graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. magna cum laude in government, he achieved a MPA degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. The Montclair (N.J.) resident is the author of Governorís Race: A TV Reporterís Chronicle of the 1993 Florio/Whitman Campaign (Rutgers University Press).

A limited number of free tickets for the debate are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Lori Barcliff at (973) 596-3435 for ticket information.

View the Debate

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