Speaker to talk about Internet and culture

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    By Casey Rogers

    Former IBM bigwig David Whittle will visit BYU and speak about the impact of the Internet on industry and culture, Thursday, June 10.

    Michael Bailey, professor of information technology, invited Whittle to speak at the School of Technology”s weekly seminar. Whittle will speak at 11 a.m. in Room 340 Crabtree Building.

    Although the seminar is intended for IT students, Bailey said the speech will be interesting to the general student population.

    “Nowadays, everybody is involved in the Internet in someway or another,” he said.

    Whittle said he plans to discuss the Internet, technology, and career opportunities with the students. He will draw from personal experience in the industry to answer questions and discuss how living LDS principles can have an impact in their line of work.

    His involvement in the operating system ”wars” in the ”80s and ”90s and experience with industry movers and shakers are what make him an interesting speaker, Bailey said.

    “It”ll be fun because he”ll have some great ”war” stories,” Bailey said. “He”s one of the first in online discussion communities. He has done a lot of thought on how these can help us or hurt us.”

    Whittle”s experience includes working a 12-year stint at IBM where he was the first non-executive to speak online in behalf of the corporation.

    In 1997, Whittle published a book titled “Cyberspace: The Human Dimension” in which he said many of his predictions about the Internet have come true. The Internet has changed in many ways, he said, and now a person almost needs a detective”s mindset in order to filter the falsehoods from the truth.

    The weekly seminars are part of a half-credit course that all undergraduates in the IT program must take in order to graduate. Past students of the course gave positive remarks about the class and how it helped them.

    “It was nice to see people in the industry and hear their stories,” said Trevor Smith of Sagus, Calif.

    Mark Peterson, another student agreed. “They”re helpful because they show you the opportunities that are in the field,” he said. “After the seminar, you can see the broad range of things you can do.”

    Past speakers include heads of the Utopia project, venture capitalists, and head IT representatives from the University of Utah Hospital.

    Whittle has been a guest lecturer at Duke University and has spoken at numerous conferences and conventions across the globe. He received his bachelor”s degree in accounting in 1979 and MBA in 1984 from BYU.

    “It”s a great honor,” he said. “I”m happy to have the opportunity to interface with the students.”

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