Closing Keynote – Nora Young

The closing keynote and Dave Binkley Memorial Lecture for 2017 will be Nora Young, host of CBC Radio’s Spark  and author of The Virtual Self. Nora will be talking about Information and Meaning in the Data Boom.

In the last 20 years, computers have gone from desktop behemoths (remember those giant CRT monitors?) to powerful devices we carry in our pockets, on our wrists, and even in our glasses. Increasingly, the boundaries between the physical world around us, and the digital world of our devices, are blurring, thanks to AR, VR, and wearables. Beyond what we carry with us, computing is spreading out into the world around us in the form of the Internet of Things. What were formerly separate “virtual” and “IRL” experiences, are now braided together.

We are now fully in the Age of the Data Boom. From an era when data and information were top down, scarce, and tightly curated, we now find ourselves in a world where data and information are bottom-up, dynamic, chaotic, and as freely available as turning on a water from a faucet.

Much of that data is from us, about us. It can power vital tools, from machine learning to building smarter cities. But the Data Boom comes with security concerns baked in: witness the recent Equifax data breach of sensitive personal information, or the news that hackers broke into a casino’s network through its “smart” fish tank!

Nora Young talks about the challenges and opportunities for libraries in this exciting and often chaotic world.


Nora Young is an informed and ideal guide for anyone looking to examine—and plan for—the ever-changing high-tech landscape; she helps audiences understand trends in social media, big data, wearable tech and more, while showing them how to better protect their privacy in our increasingly digital world. The host and creator of Spark on CBC Radio, and the author of The Virtual Self, she demystifies technology and explains how it is shaping our lives and the larger world in which we live.

Young was the founding host of CBC Radio’s Definitely Not The Opera, where she often discussed topics related to new media and technology. Her work has appeared online, on television, and in print. Along with Cathi Bond, she has been a hobby podcaster of The Sniffer since 2005. Her favourite technology is her bicycle.

You can follow her on Twitter @nora3000

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