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Technology has always been a two-edge sword. We discovered fire about one million years ago -- a discovery so crucial to human progress and development that Greek mythology attributes it to Prometheus stealing it from the gods to give it to humans. Yet people still die from fire regularly. History has shown that human civilizations have never been able to stop technological advancements. Rather, we learn over time how to deal with technology’s adverse consequences.

Rice University is launching a university-wide initiative focused on the intersection of technology, culture, and society. The goal is to make the study of how technology is shaped by society and culture, and how society should respond to the challenges posed by technological change, a major intellectual theme at Rice University.

As part of this initiative, we will hold a conference focused on the exploration of the dynamic interactions between technology, society, and culture. More specifically, the conference will address the challenges of information technology, healthcare, and climate change from the three perspectives of technology, culture and society.

As of right now, we are still planning to hold the conference onsite. However, we are monitoring the evolving situation on COVID-19 cases both in the U.S. and around the globe and will make an announcement if our decision changes.

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