"The Great Brain Debate" from the Knowledge Cities World Summit in Melbourne asks the question: Do we need to protect our malleable brains from the information overload of our digital world? And, does it mean we're not using them to delve as deeply as we used to?
Arguing the affirmative is Professor Susan Greenfield, a British scientist, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords, who's widely praised for her research on Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Opposing her, is a full-time champion of the Web and all things socially networked, Peter Williams, CEO of Deloitte Digital.
The battle is refereed by ABC News 24's Michael Rowland.
Baroness Susan Greenfield, is a British scientist, writer, broadcaster, and member of the House of Lords. Greenfield, whose specialty is the physiology of the brain, has worked to research and bring attention to Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Greenfield is Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, and Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. On February 1, 2006, she was installed as Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Michael Rowland is a broadcast journalist, with prior experience as finance reporter for ABC Radio News and Current Affairs. Rowland spent five years in Canberra as a political correspondent for ABC Radio News and ABC-TV's Lateline, and has presented national news bulletins, and hosted breakfast, morning and drive-time programs in Canberra and Melbourne. Rowland is Business Breakfast's Melbourne reporter.
Peter Williams is a global thought leader, speaking on innovation, the use of web technologies and social media. A chartered accountant by background, Peter moved into the web space in 1993. Williams is CEO of Deloitte Digital, and Chairman of the Deloitte Innovation council. Prior to this, Peter was CEO of the Eclipse Group, previously one of Australia's largest web development companies.
Williams has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times (UK), The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review and BRW. He has worked with clients such as BHP, Telstra, AFL, NAB, ANZ, Google, Microsoft and the Federal and Victorian Governments. He is also a Board Member of Circus Oz and Emue Technologies Pty Ltd.
Web innovator and social media commentator Peter Williams argues that gaming can actually help kids learn and engage in their environment more deeply. Williams recounts how games such as Donkey Kong and Fallout have shaped his son's education and interests for the better, allowing him to engage in learning on the subjects of his choice.
"If you are spending a lot of time engaged in the cyber world, what are you not doing?" asks scientist Baroness Susan Greenfield. She addresses the plasticity of the human brain and our innate ability to adapt to any situation. Greenfield sees a possible negative impact on the brain if we overuse social media and digital entertainment.