Week 1 – Questions
Week 1 Discussion Questions
1. What are some positive and negative aspects of communication technology development? Immediate information, consumerism, world market, impatience?
2. Now that we have the internet, what could possibly be the next step in telecommunication technology?
3. Our modern world runs on the electrical impulse. Could we function as a society, as a planet, if our natural resources were to run out, leaving us with no fuel for electricity? What kind of consequences would that bring?
1) With the way we communicate advancing each year, what other forms of communication might be created in the future?
2) Will there be a change in our storage systems as technology advances and our needs require more space?
3) How will our ever growing changes in technology affect war?
Candice (Gladwell – Tipping Point)
# Relying on what exists can hamper creativity or shape new ideas to fit what is know now, rather than allowing them to take their own form. What other obstacles stand in the way of technical innovation?
# Bush writes, “Mendel’s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and extending it.” This presumes that had this specialized information been more accessible to those sharing Mendel’s skills, his work could have been expanded on sooner. But is that the case? Can this be assumed?
# Fidler notes that, “Newspaper publishers were among the first…to launch independent [radio] stations. Some thought the medium might be used to economically distribute electronic editions and thereby reduce their dependence on mechanical presses and delivery trucks.” With the economic downturn post Internet proliferation, newspapers are shutting-down en masse. Had publishers continued in their quest to eliminate overhead, perhaps this would not be the case. Why didn’t they keep innovating?
Chad (“a computer that is not networked seems almost useless today”)
1. Vannevar Bush considered his era’s methods of communicating the results of scientific research to be “totally inadequate.” Do you think this is still true?
2. Medical doctors swear to “never do harm to anyone” when they take the Hippocratic Oath. Should scientists who develop new technologies take a similar oath? What would be sacrificed if they did?
3. Fidler quotes Thoreau: “Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things.” Do you agree with Thoreau’s warning?
Chadrose (telegraph like texting)
Cindy (Memex = Google)
- Do you think that the internet will be able to keep up the pace of new information present on it or will we eventually hit a wall of technology?
- Do you think that we will still have television, paperback books and radio by 2045?
- What aspects of the internet, with the current growth will end up having negative effects on our society?
Corey (challenges faced by inventors + adoption cycle)
1. Has the internet noticeably sped up the rate of public adoption of new technologies by making these advancements more readily available or is the public so overwhelmed by new technologies that public adoption of these advancements is slowing down?
2. Did Vannevar and others visions of new technologies shape the way these technoliges converged? It seems very plausible that ideas such as the “memex” were immediately put into action as soon as the individual technologies were invented.
3. If we take into consideration that many early advancements in computing are associated with the military, can we expect that many further advancements will be created for military purposes or have we gotten over the hump to where the public sector is driving technology forward?
1) In light of the recent announcements of the Seattle PI, what do you predict will happen to printed media in the next 50 years?
2) How do you feel about society adopting an “all digital” media and communication standard? Do you think this will occur?
3) Knowing that he died in 1974, how do you think Vannevar Bush would react to the internet and pcs if he were alive today?
JR (link between comm and transportation)
- Has technology given us more abilities to play god?
- Is our current knowledge and how we store them have the same fate as that of the knowledge stored in the library of Alexandria?
- Is there a plateau in which technology has in terms of developing communication methods?
Jamie (survival principle – “information is only as useful as the indexing system”)
1. Mediamorphosis made reference to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and how delayed reports of a tragedy like that would never be possible in today’s information-driven society. Has the fact that we are now pummeled constantly with “breaking news” and 24-hour in-depth coverage de-sensitized us to tragedies? Do major world events seem less significant now that we have a constant flow of information?
2. In light of the Internet’s increasingly significant role as an unlimited source of information and ideas, does access to the Internet constitute a fundamental human right? Do governmental efforts to restrict access to the Internet – particularly in countries like Australia that claim to be democratic societies – violate that right? How do we protect this right on a global scale?
3. If human knowledge continues to increase exponentially, the technology used to index that information must increase in similar fashion. What should the next great innovation be, and how will we be accessing information in ten (or even five!) years? Are keyboards and search engines about to become obsolete?
4. How much more useful – as a research tool, a general reference tool, a media library, etc. – has the Internet become in our lives with the sort of indexing capability provided by Google?
John – no post
(1)What does Texas and Maine have to say to each other? Walden suggests in the article that the medium is not validated by the content. Are there significant benefits to the betterment of society?
(2)How does media continue to shape what is “real”?
(3)What is the good of a newspaper running a radio station? What is the good of a newspaper having a website?
(4) Bush mentions some devices. What are their contemporary counterparts?
(5) What great technological discoveries would have changed his concepts?
(6) How would you try to describe future technologies?
1. According to Fidler, how did advancements in the nineteenth century affect the creation of the “information society”?
2. How has the Internet been used to unite people, and how has it been used to divide people?
3. How will America’s next generation process information differently because of the Internet and other digital media?
Mark (physicans needed?)
- Will radio and television soon become obsolete as we know it today?
- With the “Mediamorphosis” of technology occurring so rapidly, should we consider the adversities of this rapid change?
- With the rapid advances in technology what can we expect the computers of tomorrow to be like?
Megan (cameras size of walnuts – info overload)
– Knowing what we do about past predictions of the future, do the future predictions of today seem any less “science fiction’?
– Will there be something to replace the Internet, a better way to store and share knowledge? Similar to how the CD replaced the cassette tape.
– Will the Internet continue to compete with current sources of information, entertainment, and communication, or will it simply replace them?
Michael (dry photography – KEG-> today’s polaroid)
- Does the class think digital media such as emailing, messaging, and cell phones will eliminate face to face communication? Why or Why Not, and
- Do you agree with Fidler’s claim that the age we are living in is only the initial stage of computers (105), what could possibly happen next?
- Another question that comes to mind is what do we see in our lifetime as the next major step forward to enhancing and making the computer more efficient and a better piece of technology?
Mike (military connection)
What is next? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will likely soon quit its print operation and operate only electronically. Is Amazon’s Kindle the electronic reading device that finally breaks through? Are these two more portents for the end of printed paper materials?
* What might be the impact on home and business computing of new, foundational computer technologies currently under devlopment such as the memristor, spintronic data processing and quantum computing?
* Are questions of what the future of the internet and computing may look like actually answerable or are their answers clouded, like Bush’s was, in our present-centric view of technology?
* What communication technologies will be in regular use in the future? (For example, will social networking technologies such as Twitter displace the newspaper? Will individually generated content, shared peer-to-peer replace the need for centralized content creation and distribution by media conglomerates?)
Robert – no post (missed Wed lab)
Stephen (“our computers will get to know us better”)
Q1- The amount of information generated is increasing at an exponential rate. How are we to handle that?
Q2- How would our behavior on the internet change if anonymity were not possible (if it really is today)?
Q3- What changes might we need to make to ourselves to catch up to the new media technology that we use?
- Do think the internet is sustainable or do you believe it will be surpassed by a different technology?
- Do you believe it will be held historically that the internet has been a positive force in the history of mankind?
- Discuss your opinions on this quote from “As We May Think” : “The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good.”
1) In Today’s world, individuals rely on electricity for mostly everything. What if this dependable resource was lost or used up? Could today’s society function without computers? Without the Internet? Without cell phones? Why not?
2) Will there be a fourth metamorphosis for technology? Is it possible to expand beyond the complexity of the Internet and other modern technologies? Will these forms of technology exist in 10, 20, 50 years?
3) With the race to find the fastest way to exchange information, who will compete to be the founder or owner and advertise the new advancement? What previous technology and/or founders will be lost?
Tyler (“No one would wish to spend the money necessary to make this change in the telephone system”)
- How far off was Bush on his predictions?