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Neil Postman, a well-known cultural critic, suggests that computer technology is too important to be left entirely to the technologists. “Embedded in every technology,” he says, “is a powerful idea….”
“The United States,” the authors say, “is now in the second stage of a major technological transformation” that is changing American life. Some people are calling for more federal government protection.
This article has a distinctly different tone than the previous piece. The author states, “Occupying a third place in human intellectual culture, computing is not bound by the need to describe what does exist (as in natural science) or what can be built in the real world (as in engineering).”
Ever since some economists began to doubt that computers contribute to a company’s productivity, others have been trying to prove the opposite. Productivity figures for the past couple of years seem to be on the side of computers. Not so fast, says Stephen Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley.
Even as cities like Philadelphia are working to transform the entire city into a wireless hot spot—with government as the internet service provider of last resort—communications companies are fighting to keep local governments out of the broadband business.
Of the $35 billion dollars worth of purchases that search engines generated in 2004, Google accounted for a healthy share. This means that a lot of companies are going to pay Google to be included among search results.
The article argues that software development is like military procurement, and suffers many of the same woes, including excessive complexity and cost overruns.
Do immigrants displace native workers? Is the United States siphoning off talent from countries that can ill afford to lose it? This Berkeley professor argues that high-skill immigration is more complex than that.
Highly paid programming jobs are being outsourced to places like India and other countries with educated workforces who are willing to earn less than Americans.
The recession in Silicon Valley has been difficult for many. Santa Clara County, California combines some of the highest unemployment in the country with some of the highest housing prices.
Though glamour stories of rich Silicon Valley software engineers don’t figure in the American imagination like they did during the salad days of the dot com boom, one is still not quite prepared for this take of forced overtime.
This article uses data from several surveys “to examine two key aspects of the computer evolution: the spread of PCs at work and the evolving wage differentials between individuals who use them and those who do not.”
In a business environment where half of surveyed managers report spending more than two hours each day answering email, “it’s never been so easy to be misunderstood.”
It should surprise no one that entering freshmen, who grew up using the Internet, should turn to university-sponsored blogs to ease the transition to college life.
Bloggers in the 19-21 age group tend to be interested in “dorm life, frat parties, college life, my tattoo, pre-med,” while their parents tend to blog about “science fiction, wine, walking, travel, cooking, politics, history, poetry, jazz, writing, reading, and hiking.” Past age 57, however, their interests turn toward cats, poetry, and death.
According to Rosen, “our technologies enable and often promote two detrimental forces in modern relationships: the demand for total transparency and a bias toward the oversharing of personal information.”
Would you wear a computer helmet that would let you filter out the “ever-greater intrusions by government and business” on your “personal space and freedom?” What is the cost of not having such an item?
How Google ranks web sites may mislead us into thinking that what is popular is also true.
Even the Author, of the Times Literary Supplement is falling prey to the power of Google.
According to the author, “the problem with piracy is not the inadequacy of existing laws, but the high cost of enforcing any law against the large universe of infringers.”
Manufacturers are exercising increasing control over their products after they have left the store. Users gain security at the price of freedom.
After being told that electronic voting machines were inexpensive to run and reliable, election officials have had to learn something that all software developers know: “the testing and certification processes are suspect, and the software is far from bug-free.”
According to the authors, “E-voting machines potentially make electoral fraud unprecedentedly simple. An election saboteur need only introduce a small change in the master copy of the voting software to be effective.”
The same generation of students who buy jeans online “are turning out to be equally sophisticated consumers of college information.”
Never an easy job, leading a college in the age of the Internet requires sifting through email, reading blogs, and fending off criticism whose volume would be inconceivable without networked computers.
“Whatever the problems,” write the authors, “the move to automate war has become an irreversible force.”
“What’s being tested in Iraq is not just the mettle of the U.S. military but an entire philosophy of warfare,” say the authors. Is it true that large numbers of land troops aren’t “always needed in an era when powerful networked-computing systems…can do much of the work?”
Harm caused by spyware ranges from gobbling up computer speed on your PC to enlisting your machine in attacks that can disrupt major businesses or the government.
“Most experts agree,” says the author, “that the Internet is not just a tool of terrorist organizations, but is central to their operations.”
Charles Mann learns from computer security expert Bruce Schneier that “the trick is to remember that technology can’t save you.”
Clive Thompson states, “when Mario is bored…he likes to sit at his laptop and create computer viruses and worms.”
Government documents, from the 38 million emails generated by the Clinton administration to electronic records of the 1989 invasion of Panama, are on disintegrating electronic media, stored using now obsolete formats.
Internet news sources can sometimes be unreliable. Paul Hitlin examines Internet coverage of the Vince Foster suicide along with other stories to understand just why this is so.
Sometimes the risks of computing are found in unlikely places. Critics complain that a slide show presentation underplayed the dangers facing the Columbia space shuttle.
What to do with the detritus of the digital age is a growing problem. Shipping it to China seems to be one solution.
This piece on Indian programmers should be enough to keep chairs of American computer science departments awake at night.
While India turns out more and more programmers willing to work for a fraction of their American counterparts, enrollment in computer science across the United States is dropping. The author believes that “inaccurate impressions of opportunities” are behind the decline.
According to Shanthi Kalathil, “many authoritarian regimes have realized that adapting to the information age means relinquishing a measure of control.”
“Far from trying to regulate the Internet by merely restriction diffusion,” says Boas, “authoritarian countries such as China and Saudi Arabia are employing both technological and institutional means to control use of the Internet while also encouraging its growth.”
Afghans are beginning to go online in Internet cafes.
Japanese youth appear to be foresaking computers for cell phones.
Digital assistants may one day help us control the flood of information.
Digitized music and high-speed networks are putting an end to records and record stores.
The author claims the Internet will be the “main method used in 30% of courses” by 2014. As with all predictions, enjoy, but read critically.
Nahan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer of Microsoft Research has a new venture. Its mission is “to invent what…inventors believe should be—or can be—invented.”
What does a quadriplegic young man who plays pong have in common with a monkey mentally moving a joy stick and “soldier-controlled killer robots?” The answer: Brain Computer Interface or BCI.