The Future of Technology Through The Eyes of An Inventor

October 6, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Gloria Salinas
gosalinas@smu.edu

Renowned, award-winning scientist and New York Times bestselling author, Ray Kurzweil presented “The Future of Technology” at SMU’s Tate Lecture Series.

Kurzweil’s list of accomplishments include the nation’s highest honor in technology, the National Medal of Technology, one of 16 revolutionaries that made America, according to PBS and the list continues to grow as he is continually involved in projects that revolutionize technology and the world.

Kurzweil’s presentation covered controversial topics of science and technology such as artificial intelligence, solar power and the manipulation of blood cells as advancements of health and medicine using technology.

“There is something special about human beings,” Kurzweil said. “One is that we transcend and go beyond our boundaries…and the other unique thing is that we have knowledge and pass it down through institutions…no other species does that.”

According to Kurzweil, things are getting faster in terms of technological developments. He said it took 50 years for one-quarter of the nation to own a phone, seven years for a cell phone and three years for humans to interact on social media sites, wiki’s, ect.

“I quickly discovered that timing was essential to being a successful inventor,” he said.

He said what now fits in our pockets, like cell phones and iPods, will soon fit onto our clothing and soon after into blood cells. Kurzweil’s mind blowing insight into health and medicine technology that he had a line for questions forming immediately after his presentation.

“Health and medicine used to not be an information technology it used to be hit or miss,” he said. “We are now understanding the information process of biology.”

Using an example he spoke about the fat cells in the human body and how historically man worked long days with a low caloric intake, therefore the body stored extra nutrients in the fat cells to get him through the day.

“Today we don’t need to store fat cells,” Kurzweil said. He confirmed that testing has been done in labs to manipulate cells to turn off the storage of fat in the body and the testing has proven to be successful.

Manipulating cells fed into the topic of “designer babies” but Kurzweil joked that he was more interested in “designer baby boomers.”

Another topic that incited questions after the presentation was the topic of solar panels powering the nation. Kurzweil said he had met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, several weeks before.

Kurzweil said “the unused desert in all of the Middle East could power all of Europe with solar panels” to which Netanyahu replied, “Is there enough sun to do that?”

Kurzweil assured the humored audience that humans have not even begun to tap into the amount of energy and power the sun can provide.

He closed the evening’s Tate Lecture Series with a few predictions for the future; one was that computers will disappear in this decade.

Kurzweil told that audience that there is not a single organ today that is not being augmentated and said that technological advances in health and medicine are “not to displace us, but to transcend who we are.”

Campus News Blog: Flip HD Cameras Available For All Meadows Students

March 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Monica Sharma

Attention all Meadows Students: Flip HD video cameras are now available for you to check out anytime you want. Not just for journalism students anymore, you can shoot and share video of literally anything by borrowing one of SMU’s handheld Flip cameras.

The signs, posted all over the Owen Arts Center, recommend anyone in the Meadows community to check out the cameras to shoot and share videos of class work and Meadows events.

Flip HD video cameras can be checked out for up to five days, but checkout is based on availability and requires departmental approval.

For more information, feel free to e-mail meadowsgear@smu.edu or visit the equipment cage in the basement of Umphrey Lee.

The Flip camera is easy to use, with few buttons and a flip out USB connector, making uploading videos to a computer painfully simple.

Holding up to two hours worth of video, checking out a Flip can be a really useful thing to easily capture some footage from the wide variety of events and happenings going on in the Meadows community.

Campus News Blog: National Cybersecurity Awareness Month at SMU

October 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Maria A. Prato

It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and SMU Office of Information Technology is celebrating it hosting several events to increase awareness of the different computer security threats and the best practices to keep safe.
Here is the schedule for the programmed Brown Bag Lecture, Bring your lunch and learn how to protect yourself from cyber scams:

  • On October 8 at noon, “protecting your personal information”. This lecture will take place in the room 208 of the Expressway Tower.
  • On October 16 at noon, “Passwords are like underwear…” It will be held in the room 112 of the Blanton Student Services Building.
  • On October 23 at noon, “Phishing, Spyware and Worms, Oh My!” This lecture will take place in Hughes Trigg’s Forum.
  • On October 20 at noon, “Desktop Security” at the Hughes Trigg’s Forum.

These series of event will end with the Technology Fair on October 30; it will take place at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center from 10:00am to 3:00pm.
Also, you can visit the SMU Office of Information Technology’s website to get some tips on safety of the Internet.

Global News Blog: College GPA’s Lower Among Facebook Users

April 13, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Chase Smith

If you have ever been in the middle of a paper and stopped to check if you’re friends are bored on Facebook, you are not alone. Students across the world, especially those in college, are finding it harder and harder to stay social online while maintaining a good GPA.

A study out of Ohio State University found, “Sixty-eight percent of students who used Facebook had a significantly lower grade-point average than those who did not use the site.” On the other side of the world, Australian college students are noticing that their grades seem to be following a similar pattern.

It is easy to become distracted when working tediously on a long project, but it seems that people just can’t help themselves anymore. Whether we try to blame it on convenience or just plain laziness, this technology has shown itself to be harmful if overused. One Aussie student admitted that his addiction to Facebook definitely aided to his bad grades. The fact that we can check Facebook pictures or upload photos while in class is not helping the situation.

The key for all the upcoming social technology sites is going to have to be moderation. Many students are doing fine in school, while having a Facebook account. You just have to have enough self-control to not want to check it every hour. It may be on your Blackberry, but try downloading the New York Times application and read the news. Or if you need to get away from intellectual thought all together, check ESPN or watch a 30-minute comedy to relax. There are always other ways to take a 10 minute break in the middle of your papers. Just make sure to pick one that doesn’t have a link to something else, and then to new photos or another friend’s photos.

If you do feel that you are out of control with a social site addiction, there is hope though. According to The Australian, college students in Sydney are even going as far as creating support groups for their fellow students. I haven’t researched Facebook sites personally, but I can imagine there are several groups on Facebook that are about Facebook addiction.

Next time you’re confronted about your Facebook addiction, maybe you should listen. Otherwise you may be at SMU a semester or two longer than you planned. So Facebook and Twitter moderately, SMU, or face the wrath of your parents who already pay too much.

Global News Blog: Kids Will Never Lose a Ball Ever Again

April 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Posted by Chase Smith

In one of the coolest ideas I have seen in a while, the Australian Football League will be trying out a new football that contains a GPS micro chip. Along with other ideas presented in an article by The Australian, technology is about to change the face of sports forever.

“The prototype ‘gBall’, developed in partnership with the AFL and search and online mapping giant Google, will be tested in junior football matches this weekend.

The balls are fitted with durable global-positioning and motion-sensing chips that measure the location, force, and torque of a kick.

Global News Blog: Economy Recession Causes Rise in Internet Crime

March 31, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Chase Smith

You don’t need me to tell you that we are in a financial nightmare. No one feels safe buying, investing, or sometimes putting all your cash away in a bank. According to an article put out by the Australian News this week, criminals are on the loose. Keep locking your car when you go to the store, but make sure to monitor your computer a little closer, too.?

Two pieces about cyber crime grace the Australian wire this week. Both discussed how criminals are looking to make a quick buck off of our bliss. The more disturbing article to me was one that talked about how cyber criminals are specifically targeting kids.

Children are growing up in this age of technology, but still do not understand the repercussions that spending mass time on the internet can cause. The most dangerous effects right now are ways that they let criminals into their homes through a computer screen.

We are warned that social sites like Facebook or MySpace can lead to stalkers creeping through your Spring Break photos, but children don’t always grasp the concept that their profile picture of the Jonas Brothers may look like a money sign. Kids who accept every friend invite from random faces on Facebook could be letting in malicious software to their desktops.

This type of software can find passwords, check key strokes, or even expose bank account numbers. It’s disgusting that this even occurs in the first place, but now the hard times are making kids an easy target.

So what’s the lesson from a few poor kids leaving a door open for fraud online? Pay attention to every e-mail you receive and think twice about who you let view your social sites. All cyber criminals need is one accepted e-mail or message to invade your personal life.

Global News Blog: Canada Video-Game Industry Continues to Grow

March 26, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Sarah Boehland

In the Montréal Gazette there was an article called, “Canada’s video-game industry keeps booming.” The article states that in the last year the Canadian video game market has continued to grow even though the world economy is hurting. According to Statistics Canada, in 2008, 138,000 people were employed in the computer programming and interactive media market. Out of these 138,000 people, 10 per cent of these jobs are provided by the video-game industry.

The article continues on to say that the industry is projected to grow in the coming years. The reason for this continuous growth is that Canada and the majority of the world we live in is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. Without the computer programming industry the world that we live in would not be able to properly run. The reason that I argue this is that the majority of our everyday tasks revolve around technology and in order to produce and create technology we need computer programmers and video-game workers.

Take for instance interactive media sites like amazon.com. Without computer programmers and video game creators we would not be able to interact with these types of sites. If we couldn’t interact with such websites, our access to many resources would be limited and our economy would be further hurt.

Although I realize that today’s society heavily relies on technology I never stopped and thought about how it’s a market that is full of what you could call, “endless opportunities.” The reason that I say this is that because we don’t know what the limits of it are but we do know we need to keep the market alive in order to advance our society. Technology is becoming the mind of the universe and we have countries like Canada, the United States and Japan to thank for this.

Without these countries, our economy would be hurting more and we would not have the technology that we do to keep safe informed. In closure, I can’t help to wonder what’s next for this industry in Canada and around the world? Twenty years ago we never dreamed of having the Internet because it wasn’t something that we even knew was possible. So, what’s next? What things are going to be created? What new opportunities are technology and computers going to present to us?

Global News Blog: Would You Trust A Digital Doctor?

March 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Chase Smith

For the last month or so, Australians have had a lot of news streaming from their Internet. Last week, it seemed that users were not getting the broadband they were paying for. But 2 weeks ago, Aussies put in effect a government plan to emphasize the use of video conferencing to save the cost of travel.

This week, the public was introduced to the integration of medicine in the video conferencing cost-saving movement. This brilliant move has roots across the world. We have heard of genius diagnosticians or world-renowned surgeons assisting on a patient through a camera. The new video-conferencing, in accordance with other similar practices being put into Australia’s national communication plans, may lead to actual holographic assistance.

This means that in a few years, the surgeon trying to repair your heart may be assisted by a more experienced doctor halfway across the globe. It’s amazing to think about the possibilities. We have seen the advances in holographic technology, so maybe that surgeon assisting in the surgery will be able to point to actually point their finger to a tumor that needs to be removed.

An article on The Australian tells how the communication will save millions of dollars, but also allow critical condition patients to receive big procedures at their smaller hospitals. This is the type of sci-fi medicine that the world has dreamt about. Forget the cost of Care-flight; you can be treated for trauma in your local Emergency Room.

A spokesperson for the new system explains, “There is certainly a chronic shortage of specialists in regional and rural Australia, and it is very difficult to attract high-calibre practitioners to country areas. This is one way, we believe, by using high-definition imaging and hi-tech to allow that to happen.”

So if you need a dangerous open-heart procedure when you’re old, feel assured that the best minds of the world will be working on your case. We live in the age of information and communication, and it is nice to see that the world can implement medicine into the mix.

Global News Blog: Australian Broadband Loses Some Validity

March 16, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Posted by Chase Smith

How mad would you be if you found out the high speed internet you paid for was really only running at 65 percent of what’s promised? Millions of people in Australia found themselves in that exact situation last week. Australians are paying up to $100 a month for high-speed broadband but are getting just over half of what they are paying for.

Research? by the global broadband organization Epitiro found, “the average speed delivered by companies such as Telstra, Optus and AAPT is almost half the figure advertised, making Australia a broadband backwater.” Some people are downloading nine percent of the advertised speed when trying to access information from international servers. At times, one could expect the Aussies to be minutes behind the rest of the world in terms of news. A minute or two doesn’t seem like a big deal, but imagine some organizations in a time of crisis. Minutes could be lifesaving for a company that works internationally.

These types of reports just make me wonder: When was the last time a company did a test on my broadband efficiency? I remember the switch from my 56K modem to cable Internet, but should we all be getting more from our service providers? I think the answer is most likely, yes. I guarantee some of us are getting only fractions of what we pay for. Maybe your Internet is slow and we blame it on our computers. Sometimes we need an excuse to upgrade, right? Who knows. Maybe we’d all be shocked to see how efficient our Internet really is.

If you’d like to see how fast you can download and upload check out this free test. You can even retest every now and then to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Global News Blog: Will New Technology Help Argentina’s Economy?

March 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kendra Kahanek

For any starving economy, new technology helps to boost production and create hope for citizens. According to a the article, Mouchel’s ports business in Argentina has supported US-based natural gas company Excelerate Energy for “reaching a significant milestone in the gas industry’s history” by delivering Argentina’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo to a new import facility 400 miles south of Buenos Aires. Natural gas facilities seem like a waste of money to some people but others it’s viewed as an economic boom.

The new LNG import facility raises questions. Why the government chooses to build the first-ever LNG receiving facility and the world’s second dockside regasification facility while the Argentina economy tries to keep its head above water? The import factory would help Argentina gain respect as a technological nation trying to rebuild in any way possible. The Argentina government takes a productive approach rather than a conservative method to gain money for the nation’s economy. This will help positive sentiments from citizen’s paying for natural gas bills, but what about inflation rates.

Argentina’s inflation rate stands at almost 10 percent and buying a new piece of technology promotes growth but does not fix the economic recession. While in the United States natural gas prices roughly doubled when the economic downturn hit, the nation continues to build new natural gas facilities in hopes to cut down on the high natural gas prices. Argentina uses the same strategy, as the United States to break through the nation’s economic recession, hopefully for both nations this method will facilitate new growth.

The more import facilities in any nation makes it easier for citizens to receive natural gas at a cheaper price, but is the cost more than the gain?

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