Group Presentation I: Social Impact of Computer Science

This is the first project for the CS160 class. I worked on this myself and didn't partner up. The page is broken into different areas. Each area is about a specific portion of the project. The areas are listed below. (Each one is also a link if you would like to just jump to an area):

Five existing today that were not around 20 years ago

Where did it go? Five things that used to be hip

Predictions of the future.....new technologies as seen by Tom

Going, going, gone.... Things that will join the dodo and Milli Vanilli

 

Five existing today that were not around 20 years ago

Cellphones - If you think back even ten years ago the idea of having a phone that fit in your pocket and was capable of working from anywhere, almost, seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. Now we have phones that can also send photos, sound, and video. Of course all these features come at a premium.

Wireless connectivity - Way back when dinosaur computers roamed the earth, actually they didn't roam the earth. The computers I'm talking about were big and heavy. No one would want to move it around. The idea of connecting to a network, something also relatively new to the mainstream world, wasn't considered. It's not that the idea hadn't been thought of but it was not important to have a wireless connection to a computer that will never move.

 

Electronic controlled appliances - I take my coffee pot for granted. I set the timer before I got to bed and in the wee hours of the morning when I arise from sleep there's coffee hot and ready for me. This was not possible twenty years ago. The size and cost of electronic componenets prohibited their use in appliances.

Video games that sense sunlight - Video games were in their infancy twenty years ago. Handheld video games were yet to come and now there is a game on the market that actually senses sunlight. It isn't fooled by light from any lamps. It must be from the sun. Details on the game can be examined here: Boktai

OnStar - Commercials on television show an automobile accident. There is broken glass an torn metal on the road. You see the inside of a car and a voice is heard. "Mr. Johnson, this is OnStar. We've detected a deployment of your airbag. Do you need assistance? We're dispatching an ambulance to your location." This technology is amazing! The lifesaving possibilities are endless. Another advertisement deals with a woman who has locked her keys in the car and has a newborn inside. OnStar unlocks the doors for her. More

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Where did it go? Five things that used to be hip

Betamax VCRs - I never even got to say 'hello' to Betamax before it went bye-bye. This dinosaur was destined to extinction even though it may have been of better quality than it's replacement VHS. Here is some factual information: Betamax

Slide Rules - When I was a kid, my dad let me play with his calculator. It was a Texas Instruments with the red LEDs. It came with a battery pack and an adapter to plug into the wall. I remember it was pretty darn cool. He always told me I was lucky to not have to learn to use the slide rule. I even saw one once, in my drafting teacher's desk. Engineers swore by them. Now we use computers and don't even remember our multiplication tables.

Eight Track tapes - I remember finding these in the closet at home. I never owned a player for them. My parents did. They had a fancy home player but not one in the car. I grew up on cassettes and records. Here is some technical stuff about them: 8 tracks

Manual typewriters - The one time workhorse of the office is now only seen in movies and thrift stores. I used to have one. I even used it! Another candidate for the obsolete technology list would be the companion to the manual typewriter -- the carbon copy sheet.

LaserDisc Players - In the days before DVD technology there existed LaserDiscs. These were an apparent cross between the compact disc and a record. If you saw one you'd remember it. I had a player and we frequently shopped for new movies. Unfortunately it was quickly replaced by the DVD. Here is more info: LaserDiscs

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Predictions of the future.....new technologies as seen by Tom

All-in-One cards - There will be a time when everything is kept on a single card. The technology already exists. The public is afraid to use it. There are companies that make "smart cards" for use by the military and American Express has rolled out it's version called "Blue." I forsee a card in the future that carries more than just banking information. It will carry medical and personal information. It could even carry data similar to cookies in your browser that will interact with stores to provide information. It may even be capable of storing a person's DNA sequence as an identifier or even encryption algorithm.

Videophones - This may not seem like much of a leap into the future but I'm not talking about seeing a static picture of your friend on the screen of your cellphone. I'm talking about fully integrated sound and video in cellphones. The bandwidth problems of today will be solved and new more flexible and innovative screen technology will make the cellphone of today completely different in the future.

Computer implants - There has already been progress in the field of using brain activity to control external computer circuits. It is only a matter of time before we can have implants to allow us to use our bodies more efficiently. Imagine not having to worry about repetitive stress syndrome because the computer is controlled by thought. The possibilities are limitless. One could even implant a device similar to the smart card mentioned above and get rid of the card entirely. A chip could be implanted in the wrist of a person. The chip would not only allow purchases to be made at the store but it could also unlock your car and start the engine too.

Bio-computers - The kind of biocomputer I'm talking about is one that's part silicon and part living tissue. It essentially makes a cyborg, part man and part machine. The idea here is seamless integration of human tissue and machine/silicon. It also closely couples the two previous ideas. Once technology is achieved the others will come. Here is a link describing both living tissue and DNA biocomputers.

Entertainment hubs - The stereo home entertainment systems of today will be moving over for a more sophisticated version soon. There will be new systems that interconnect the television, no longer a CRT, to the digital video recorder and the internet/cable along with your computer's media database. The outputs will be in digital dolby surround sound or Sony's SDDS format. This will allow the viewer the luxury of recording events/shows and watching them later. Or they could connect to the movie store and download/stream a show, or even download a new music album and play it.

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Going, going, gone.... Things that will join the dodo and Milli Vanilli

Wired networks - There has already been much progress in unwiring the world. As newer technology develops and current technology becomes more available, I see the wired world to be a thing of the past. Already where I work I see engineers wandering the halls with their wireless notebooks. There are more and more WIFI hotspots cropping up every day. In the future the only wires connecting networks will be the hardcore large bandwidth optical wires built into the infrastructure.

Telephones - I'm not talking about cellphones, and certainly not about the videophones I described earlier. I'm talking about those things you see at your parent's house. The big old plastic ones that were connected to the wall and weren't cordless. They recently came into the spotlight during the major blackout to hit the east coast because unlike new cordless phones, these phones don't need electricity to operate. Regardless of this advantage they will be gone soon.

PDAs - These handy devices will not as much be gone but will have evolved enough to be considered different. Much like Betamax, the PDA of today will be replaced by newer, smaller, and more capable devices. There are companies that make palm computers which are actual desktop replacements.

VCRs - I still use mine. But that's only because I don't have a way to put all my old episodes of Ren and Stimpy onto my computer. The technology exists, I just don't have it. With the price of DVD players coming down to the same price as VCRs and the cost of DVD movies dropping too the VCR is on it's deathbed. Newwe generation DVD players also play regular CDs, CD-RWs, MP3s, and make toast (not really toast). I know when my VCR dies I will not be rushing out to replace it.

Cassette tapes - Who buys these things anymore? I haven't bought one since I bought my mom's old car and had to drive across Montana. I bought a cassette tape because there was no radio reception. Now I don't even own a cassette player. If I ever find myself in that situation again I won't have to worry because my iPod broadcasts radio frequency and I can listen to my music anywhere there is a radio.

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