Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Module 7

Team Enhydra Solutions has been voted to produce a video on advancements and stalemates in technological development over the decades.  We'll give some consideration to past fantastical forecasts and whether or not they've come into existence or to realization.  Then, we'll look forward to some of the current predictions for the future.  We're currently listing the specific projects we'll recount and the special media we'll try to use.

I watched a few videos with similar subjects to ours on Ted.com.  The first was "Bill Joy: What I'm worried about, what I'm excited about" (Joy, 2006).  He begins by speaking about the way that technologically simple solutions can still provide benefits for mankind, and still greater, as in the case of clean water sourcing having a greater effect on a population's health and longevity than access to antibiotics, which is certainly not to belittle the immense contribution of the latter.  He additionally adds that technology has created an asymmetrical situation in which single actors have a powerful capacity through technology to cause tremendous damage.  He mentions the developments in genome sequencing that enable digital development of eradicated diseases for study, if not immediately nefarious ends. It's worrisome that it is so difficult to defend against terrible acts which have become much easier to commit on a massive scale.  Joy argues that while these threats are severe, "we can't give up the rule of law to fight an asymmetric threat, which is what we seem to be doing because of the present, the people that are in power, because that's to give up the thing that makes civilization" (Joy, 2006).

By his efforts to redress some of the problems upon which he cogitates, Joy argues that we now need to design the future and attempt to lessen the risk of these problems or the probability that they will come to pass.  He is confident that improvements can be made in the following fields, upon which he focuses: education, environmental protection and pandemic biodefense.  Firstly, Moore's Law will practically result in affordable computers for educational use.  Secondly, new materials developed that are lighter and stronger, such as nanotubes, will have effects on the environment: "[they] can make water, ...fuel cells [that] work better, ...catalyze chemical reactions, ...cut pollution and so on. Ethanol -- new ways of making ethanol. New ways of making electric transportation. The whole green dream -- because it can be profitable. And we've dedicated -- we've just raised a new fund, we dedicated 100 million dollars to these kinds of investments. We believe that Genentech, the Compaq, the Lotus, the Sun, the Netscape, the Amazon, the Google in these fields are yet to be found, because this materials revolution will drive these things forward" (Joy, 2006).

Another video I viewed was "Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist"(Ito, 2014).  In it, Ito discusses the changing paradigm of technological development, so that after the development of the internet, innovation is happening from the ground-up and with greater rapidity or immediacy.  Now, the developer's maxim might not be 'publish/plan or die', but 'develop or die.'  He elaborates,  "...so it's happening in software and in hardware and bioengineering, and so this is a fundamental new way of thinking about innovation. It's a bottom-up innovation, it's democratic, it's chaotic, it's hard to control. It's not bad, but it's very different, and I think that the traditional rules that we have for institutions don't work anymore, and most of us here operate with a different set of principles. One of my favorite principles is the power of pull, which is the idea of pulling resources from the network as you need them rather than stocking them in the center and controlling everything" (Ito, 2014).  Ito was able to resolve a problem himself using the communicative, immediate and organic nature of development through the internet.  After the 2011 9.0 earthquake in Japan damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Ito wanted to know the radiation levels that no government or NGO were able to provide or make available because his family resided only 200 km. away.  Right away, he took matters into his own hands with fellow concerned internet-users around the world, and this without prior planning, infrastructure or supplies. "Three years later, we have 16 million data points, we have designed our own Geiger counters that you can download the designs and plug it into the network. We have an app that shows you most of the radiation in Japan and other parts of the world. We are arguably one of the most successful citizen science projects in the world, and we have created the largest open dataset of radiation measurements" (Ito, 2014).


Ito, J. (2014, March).  Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist. [Video File].  Retrieved from

Joy, B. (2006, February). Bill Joy: What I'm worried about, what I'm excited about. [Video file].  
     Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_joy_muses_on_what_s_next/transcript?language=en

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