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Technology and society videos

August 3, 2009

Technology and society videos

By Denise Scammon

Progression of technology: The video encourages viewers to think about how far technology has come in our lifetime (and before!) and where it might be heading. Lots of facts are included in this fast-paced video. Please take the time to watch it. It has some eye-opening facts in it.

How new technologies originate and diffuse: This video was filmed at the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine. It highlights the computer-to-plate machine that replaces the film machine. The CTP machine allows users to send page images directly to a plate that will be fed into the printing press, whereas prior to the CTP machine, images were sent to the film machine in which a negative was produced that was then placed on a plate and the image was created on the plate. So the CTP machine saves time and money. The CTP machine has evolved from older technology.

Gene therapy: This video shows an example of why gene therapy should be funded and encouraged. Stem cells from the patient were used in this therapy, and using a patient’s own stem cells is not as controversial as using embryonic stem cells. The patient suffered from a rare disease and benefited from the gene therapy.

Even if gene therapy helped prevent premature baldness, I think resources could be directed elsewhere.

Japanese school tests robot teacher: Volti states that robots are useful in some automated production, such as CAD and CAM, but that humans are better in other situations, such as moving products from one location to another. I found this short video about a robot that briefly touches on the pros and cons of using a robot as a teacher. The end of the video is funny.

Literacy: I thought that this video drives home an important message and asks the question: How often do you see someone intently reading, completely absorbed in a book and unaware of the surroundings? When you do see someone reading, is the person young or old? Do you see a decline in the age of people who read?

Military technology: While some people might just like to throw pumpkins out of car windows or roll pumpkins down hills, here are a bunch of people who resorted to medieval weapons such as the trebuchet and catapult to hurl their pumpkins. Pendulum, counterweights, centrifugal motion … technology improved. Interesting that trained armies could defeat untrained armies, even if those untrained armies had “better” weapons.

Public policy and technology: This short video reinforces the message that was part of both the Teich and Volti  readings. The government does not have policies in place for some emerging technologies. The government sometimes looks to the private sector for research and nonpartisan information on new technologies. In this video, a speaker for the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M explains the importance of the Institute’s public policy research.


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