-Inventing the Future 1.5 Into the Information Age 1.6 History of the Future 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age

A Bright Future Ahead?

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by bad news and lose hope for the future. In this fascinating and inspiring TED talk, Peter Diamandis makes a compelling case for a bright future fueled by technology, do-it-yourself ingenuity, and a global network of people working together to bring about profound change. Is he right?

-Updates 10.3 Security, Privacy, Freedom, and Ethics 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age 15.6 The Robot Revolution

Will You Be Living in a Drone Zone?
Computer-piloted drones have become part of life—and death—in war zones. But , according to John Villasenor, we’ll soon be seeing drones in American skies performing non-military tasks. As he explains in this NPR Fresh Air interview, a flurry of ethical, social, legal, and political questions will arrive with those drones.

-Updates 13.4 E-Commerce Ethics 9.3 Internet Issues: Ethical and Political Dilemmas

The Dark Story Gets Darker

Mike Daisey’s monologue on This American Life a few weeks ago fueled the firestorm of criticism of Apple for treatment of workers that make all those iProducts. There’s truth in many of the criticisms, but there are enough untruths in the monologue to cause the producers of this popular public radio program to devote an entire episode to exposing the real, fully factual story. This episode says as much about the ethics of journalism as it does about the ethics of manufacturing gadgets.

-Updates 6.1 Focus on Computer Graphics

A Whole New Kind of Photography
Digital cameras have transformed the way we take and edit photographs, but a digital picture is still just a picture. Until now. This groundbreaking camera doesn’t just create a two-dimensional representation of a scene; it captures 3D light patterns that can be focused and refocused long after the shutter button is pressed. Will it change photography forever?

-Updates 13.3 E-Business 2.0: Reinventing Web Commerce 7.3 Database Trends

The Big Impact of Big Data

One of the biggest buzz words in the computer industry today is actually two words: Big Data. Massive increases in computing power have made mountains of data accessible to businesses and governments. How does big data affect you? A page on the IBM site gives a quick overview of the business world of big data, while a pair of NPR stories aired in late 2011 focus on the impact of big data on our lives.

-Context 7.4 No Secrets: Computers and Privacy 8.7 Social Networks

Two Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Facebook

Facebook is a complex, ever-changing digital world. No matter how much time you spend there, it seems there’s always more to know about it. For example, did you know that Facebook filters out most of your posts before your friends can see them? Or that Facebook users are, in general, hiding more personal information than they did even a year or two ago? These two Huffington Post articles have details.

-Context 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age 9.3 Internet Issues: Ethical and Political Dilemmas

The Divide that Hurts Everybody—Especially the Poor

After decades of technological advances, the Digital Divide is still with us. A lack of competition and other factors keep Internet access expensive for most of us and completely out of reach for many poor people. The cost of a lack of Internet access is staggering. Non-computer users can’t even apply for jobs at Walmart or Target. And, by the way, they can’t read this Huffington Post article, which shines a bright light on this dark corner of our Internet Age.

-Updates 10.1 Online Outlaws: Computer Crime 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age

Hacktivism: Hacking for a Better World?

One of the biggest tech trends isn’t a new gadget or tool; it’s a relatively new way of using gadgets and tools as agents of change. This article in CBC News explains why and how “hacktivism” is becoming an important—and potent—force in our world.

-Updates 7.0 The Google Guys Search for Tomorrow 7.4 No Secrets: Computers and Privacy 9.2 Inside the Web 9.5: Inventing the Future: The Invisible Information Infrastructure

Google and Your Privacy: What Do You Need to Know?

Google has been getting plenty of of publicity lately because of major changes in its privacy policy. These two articles, one from Huffington Post and one from Consumer Reports, explain how these changes affect you and what you can do about them.