-Updates 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age 9.3 Internet Issues: Ethical and Political Dilemmas 9.4 From Cyberspace to Infosphere

The Activist in Your Pocket

buycottDid you ever wonder who gets your money when you go shopping? You may, without knowing it, be donating your hard-earned cash to people and corporations who use it to fund campaigns that go against your beliefs and values. This Forbes article describes Buycott, a smart phone app that can instantly reveal the secret origins of the items in your shopping cart. Whether you’re concerned about a cleaner environment or a more equitable society or something else, technology can help you vote with your wallet every time you shop.

-Context 6.4 Multimedia Authoring: Making Mixed Media

When Music Machines Learned to Talk to Each Other

midi-namm-2012MIDI is the communication standard for electronic musical instruments. This 30-year-old technology has revolutionized the music industry. This NPR piece explains why and how MIDI made digital music happen.

-Updates 1.3 Computers Today: A Brief Taxonomy 15.4 Pattern Recognition: Making Sense of the World 15.5 Question-Answering Machines 7.5 Inventing the Future: Embedded Intelligence and Ubiquitous Computing

Are You Ready for a Face Phone?

google_glass_snl_parodyWhen Apple released the iPhone, the world changed. People were carrying powerful computers in their pockets and purses. Developers released a bevy of creative apps to harness that always-available computing power. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without smart phones. Could Google Glass, the wear-on-your-face computer from Google, be the beginning of the next revolution in personal computing? This short NPR story explains how early adopters plan to use their prototype high-tech specs.
Of course, not everyone views Google Glass through such rose-colored lenses. This Saturday Night Live skit mocks the idea that Google Glass can be used discreetly; other detractors question our need to become even more dependent on our technology.

-Cross Currents 10.2 Computer Security: Reducing Risks 15.1 Thinking About Thinking Machines 15.5 Question-Answering Machines

The Man Who Lost his Jeopardy Title to a Computer

What’s it like to be the world Jeopardy champion and lose to a computer? Ken Jennings can tell you, and he does in this engaging TED talk. From his unique perspective, he suggests that we can—and must—make a choice about the kind of future we want to have. Which world do you want to live in?
More about Watson:

-Context 4.4 The User Interface: The Human-Machine Connection 8.4 The Network Advantage 9.2 Inside the Web Chapter 1 Exploring Our Digital Planet

Five Minutes, Ten Tips. How Many Hours Will You Save?

David-Pogue-TEDDavid Pogue is one of the most prolific–and entertaining–tech writers we know. In this short TED talk, he runs through a list of tips that can save you time every day. Don’t miss it.