New Technologies

This is a 10-week seminar, starting on September 28th, 2017 through December 7th, 2017. No class on Thanksgiving.

Moderator:                Janet Price
Day and Time:         Thursday 10:00AM-Noon
Format:                       Seminar
Location:                   Lathrop Northampton
                                        (free parking on site)



We hear buzzwords like “bitcoins” and “virtual reality” and “crowdfunding” and “nanotechnologies,” but in many cases have no idea what they are. This is an opportunity to change that. The aim will be to make these topics understandable to non-technical participants.

Today we are surrounded by new technologies. We no sooner get accustomed to thinking about driver-less cars, than we hear that one company is thinking about flying cars. In this seminar we will consider a variety of new technologies, from big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and deep learning to 3D printing, delivery drones, the Internet of things, and warehouse and health-care robots.

Some of these new technologies will turn out to have negative side effects that must be weighed against their advantages. Some, like solar energy, have already proved their merit, but are continuing to evolve. Some technologies will prove unworkable. Some, like gene editing, may have moral consequences. Some may run afoul of politics. Some may be stifled by philosophical opposition. But some will be part of the everyday lives of our grandchildren.

Role of participants:
Prepare a 30 minute presentation on one of a list of new technologies and lead a discussion afterward. The presentation should include a description of the technology along with a discussion of possible implementation difficulties, side effects, and moral issues.

The moderator will provide a list of possible topics and their definitions, together with some internet links for each topic. For example, a good introductory online article related to health-care robots is ; and a good starting place for crowdfunding is

About the Moderator:
Janet Price has been a member of 5CLIR for about 8 years and has moderated or co-moderated several seminars. She has been interested in technology since she learned to program computers around 1960 and currently drives an all-electric car.

Maximum number of participants: 18

Emeritus/a accepted: yes, 1