Tag - virtual

A Discussion of the Book “Exponential: How the Next Digital Revolution Will Rewire Life on Earth”

Digital technology is now ubiquitous and pervasive in our lives and society, with largely positive impacts on how we live, work, learn, and play. Of course, there are some dangers, risks and concerns as well, but as with any tool we can use combinations of responsible design, education, personal behavior, and policies to mitigate these while maximizing benefit. Perhaps the real question is: how are these technologies changing life and society, at all scales? That is the topic of this fascinating book by Azheem Azhar, and this will be the focus of this inaugural non-fiction online book discussion group led...

An AI Discussion on Fairness, Responsibility, Bias, and Other Ethical Issues

AI is changing the world we live, work, learn, and play in, permeating our lives and jobs and our devices and places, and enabling innovations and discoveries in research and industry. However, this huge adoption of AI—both for support of human decisions and for completely autonomous decisions—in all aspects of society presents real risks as well as transformative potential. In placing our human trust in such powerful learning and decision-making systems, there is much to consider to ensure fairness. AI itself isn’t fair or unfair, but as the human developers, implementors, and beneficiaries, we must understand how to promote fairness...

Exploring Tech & Society Through Sci-Fi: Austin Forum Sci-Fi Book Club

For our monthly online discussion group in March, we will kick off the Austin Forum Sci-Fi book club with Neil Stephenson’s “Snow Crash,” a novel that inspired many of the ideas and terms we use in technology today! While “Snow Crash” isn’t a new novel—it was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1994—the ideas and lessons about technology influence remain relevant today. Our book club focus is on how technology’s influence on society is imagined by creative writers who are extrapolating into possible futures or alternate outcomes—and what this can inform (warn?) us about how we’re allowing technology...

Cybersecurity in 2022: Growing Threats, And What You Can Do

Every company, government agency, and individual depends increasingly on the computers, computing devices like smartphones, and the networks that connect them, presenting opportunities for cybercriminals. As Covid pandemic measures have pushed people and businesses increasingly online and remote, attackers have pivoted as well, exploiting weaknesses in these technologies. Always a present threat, today's exploits are now automated, pushing us to automate our defense as well. Many threats--even if larger in scale--remain the same. Phishing, credential re-use, known vulnerable components, the traditional attacks continue to provide criminals with a steady stream of access to private networks and personal data. It seems...

Microprocessors: From Transformative to Pervasive—and What’s Next

Microprocessor technology has enabled us to transition from a world with only a small number of computers, designed and used for specific missions and purposes, to a world seemingly awash in microprocessors—in data centers and cloud computing facilities, in laptops and smartphones, in smart devices and game consoles in our homes, in our cars and vehicles, in urban infrastructure and sensors of all types, and embedded in devices of all types—if you look (and count) closely enough. In fact, the amazing technological devices are so common that we even throw them out, when newer, better, cooler devices come along. What...