Guest Post: Enriching Scholarship 2013: Tech Talk

I’m trying to catch up with promised blogposts for the various Enriching Scholarship sessions I coordinated or in which I participated. Lucky for me, Shannon Murphy attended one of the sessions and blogged about it so beautifully that I am just reposting here, with her very kind permission and a very small number of copy-edits. You can see the original post at:

ES 2013 Tech and Trends:

ES13 Tech Talk (#UMTTC)

ETech guru Patricia Anderson presented. As usual, there are tons of resources.

The mind map for this is available at

Members of the UM community may want to sign up for the Cool Toys Conversations email group in MCommunity. You can also follow the Cool Toys blog or the ETechLib blog

The talk follows the mindmap, starting from the upper right and working around clockwise.

What is emerging tech?

It’s what’s new and hot and relavant and important.

New Media Consortium’s Horizon report is a good resource, and is what they usually focus on in the Cool Toys email group. Find out more about the project at Download the higher ed report in English from

The future is here (at UM)

Examples – last year’s ES poster winners

Would have liked to have this year’s winners too. Our instructors are doing amazing things with today’s technology, and we’re developing things that can be next year’s tech.


Many of these are issues we face year after year. For example, do students with the money for laptops or tablets to bring to class have an advantage over those who can’t afford portable tech? Should we be introducing students to high end computers and software if they won’t have access to those things in the jobs they get when they leave here? What competencies do the students actually need in the future?

How we answer those questions now will determine what higher ed looks like and whether or not we survive.

Resources and past years

The Resources bubble provides a lot of resources for exploring further.

The 2011 and 2012 Tech Trends are provided so you can compare where we were a year or two ago, and where we are now.

Tech Trends 2013

“My Take”

Wearable tech generated a lot of chatter on the cool toys email group However, what was is the Cool Toys chatter was not the same as what was in the horizon report. The Horizon report focused on things like the much hyped Google Glass, and smart watches like Pebble. But there are all sorts of things, like biometric tattoos that can warn diabetics if their blood sugar is too low, or buttons for your jacket that detect if you’ve had too much to drink. Also, some slightly disturbing options, like the tattoo that vibrates when you got a phone call. (This tattoo is not MRI safe. And what do you do when the technology changes??) Wearable tech can be big too, like the scarf with sensors so it you crash on your bike, it turns into an airbag bike helmet, or the power suit designed for soldiers but usable by paraplegics to allow them to walk again.

Patricia also discussed the power of technologies like Personal genomics, Personalized medicine, Quantified self and Biohacking. These let the individual learn more about themselves and their health through things like developing a personal genetic profile, tracking exercise goals or finding correlations between symptoms and diet. Lots of data helps the user and their doctor diagnose problems more quickly and treat them more effectively.

3D printing was also a big item. These bring their own set of questions and issues. What will it mean if everyone had the ability to print whatever they want? WILL everyone be able to do this, or will this be another thing that separates groups (those who can afford it and those who can’t). Are there things you shouldn’t be allowed to print, and how would a ‘bad’ be enforced? Bioprinting is also an emerging technology, with things like replacement bones and ears already possible.

Related to the 3D printing is the Maker Culture. Here in A2 we have MakerWorks and All Hands maker space There’s also the Maker Faire Detroit each year at The Henry Ford Groups like make it easy for designers and makers to make their designs available to other makers, and to anyone with a 3D printer.

Gartner Hype Cycle

Handy for checking on what might be overhyped right now (like 3D printing, social analytics, and gamification), under-hyped, what’s likely to be a hot topic next year, and what we are seeing turn into practical, usable, and realistic tech (and as a slow typist, I’m rather glad to see speech recognition finally becoming useful!)

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013

A list by the MIT Technology Review.

See the list at

Again, wearable tech like smart watches and 3D printing apear on the list.

Also on the list are memory implants. While intended for people with cognitive dysfunction, could these be used by “normal” people who want a better memory.

Deep (machine) learning – AI is closer to reality. This have some unintended consequences too. For example, programs were designed to make spam look more like normal human speech, so it could get around the spam filters. However, it was still mostly gibberish. Poets found some of it interesting and started using the “creative” content from the computers to generate Spam Poetry (is that plagiarism?)

Big data from cheap phones also has some potentially profound implications. In Kenya, a database that used text messages from users to track the location of prescription medications eventually lead to (democratic) political upheaval. The Boston Marathon bomber was caught largely due to cell phone video. These open up privacy questions. According to David Brin, that can be OK as long as there is data equality. However, we will face serious problems if one side is transparent and the other is not.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s