Douglas Engelbart in a Flow of Inspirations

Douglas Carl Engelbart (1925-2013) is cited most prominently for his 1968 “Mother of All Demos”. He introduced his team’s research program by using of an early time-sharing computer system, what he called an “oN-Line System” (NLS), that used a “mouse” to support human interaction with the computer. For example, as you can see from his … Continue reading Douglas Engelbart in a Flow of Inspirations

Robots: Commentary by A. Michael Noll

REIN IN THE CLOUD REJOICE IN THE ROBOTS [The following commentary is authored by A. Michael Noll, and posted with the permission of the author. It illustrates the disagreement among experts on the social implications of new technologies, such as robotics, AI, cloud computing, and the Internet, demonstrating the value of continued research on the … Continue reading Robots: Commentary by A. Michael Noll

Get Back to the Classroom

Get Back to the Classroom Given continuing uncertainties about the COVID pandemic and its variants, it is understandable that many universities are not in a position as yet to commit to in-person, face-to-face, teaching and a return to normality on college and university campuses. This is particularly the case for those individuals – teachers and … Continue reading Get Back to the Classroom

Social Media Could Have Prevented the UK’s Post Office Scandal

Over seven hundred  (736) ‘sub-postmasters’ were charged – many if not most unjustly – with criminal offenses from 2000-2013 because of discrepancies in their accounts, leading to charges of theft, fraud, and false accounting (Meddings 2021). Had they been siphoning money from their accounts? We have learned that many of these discrepancies were due to the … Continue reading Social Media Could Have Prevented the UK’s Post Office Scandal

Online Micro-Choices in Remote Seminars, Teaching, and Learning

Online Micro-Choices Shaping Remote Seminars, Teaching, and Learning The move to online education has been a huge shift, dramatically hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the existence of technical options, such as online meeting platforms like Zoom and Teams. For decades, handwringing and resistance over moves toward more online instruction, seminars, and lectures has collapsed … Continue reading Online Micro-Choices in Remote Seminars, Teaching, and Learning

The Meaning of Like

Today’s newspaper was riddled with insults and accusations about who ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ various posts on Facebook. To paraphrase, one read ‘that a board member of x [any board or agency or organization] has “liked” or shared social media posts about y [any controversial topic] by z [any controversial figure].’ How could they? Months ago, … Continue reading The Meaning of Like

COVID-19 Balancing Acts

COVID-19 Balancing Acts  The press has fostered growing recognition of the balance that politicians must strike between public health and the economy. This is important, but more attention needs to be focused on the balancing acts of individuals – the public at large. Each individual needs to juggle multiple pressures in making choices about staying … Continue reading COVID-19 Balancing Acts

Society and the Internet

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the Internet and related social media and digital technologies to the forefront of societies across the globe. Whether in supporting social distancing, working at home, or online courses, people are increasingly dependent on online media for everyday life and work. If you are teaching courses on the social aspects of … Continue reading Society and the Internet

Self-Preservation of Your Work

Self-Preservation of Your Work For decades I have been concerned over the fragility of information and whether ephemerality or the transitory nature of information and communication is just an inevitable feature of the digital age. I therefore frequently look back at a talk I gave on the Internet to a conference of historians held in … Continue reading Self-Preservation of Your Work

To Be Virtual or Not to Be: That is Not the Question

Today’s newspapers have wonderfully conflicting stories. One story is about Ministers of Parliament (MPs) in the UK being angry over their ‘virtual parliament’ coming to an end.* The other story is the opposite, about the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, facing criticism from his Cabinet because they are continuing to meet via online video conferencing rather … Continue reading To Be Virtual or Not to Be: That is Not the Question