What's our statues in the technological world of today?
In a world filled with laptops, wireless internet and cell phones that take pictures, it is easy to forget that we are living in a period of history where the expansion of technology is growing exponentially.
This non-stop rate of increase means that in a few years, the tools and systems we use now will seem outdated, and in a few decades they may even become obsolete.
Think of what happened to cassette tapes. In the '80s and early '90s, they were everywhere.
Then, there was an emergence of the Compact Disc. Not to mention videotapes, which DVDs are now promptly replacing.
In the May 2005 edition of MIT's Magazine of Innovation, "Technology Review," the special issue cover story was the "10 Emerging Technologies." The preview discusses 10 of the newest and groundbreaking technologies that are on the verge of becoming commonplace in everyday society.
From biomechatronics, where scientists actually merge robotics with parts of the nervous system to create improved artificial limbs, to Quantum Wires, where wires spun from carbon nanotubes could carry electricity faster, further and better than copper wires; these forms of technology include everything from air travel, computers, data systems and even medicine.
Technology will never cease to revolutionize the way we live.
"There are so many changes, that technology is ever evolving. There are always going to be new solutions to our problems," said Jocelyn Chong, dean of information technology.
In terms of new technological implements and improvements in current systems and applications at SMC in the next few semesters, students can expect changes.
Next year, the SMC self-service web site will be revamped.
The system will be updated to improve the current way students can add and drop classes.
"It is a major priority, and students will see a drastic difference," said Chong. "Our goal is to provide more, yet not compromise the current system."
Also, the Library has been hooked up with wireless internet access on all its computers, but Chong is reluctant to say whether or not the entire campus network will go wireless.
"Wireless is not an entirely proven technology at this point because of the speed and security issues. But it can be advantageous in the right environment," she said, speaking of the Library.
Currently, SMC is working on making improvements with the phone and computer network data systems.
The old system for the phones, where students enroll and pay for classes, was done using Voice Over IP, which is the regular data communication technology.
But Chong says this system is outdated. She says that the goal is to converge the way voices are communicated over the phones, and the way data is handled through wires. In other words, the phone system and data network will be one in the same.
The plan will first be tried out on SMC's Bundy campus sometime next fall.
"It will save money, because we won't have to separate the wire costs - it will be the same wires, and protocols," said Chong. "The long- term plan is to broaden the possibility of the voice and data network for the entire campus."
Shifting perspective from SMC to around the world, the advancements are so broad and rapidly changing that it is difficult to focus in on one specific area.
But, surely, the future of technology lies in nanotechnology.
To understand this, we must first grasp what a nanometer actually is. When we think of measurements, the smallest we can conceptualize is probably a centimeter.
One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; approximately the length of three to six atoms placed side-by-side, or the width of a single strand of DNA.
It might help to know that the thickness of a human hair is between 50,000 and 100,000 nanometers!
Nanotechnology, the ability to make things from the bottom up using techniques and tools that are being developed today to place every atom and molecule in a desired place, is so remarkable because of the scale scientists have to work on.
But it is real and not merely in the pages of science fiction.
Scientists all across the globe are working on building motors, robot arms and even whole computers far smaller than a cell, only a few nanometers wide!
Nanotechnology is often referred to as a general-purpose technology because in its mature form it will have tremendous impacts on almost all industries and all areas of society. It offers better-built, longer lasting, cleaner, safer and smarter products for the home, for communication, medicine, transportation and agriculture.