Disruptive Technologies Discussion
By jhawk on Jul 21, 2005
Future Disruptive Technologies: The Perspectives of MIT and Stanford
Moderator: Tom Byers, Professor, Stanford University
Alice Gast, VP for Research and Associate Provost, MIT
Jim Plummer, Dean of the School of Engineering, Stanford
Today I virutally attended a Webninar seminar from AlwaysOn. The topic was "Future Disruptive Technologies" and the guests were from MIT and Stanford.
Seems the biggest portion of the talk was mostly "back patting" between MIT and Stanford for their reputation in innovation. Not really inspiring unless you are a "gifted" high school student lined up to attend one of these schools. They were focused on inspiring students in attending their universities. I never attended these two universities, and I still found myself (fairly successful at it I might add) in Software Engineering. The real inspiring needs to be those talented students who like me who come from Community Colleges and State Universities. They may not have met the entrance criteria for these top notch schools, but they have a huge potential for innovation and new ideas outside of Stanford and MIT.
"Engineering studies are tough work." Second part of the talk was about attracting foreign students to these schools for technical studies. They were advocating for easier process for these students to come to study and to also work in the US. A majority of students originating in the USA aren't really prepared to face the realities to enter these courses of study. Most high school students in the US don't see the benefit of all this hard work.
Funding of research from US Government isn't really helping to drive competitiveness in new technologies. In the past technologies such as Email and the Internet would never have been realized without initial research funding from Government agencies. Future areas could be in biomedical where, for example, we could create technologies to stimulate our own immune system to attack medical conditions such as cancer and viruses.
How we build the Internet if we had to start over? Stanford researches restarted what the Internet would look like than what it is today. Some of my thoughts.. some of the findings may be that the Internet would initially would be a stove pipe. Different vendors would attempt to control what that picture would look like. I remember in the early 90's many of us thought that the Internet would be Microsoft's Blackbird. It is interesting to look that Internet standards won against the vendor implemtentation because they were being solved by a diverse community rather than a small group of market driven individuals. The diverse community had various interests, not just the interest of making money with their products.
Energy research at Stanford are sponsored by corporations (US-based and multi-national) and not the US Government. The Dept. of Energy doesn't seem to to be collaborating with the Research organizations to develop more creative and more efficent means of energy.