How things have changed…
Bruce P. Mehlman
The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.
Blog posts tagged with 'Technology'
Friday, August 23
How things have changed…
Friday, June 21
While we here at IIA are pro technology — broadband especially — we harbor unease about robots. Specifically, robots armed with weapons. Thankfully, as Signe Brewster of GigaOm reports, we’re not alone:
Of the 1,000 people surveyed by University of Massachusetts-Amherst researchers, 55 percent said they oppose autonomous weapons, with most answering “strongly opposed.” Almost 20 percent answered “not sure.” Answers were consistent across political affiliations, ages, genders, regions, education and income levels, but not service status: 73 percent of active military personnel responded with disapproval. Language such as “stopping killer robots” and “banning fully autonomous weapons” garnered similar responses.
“People are scared by the idea of removing humans from the loop, not simply scared of the label,” survey head Charli Carpenter said in a release. Carpenter is an associate professor of political science who studies ethical debate stirred by autonomous weapons.
Tuesday, May 28
Immigration reform is a hot topic in the Beltway these days, and as Jennifer Martinez of The Hill reports, one industry in particular is leading the charge:
The tech industry is targeting six GOP senators in the hopes of building a supermajority behind the Senate’s immigration bill.
The bill approved this week by the Judiciary Committee significantly increases the cap on H1-B visas commonly used by tech firms, and softened tougher restrictions on their use.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the importance of immigration in the tech sector in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. As he wrote:
To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people. We need to train and attract the best. We need those middle-school students to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Given all this, why do we kick out the more than 40 percent of math and science graduate students who are not U.S. citizens after educating them? Why do we offer so few H-1B visas for talented specialists that the supply runs out within days of becoming available each year, even though we know each of these jobs will create two or three more American jobs in return? Why don’t we let entrepreneurs move here when they have what it takes to start companies that will create even more jobs?
Monday, May 20
Via Zack Colman of The Hill, Ben Bernanke is bullish on the tech sector:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke touted innovation and information technology as drivers of economic change in a Saturday commencement speech at Bard College in Massachusetts.
“Humanity’s capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history,” he said.
Bernanke also touted advancements in biotech, health care, and clean energy as helping keep the tech boom from becoming a bubble.
Wednesday, May 01
Over at Rolling Out, our Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons has a piece on how technology can help lead to healthier lives, particularly in minority communities. Here’s a taste:
Broadband Internet access, especially mobile broadband, can go a long way in terms of achieving the goals of improved health care access and affordability. According to comScore, smartphone ownership is at 54 percent in the U.S. That’s a lot of iPhones and Androids in the pockets of Americans across the map, and when it comes to health care information, Pew Research reports more than half (52 percent) of the people owning these gadgets report using them to access health or medical information.
You can read Jamal’s full piece over at Rolling Out.
Tuesday, February 12
Our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher recently spoke about health care, technology, and the transition to all-IP networks at the NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute. Here’s video of his speech:
For more information on the NRHA, visit their website.
Friday, February 01
Here’s something interesting for your Friday. At GigaOm, Laura Hazard Owen writes about a research project aimed at predicting the future:
Researchers at Microsoft and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are creating software that analyzes 22 years of New York Times archives, Wikipedia and about 90 other web resources to predict future disease outbreaks, riots and deaths — and hopefully prevent them.
The new research is the latest in a number of similar initiatives that seek to mine web data to predict all kinds of events. Recorded Future, for instance, analyzes news, blogs and social media to “help identify predictive signals” for a variety of industries, including financial services and defense. Researchers are also using Twitter and Google to track flu outbreaks.
We live in amazing times.
Monday, January 14
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, won’t be running for another term. At Broadcasting & Cable, John Eggerton writes about the senator’s long-standing focus on technology:
Rockefeller has been one of the strongest voices for online privacy, a cybersecurity bill backed by the White House, inquiries into the impact of TV, online and video game content on kids, and was instrumental in legislation to auction broadcast spectrum to help pay for an interoperable 911 emergency communications network.
Thursday, January 10
CES is an absolute avalanche of tech. Simply keeping up with the various announcements and news reports can be a challenge. But as someone very much interested in both education and technology — and where they often cross paths for the good of society — I wanted to highlight an app showcased during the convention earlier this week. It’s called “Big Bird’s Words,” and comes courtesy of Qualcomm and the Sesame Workshop. At Fast Company, Anya Kamenetz has a good description of the app:
Big Bird’s Words lets kids use their parents’ phone to scan the world around them for printed words. Big Bird then helps them learn to read by sounding out the first letter. (“You found the word Milk! It starts with the letter M.”)
Beyond the cool factor, Big Bird’s Words is yet another example of how technology is turning the traditional idea of learning on its head. This is something we touched on last summer in our “Back to School With Broadband” seminar (archive here), and the fact that Big Bird’s Words made its debut during Qualcomm’s keynote address at CES shows the collision of technology and education, specifically in the mobile space, is only heating up.
That makes ensuring broadband access all the more important. Not just by wiring schools, although that’s critical, but expanding the reach of mobile broadband. To get there will take investment — particularly in next-generation IP-based networks that can handle the constant deluge of data. It will also take a commitment from both the government and industry to make achieving the goal a high priority. If Big Bird’s onboard, we all should be.
Tuesday, January 08
GigaOm’s Ki Mae Heussner writes about some new education technology McGraw-Hill debuted at CES. Called the “SmartBook,” it’s an ebook aimed at adapting to a student. As Heussner writes:
Content is still structured somewhat like a textbook but instead of asking students to read it thoroughly from start to finish, it coaches the student on how to read the material and quizzes them on various concepts as they move through each section. Depending on their responses, they’re guided along to different highlighted passages. McGraw-Hill said it expects to release SmartBooks at prices starting at $19.99 for about 90 courses later this Spring.
Friday, November 30
Via Patricia Reaney of Reuters, a new report sheds like on how mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are affecting education:
Smartphones were used at home for schoolwork by 39 percent of 11 to 14 year olds, 31 percent of those surveyed said they did assignments on a tablet while nearly 65 percent used laptops, the poll by research firm TRU, which specializes in data on tweens, teens and twenty-somethings, showed.
For more on technology and education, check out our “Back to School with Broadband” webinar from August.
Monday, October 15
In an op-ed for Sunday’s Washington Post, Kwame Simmons — Principal of Kramer Middle School in Washington, D.C. and recent participant in our education-focused webinar — wrote about how his school has embraced technology in an effort to better educate kids:
At the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, Kramer logged barely double-digit scores on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS): 17 percent proficient in reading and 26 percent proficient in math. The school had a much-warranted bull’s-eye on its back. But after a year of planning and a three-year School Improvement Grant and two-year Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Education Department, we have high hopes for change. Our secret weapon and education equalizer? Broadband.
Kramer is the first school in the district to implement a new program that is predicted to elevate student engagement and drastically improve test scores. The grant funding has increased the number of laptops available for use in our classrooms, so that we now have a one-to-one student-to-laptop scenario at Kramer, a rare gift in the field of education.
That one-to-one student-to-laptop scenario Simmons mentions is impressive — and important. With school districts increasingly facing cutbacks and growing class sizes, technology like laptops and tablets — and the next-generation networks that power them — can unlock opportunities once out of reach and help students succeed. That’s something we should all be behind, but as Simmons goes on to note, the country still has a ways to go:
Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm in our country. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan, only 37 percent of all teachers reported having electronic access to achievement data for students in their classrooms. Building out reliable broadband access must remain a national priority.
Simmons then touched on something we here at IIA have long focused on. Namely, the need for more investment in broadband:
I’m highly committed to proving him wrong and hitting our goal of boosting test scores by 40 percentage points in five years. As we closely monitor the progress at Kramer, let’s encourage the public and private sectors to invest in the networks that make online learning possible. Broadband is the bridge that will connect D.C. Public Schools’ goals to reality.
Wednesday, October 10
This week, the New York Times’ popular “Digital Doctor” feature is focused on how technology is affecting health care. From a piece on apps and iPads penned by Katie Hafner:
The history of medicine is defined by advances born of bioscience. But never before has it been driven to this degree by digital technology.
The proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information has given clinicians — especially young ones like Dr. Rajkomar, who is 28 — a black bag of new tools: new ways to diagnose symptoms and treat patients, to obtain and share information, to think about what it means to be both a doctor and a patient.
The ongoing series, which has also tackled telemedicine, electronic medical records, and even computer-designed teeth — is worth checking out.
Wednesday, August 29
Recently, Google launched a portal making it easy for Americans to register to vote. But according to Gregory Ferenstein of TechCrunch, the good-faith effort may not have the desired effect:
[E]xperimental research into the impact of such online registration systems finds that they actually decrease registration. Apparently, the ease of the online process lulls citizens into complacency and they forget to follow through with the rest of the process. The unfortunate drawback can be offset with SMS reminders, which TurboVote encourages. So, depending on the number of people comfortable giving Google their digits, this well-intentioned experiment could backfire.
Monday, August 13
This weekend, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan was named Mitt Romney’s VP pick. Over at TechCrunch, Gregory Ferenstein examines Ryan’s history when it comes to tech:
Ryan’s voting record has supported better access to high skilled immigrants, an open Internet, crowdfunding for startups, and intellectual property reform. However, his ambiguous stance on net neutrality and proposal to cut science funding leaves a noticeable scuff on his otherwise sterling record.
Friday, July 27
From 1977, meet the first portable computer, also known as the IBM 5100.
Thursday, July 19
A new report finds that when it comes to investing in the U.S., tech companies are leading the pack. As Josh Smith of Tech Daily Dose reports:
AT&T and Verizon top a list of 25 major companies investing in the United States, according to a report released by the Progressive Policy Institute.
The think tank named its top 25 “investment heroes” that are spending resources domestically.The list of non-financial companies also includes tech and telecom giants such as Intel, IBM, Comcast, Time Warner, Sprint, Google, and Apple.
The Progressive Policy Institute’s full report is available on their website (PDF).
(Disclosure: AT&T is an IIA member.)
Thursday, July 12
Ryan Kim of GigaOm reports that New York City has started to make the innovative shift from payphones to Wi-Fi hotspots:
The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free. You can see a list of sites here. Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running. Currently, there are no ads on the service, but there could be in the future.
The effort is part of the city’s larger goal of providing more digital inclusion for residents. And it’s also aimed at helping figure out the future of the city’s payphones, which are a source of complaints from many residents because they attract crime or are just plain ugly.
Friday, July 06
Over at GigaOm, Om Malik poses an interesting question: Given the power of today’s smartphones — fueled by innovative tech and the power of mobile broadband — is it time to stop calling them phones all together? As Malik writes:
We spend about 11 minutes a day on email, 10.2 minutes on text messaging and when you total it all up, we stare at our smartphones for a whopping 128 minutes.
That’s a whole lot of a staring at a device we used to mainly use for talking.
Tuesday, July 03
“Mobile Network Design and Deployment: How Incumbent Operators Plan for Technology Upgrades and Related Spectrum Needs” is a paper released last week by engineer Peter Rysavy. In it, he examines the lengthy process wireless providers go through to locate new spectrum and put it to use:
Managing wireless networks is a complex process that must balance infrastructure investment with service revenues, capacity with demand, and that must optimally time the deployment of new technologies. Part of this balancing act is acquiring and deploying radio spectrum. Spectrum can neither be immediately acquired, nor can it be immediately deployed. Instead, operators have to phase it into their networks in conjunction with the right technology at the right time over periods that span many years. The fact that operators may have idle spectrum at specific points in time does not mean that they don’t need it, and it does not mean that they don’t intend to use it.
If you’re looking for a smart — and consumable — breakdown of the importance of spectrum, Rysav’s paper is worth digging in to.