Engineers know what they mean by the word technology. They mean the things engineers conceive, design, build, and deploy. But what does the word global in the phrase global technology mean? Does it mean finding a way to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise serve the 9 billion people who will soon live on the planet? Does it mean competing with companies around the world to build and sell products and services? On a more immediate and practical level, can the rise of global technology be expected to create or destroy U.S. jobs?
The National Academy of Engineering held a three-hour forum exploring these and related questions. The forum brought together seven prominent members of the engineering community:
- Esko Aho, Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations and Responsibility, Nokia; former Prime Minister of Finland
- Bernard Amadei, Founder, Engineers Without Borders, Professor, University of Colorado
- John Seely Brown, Visiting Professor, University of Southern California; Former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation
- Ruth A. David, President and CEO of Analytic Services, Inc.
- Eric C. Haseltine, Consultant, former Associate Director for Science and Technology in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and former head of research and development at Disney Imagineering
- Nicholas Negroponte, Founder, One Laptop Per Child Association Inc., Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the MIT Media Lab
- Raymond S. Stata, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Analog Devices Inc.
In the first half of the forum, each panelist explored a specific dimension of the global spread of technology. The topics varied widely--from reducing poverty to the impact of young people on technology to the need for systems thinking in engineering. But all seven presenters foresaw a world in which engineering will be fundamentally different from what it has been. In the second half of the forum, the panelists discussed a variety of issues raised by moderator Charles Vest and by forum attendees.
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