CIRI blog

The Myriad Issues and Trends of Technology

Published: Thursday, June 9, 2016 by Sue Alman

The wide range of new and sophisticated technological products impacts us as a society, as information professionals, and as individuals, and it’s incumbent on us to be aware of the issues and trends that will affect our local and global actions. The daily media barrage announcing new technologies makes it difficult, if not impossible, to keep track of developments and to understand their relevance in all facets of our lives.

In order for information professionals to offer technology-based resources and services to our communities, we must plan strategically for the changing technological landscape. The skills needed to play a prominent role in the emerging future include an understanding of:

  • Resources to review for the synthesis and analysis of new technologies (Resources include publications, websites, organizations, trade shows, individuals)
  • Strategic forecasting methods employed by individuals and organizations
  • Skills needed to acquire funding for the purchase of new technologies
  • Wide range of issues affecting the implementation of new technologies including: (Privacy, cybersecurity, big data, digital divide, net neutrality, virtual reality, governmental restrictions by country)

Here is a short list of popular resources to familiarize you with technology issues and trends.

You might also want to keep up-to-date through an aggregating service. Flipboard is an excellent tool to use since it gathers content from social networks, news publications, and blogs. The app displays stories, articles, blog posts, videos and other pieces of content in a magazine-like format.

Students enrolled in INFO 282 Emerging Future: Technology Issues and Trends seminar offered by me in spring 2016 gained skills to plan strategically for the changing technological landscape. We created weekly Flipboard magazines on the topics listed below and discussed the ways in which each of these issues can impact our future.  While at first glance some of them may not seem relevant to the information professions it doesn’t take long to find relationships between Granny Pods as a future habitat for the aging population and the use of robots for elder care—and the services that libraries can provide to this community.

List of Topics that Impact the Emerging Future

1. Agriculture: Farming/Synthetic or Artificial Foods/Research
2. AI (Artificial Intelligence), Robotics
3. Apps (Applications)
4. Arts and Humanities
5. Big Data
6. Employment/Workforce
7. Energy: Renewable, Sustainability, Fossil Fuels
8. Entertainment/Recreation: Music, Film, Sports, Hobbies
9. Financial: Banking, Monetary, Stock Exchange
10. Gaming
11. Governments: Domestic and Foreign
12. Housing
13. International Issues
14. Internet of Things
15. Medical/Health
16. Privacy/Cyber Security
17. Telecommunications: Internet, Phone, Wireless Devices, etc.
18. Transhumanism
19. Transportation/Travel/GPS
20. Wearables

Projects developed by students in the course are showcased here to provide you with a glimpse into some of the technologies that will impact our emerging future.

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