Next month I start a new job at Arizona State University as University Technology Officer. I'll be working out of the Office of the President to develop a long range technology plan in support of President Crow's vision for the New American University. Over the next six months, I will be working with folks throughout the University to identify ways to apply new technologies to improve ASU's academic, administrative and research environments.
We live in exciting times, in large part driven by unprecedented technological progress. Increasingly powerful, portable, interconnected and ubiquitous computers are dramatically enhancing people's capabilites in nearly every area of human endeavor. In the past decade IT has injected a host of exotic new capabilites into everyday life ...
Cell phones and Camera phones, IM and Email,
Web pages, Firefox, IE and Google,
Amazon, Ebay, Broadband and Bluetooth,
DVD and MP3, JPEG and VoIP,
Word and WiFi, Laptops and PDAs
Playstations, Xboxes, IPODs and Thumbdrives
Suddenly, everyone types -- from grandmas to grade schoolers. Kids in elementary school make Powerpoints like their parents once made posters. Wireless headsets and voice recgnition make phone conversations more like telepathy. Anyone interested in the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow can now -- in seconds -- find not only science's answer (24 miles an hour) but King Arthur's as well. In the past ten years, IT has brought the movie business its biggest revenue stream (DVD sales more than double ticket revenues) and threatened its survival with peer to peer downloads.
And its not near over.
The computer keypunch, once a symbol of the Space Age, is now a museum piece. In ten years time, the mouse and keyboard we associate so closely with our own high technology will surely follow the keypunch into obsolescence. In their place will be new interfaces that streamline the interactions between people and the rapidly increasing network of computers that work for them. These new interfaces will redefine the relationship between people and the net, blurring the boundaries between devices, blurring the boundary between the real and the digital.
In the face of this kind of change, I believe that technology can do more than streamline the University's back office administrative processes. These dramatic changes in communications, and the capture, storage, retrieval, and presentation of information can be used to enhance every student's academic experience while at the same time lowering costs and increasing the university's reach. I believe that present and future technology advances can help make ASU -- its resources, its discoveries, and its people -- more accessible to its students, its alumni, and the citizens of Arizona. There is an opportunity for ASU to be a leader in the application of these technologies to the academic enterprise. I look forward to meeting the people who are making the New American University in the Valley of the Sun, and working with them to chart ASU's technical future.