10. Technology Advances, Social Trends

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ISS-58 Progress MS-09 undocks from the Pirs DC
Technology is changing the society in which we live. There are many new and exciting innovations introduced each year to benefit the people of the world.

Learning outcomes

  • learn about work in progress and how it could impact the lives of millions
  • understand the importance of innovation and creative thinking
  • identify areas where technology is advancing
  • imagine technologies for future Tech Awards


  • innovation, technology advancement, smart materials, nano-technology, blockchain, digitization, datafication, virtualization, xaaS everything-as-a-Service, transparency, governance, accountability, sustainable

Study notes

  • What are some of the new and exciting benefits that technology is bringing to society?
  • Is there a limit to the innovation in technology to benefit society?
  • Do we each have a role to play in ensuring that technology is used for good?
  • Are you aware of applications of technology that are causing serious problems? What is being done about these? How can you help?
  • What would be a great candidate for a future Tech Award?


  1. Before you start the reading and the assignments, take a few minutes to think about what you already know about the topic - Technology Advances, Social Trends . What don't you know? What questions do you have? Write a sentence or two about this in the I have questions... discussion.

  2. Read the Study notes for an overview for the topics that will be covered.

  3. Read, view, listen to several selections in the Media list.

  4. Big Picture, Distant Future - In this module, we are going to be looking at the future of technology and society. From the selected media, or search the web to find a resource that suggests different outcomes or directions for technology and society. This could include anything from education and work to wearable computers. Find one that you think is particularly interesting about the social issues discussed and why these are important. What do you expect will result from the interactions between technology and society? Will it be good or bad? Post the link to the resource selected and your analysis in the Future of Technology and Society discussion topic.
    Review and comment on 3 others. What questions does this raise? Provide another viewpoint or add additional information. Your responses should be 2-3 sentences. How has this expanded your understanding of the topic?

  5. View the video Future of Technology (Apr 2009). The video is old but well done. Then view the video Did You Know 2023? (Aug 2023). There are lots of facts and figures in each to highlight what is happening with technology. What are some questions that you have that will be statistics in the future? Find another resource with information on one or more of the "facts" presented in the video. Post a link to the source of your information update and your question to the Future... video updates discussion forum. Read 2-3 other reviews.

  6. The Tech for Global Good Awards honors individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies who are using technology to significantly improve human conditions. The technology used can be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology. Read through the information about the awards. Then visit the videos of recent winners and honorees. Which one do you think will impact the greatest number of people? How will people benefit? Post a link to the honoree or award winner and your reasons for making your selection to the discussion Tech Awards with social impact.

  7. Coming Soon - Trends and society - There are many trends that are influenced or created through the internet - microfinance, remote healthcare, government services, innovative consumer and business-to-business technologies. How are these impacting society in our actions and purchases? Find a resource that provides an interesting description or discussion about trends, where they come from and how they impact you. Post the link and a brief description 3-4 sentences to the Trends and Society discussion. Review the posts of 3 others.

  8. Here now - Have you seen some new and exciting technology that we haven't talked about? Looking to technology today and beyond, there are new applications, new software tools and new directions in information technology. Select a web site that is an example of where we are going. Why is this important to society? Post a link to the site and describe your selection in the What's new and important? discussion forum. Comment on 2-3 other posts and provide your thoughts on the technologies and applications highlighted.

  9. Science Fiction and Society. Science fiction books, movies and articles often include descriptions and discussions of society in the future that accompany futuristic technologies. Find an example of science fictional society and post the link and a brief description of the society to the Sci-fi Society discussion. Review 2 others.

  10. Robotics. Find a video or description of robots with new and interesting features that allow them to do amazing things. Post a link to your selection and a brief description of the importance of this to the Robotics discussion. Review 2-3 others.

  11. Oceans and Space - the next frontiers. Many of the technologies in use today were developed to meet the needs of people going to sea or going to space. Find an example of one of these technologies. What impact has this had on society? Post a link to your resource and a comment about the origin and impact to the Oceans and Space Technologies discussion. Review 2 others.

  12. Why Do We Explore? From the time of our birth, humans have felt a primordial urge to explore -- to blaze new trails, map new lands, and answer profound questions about ourselves and our universe. Review 2-3 articles and assess the relationships between technology, innovation and exploration. Post a note and a link to a relevant article about the connections to the Exploration discussion.

  13. Select one of the discussion topics from any discussion in previous modules (modules 1-9). Read through the posts. In your own words, write a short summary of the important ideas discussed. What questions were not answered? Identify one or two important points that are made in the discussion. Post your 2-3 sentence summary to Discussion Summaries discussion.

  14. Interesting topics discussion revisited. Look back through the posts in Module 2. Interesting topics discussion. Pick a topic that you would like to research further. It may be your own topic or someone else's. Select a resource - an article, blog post, diagram, chart, video, podcast, or an infographic that provides additional information about the topic. Post a link and a summary of your findings to Interesting topics revisited.

  15. Review Collaboration and Group Projects and complete the Group Project preparation Quiz.

  16. Individual and Group Project - The "group project" is part individual work, followed by collaborative work. In addition to the individual work, start working on the group work part of the project. Your project group is your Project Groups Discussions group. Your grade will be based on your participation.
    The details are provided in Module 11. Final Projects. Use the Project template for your outline. The template is view only. Make a copy for your own group project.

  17. The Group Project is only one module but there is a lot of work to do. And you are working with several other people. This takes extra time and cooperation. Start NOW. What is the process for producing final project? Why is this going to work? How can you communicate to ensure that everyone is working together? What If there are problems with this arrangement? Discuss these questions as they apply to the Group Project in the Project Group Discussion.

  18. Throughout the quarter, watch for news items about computers and society. For extra credit, post a link and a note about why you think that this news item is applicable to this class in the X. News Item discussion.

  19. I wonder... revisited - Learning how to ask good questions is also a skill to practice. Revisit your previous I wonder... assignments. Pick one topic and review your questions. What are some additional questions about this topic that you and others brought up? Summarize your findings and post with the link to I wonder revisited Discussion. Did you have similar questions? Did you find answers? Reply to 2 others.

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