Week 5 – Class Notes

Theme: We’ve Been Down This Road Before

  • Framing mini-lecture
  • Discussion – Books
  • Discussion Leaders
  • Paper discussion, assistance



Framing Mini-Lecture

Discussion, Books

  • Exemplary reviews:  Michael, PaoloPeter, RebekahRoss 
  • Edits needed for most – add a citation like Michael’s at the beginning or the end (for people who are not in our course!) 
  • Discussion Groups:
    (1)  Harry, Michael, Ross, Pei-Chieh
    (2) Matthew, Suna, Vera 
    (3) Chao-Wei, Jeff, Renee, Rubi
    (4) Brian, Christy, Jen, Peter, Yu-Hsuan, ZiWen
    (5)  Chris, Filiz, Paolo, Rebecca, Xiaoqi, Yun
  • All reviews 

This week’s Discussion Leaders

  1. Christy
  2. Harry
  3. Filiz
  4. Rubi
  5. Ziwen


    While the control of the communications technology sector is constantly fought over, overarching good comes from the resulting innovations and improvements. Although consumers often don’t realize what they want (if they are already happy with their current technology), they will come to enjoy the benefits of new technologies that are often more efficient and less costly. 


    I remember the first day when one of my teachers in elementary school told us that the inventor of the color television was a Mexican, Guillermo González Camarena, an engineer. He invented the Chromoscopic adapter for television equipment, this equipment was an early color television transmission system in 1941 (with a U.S. patent application: 2,296,019). As a Mexican, I have always been proud of this. However, in this class I have learned the difference between a new invention and a disruptive innovation. The color television was not a new invention; it was an innovation (disruptive technology).


    On the other hand, we could look at these two articles in this way that if we consider technologies such as semiconductors or transistor as internal forces which ensure the emergence of all kinds of electronic goods, we can also consider social forces as external forces which might resist the internal forces or even hamper the growing rate of those technologies.


    Possible Questions for overall discussion

    • How might  car companies use communication technologies to speed-up the development of “greener” cars?
    • When considering information discovery and filtering as when a user is doing research or following a whim, and then considering Google as an example of a service provided for this purpose, what is ‘the next thing” on this path? Why?
    • How might the economic slowdown affect Moore’s law?
    • What are the impacts of patents on the speed of the innovation-decision process? 




    Last Week’s Discussion Leaders – reflections on experience


    Quotes from this week’s reading essays:


    The patent system really has two opposing goals. One is to protect the inventor and their invention so they can make money from their work and the other is to foster innovation. Maybe they are not entirely opposing, but they don’t seem to be in perfect harmony either.


    [T]he thread that brings the three works we are discussing together is thus:  possessing a clear history of a technology and understanding what may have prevented its diffusion to the masses in the past as well as may have bolstered its success during the same period, as well as knowing precisely what major challenges to innovation the technology faces today might be, and being able to see how the past and the present provide insight to the technology’s future are all vital to understanding the development of any technology in general.  Understanding these underlying developments as they have and will occur, in regards to the particular technologies we will discuss herein, helps us understand how we have gotten the tools that we use to communicate today.  Thus, this helps us predict how we will communicate using technology in the future.



    My sentimental side is always saddened by the casualties of progress. I am reminded of the Twilight Zone episode titled “The Obsolete Man” in which The State decides that the librarian is no longer useful to society because there are no more libraries. With technology evolving so rapidly, how will the people stay ahead of change? Or are we working ourselves into obsolescence?

    Time will tell. And sooner than we think. What will the artificially intelligent robots and the new life forms we are creating say of us a hundred years from now?



    As a modern reader of this essay, it is easy to see how the marketplace can change–in just over 50 years. New user groups and needs do surface–the market is not static. The ability to see the glimmer of a need, recognize what technology will grow and evolve, and ask how products can be made faster, easier, and more attuned to users’ needs is one way to ’see’ into the future as Bush did in 1945.



    Back to the archival question – at this point, online search is one of the best options for short-term archiving of data/content. But search only works as well as the items have been keyworded (or the company that owns the items has paid.) Archiving today is difficult with our ephermal data — photos that get deleted or never removed from their data source (the camera), millions of emails deleted or spammed, twitters lost (or else randomly optimized for search)…


    Needless to say, the success of a product relies on several factors. From ideation, prototype, invention and diffusion. Sometimes inventors know that there may be a need, but will his/her products will satisfy the need ? To answer this question, inventors should investigate the society, peoples’ behaviors and compete with the other competitors who might produce similar products. It seems so controllable whereas the truth is not. Every moment could be important for every decision whether it is the past or the future. We can see this in Christensen’s chapters.


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