Unit 13-2 Emerging Technology
After completing this unit, you will be able to:
- Explain the methods being used to speed up the Internet, and know how
to avoid consuming unnecessary bandwidth when you use the Net.
- Prepare yourself to take advantage of the real-time wireless
communications technologies that are emerging.
- Imagine how ubiquitous Teledesic will make the Internet when the
wireless satellite network encircles the globe.
- Understand how artificial intelligence makes it possible for people to
make more efficient use of the Internet.
- Know what bots can do for you on the Information Superhighway
- Define HDTV and consider the role digital television will play in the
future of the Internet.
- Reflect on the human interface and the role that personal digital
assistants (PDAs) will play in the future of the Internet.
Read chapter 26 of the Internet Literacy textbook to study the
concepts covered by this unit.
New technologies follow a cycle that includes invention, prototyping,
proof of concept, productizing, and manufacture. Throughout this process,
the inventions are called emerging technologies. It often takes many years
for an emerging technology to achieve widespread use in the marketplace.
This following activities have you explore some of the technologies that
promise to improve and enrich the Internet in the 21st Century.
- You have undoubtedly experienced some problems with the Internet's
physical transport layer. Network delay is the most obvious problem. You
click a hypertext trigger to go to a Web site, and you wait, and you wait,
and you wait. Sometimes it seems like WWW stands for World Wide Wait. Read
what chapter 26 has to say about this, then follow the
Interlit Web site links to infrastructure. There you will learn
what's being done to speed up the Web and make other improvements to the
- In the twentieth century, the Internet was used primarily for
communications that do not occur in real time. The most popular services
on the Internet, for example, are not real-time technologies. E-mail is
based on a store-and-forward protocol that delivers mail to your inbox,
where the message waits until you open your inbox to read it. Traditional
Web pages reside on a server, where they wait for you to access them with
a browser. Real-time communications, on the other hand, don't wait for
someone to open them. Instead, they stream across the Internet and play on
your PC in real time. These emerging technologies are converging radio,
telephone, and television into a networked supermedium. After you read the
Internet telephony section of chapter 26, follow the
Interlit Web site links to real-time communications. There you
will find links to emerging technologies from AT&T, Microsoft, Progressive
Networks, Vocaltec, and others.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is for real. It's not just a theoretical
science for researchers. Featured in chapter 26 are several AI
technologies that promise to improve your use of the Internet in years to
come. The technologies include voice recognition, text-to-speech
conversion, image recognition, and knowbots. After you read about these,
follow the links in the artificial intelligence section of the
Interlit Web site. This will expand your horizons for what to
expect and look forward to as the 21st Century continues to unfold.
- Computer technology is creating fundamental changes in the way
televisions are made and videos are distributed. Almost everyone reading
this book will be purchasing one of the new TVs during the next few years.
Study the sections in chapter 26 about High Definition Television (HDTV),
MPEG digital video, and WebTV. Then follow the
Interlit Web site links to the section on digital television. By
exploring what you find there, you will be able to prepare yourself for a
major purchasing decision, namely, what HDTV set to buy. Note especially
how the computer and the television are merging, or better stated,
converging, into this new supermedium.
- Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are portable, handheld computers
that you can take with you to work, school, or anyplace where a PC might
come in handy. Your textbook describes the two major handheld operating
systems, namely, the Windows Pocket PC and the Palm OS. To learn more
about these and other PDA products, follow the
Web site links in the section on Personal Digital Assistants.
As was mentioned at the end of the previous unit, one of the most weighty
assignments in this course is the term paper that you will publish to the Web
and submit for a grade by putting a link on your home page that your instructor
will click to read your term paper. If you are having trouble deciding on a term
paper topic, consider writing about the potential societal impact of one of the
emerging technologies discussed in Chapter 26. The exercises at the end of
Chapter 26 are particularly stimulating in terms of possibly helping you decide
upon a term paper topic.